Let us bring you some inspiration and joy with the ranking of the most inspiring sportspeople of all time.
To inspire means to fill someone with the urge or ability to do or feel something. These ten sportspeople listed below have either done something incredible, faced some challenge, or inspired a generation through sport.
There have been many sportspeople throughout history, and they are watched and considered a celebrity by the masses because of their sport.
But some use their status to influence and inspire others, whether through social justice action or just inspiring people from marginalised backgrounds to work for their dreams.
The most inspiring sportspeople of all time below are some of the most admired and successful athletes in their sport.
10. Magic Johnson – one of the best players to ever play as a point guard
Johnson tested positive for HIV and had to put his basketball career and life on hold to focus on his health.
However, since his career ended, he didn’t step away from the spotlight. He has instead become a strong advocate of AIDS awareness and continues to inspire the masses about this awful disease that affects so many in this world.
9. Michael Jordan – the greatest pro basketball player of all time
Michael Jordan was a basketball player from 1984 to 2002, and he finished his basketball career with six NBA titles. All this despite getting cut from his high school team.
He also lost his father during his journey to the top and failed at his other dream of playing pro baseball. Many people admire his determination and dedication to making it.
With his status in the world of celebrities, Jordan has stepped up to help the world by donating millions of dollars to humanitarian organisations for social projects.
8. Lewis Hamilton – seven-time world champion in Formula One
In the world of motorsport, Lewis Hamilton has become a household name since he began his Formula One career in 2007. He has been very vocal about social issues and is part of the Black Lives Matter movement addressing racism.
Hamilton is one of the most inspiring sportspeople of all time because he has come from a working-class background and worked hard to get to where he is today. He shows people that it is possible to make it.
Hamilton started a non-profit organisation to help marginalised people in 2021. Mission 44 aims to make society fairer and to transform the lives of young people facing disadvantages.
7. Serena Williams – top tennis player in the world
Not only is Serena Williams arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, but she is also a huge inspiration off the court.
In 2011 UNICEF appointed Williams a Goodwill Ambassador, and she has since been at the forefront of UNICEF’s Schools for Africa Initiative.
6. Megan Rapinoe – a professional football player for the USA
Off the football field, Megan Rapinoe is a huge social justice advocate. She is involved in activities for equal payment of players, standing against police brutality, and fighting for equality for the LGBTQ community.
5. Sir Chris Hoy – greatest cyclist of all time
Sir Chris Hoy retired from his cycling career in 2014, but he’s been a great role model for many athletes even up to today through his motivational speeches. He motivates many Olympic-specified athletes through keynote speaking at events, galas, and awards.
4. Usain Bolt – fastest sprinter on earth
Usain Bolt gained worldwide respect for his double sprint victory in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Using his status in the world, Bolt set up The Usain Bolt Foundation.
The foundation aims to create opportunities, particularly in Jamaica, to enhance the health and education of young people.
3. Danica Patrick – the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel racing
Danica Patrick is the only woman to ever win an IndyCar Series race at the 2008 Indy Japan 300. Patrick broke the gender barrier in this dominant male industry and inspired more women to participate in auto racing and motorsports.
This makes her one of the most inspiring sportspeople of all time; she did not let the male-dominated industry stop her.
2. Muhammad Ali – the greatest boxer of all time
Muhammad Ali has inspired many people through his boxing career and his way of life. However, Muhammad Ali has also continued inspiring people even after retiring.
He devoted his retired life to charities, especially those connected with Parkinson’s disease from which he suffered.
1. Nadia Comăneci – the perfect score shaping women’s gymnastics
Nadia Comăneci is one of the most inspiring sportspeople of all time because of her ground-breaking gymnastics routine that awarded her the first-ever perfect ten in the Olympics at the young age of 15.
Comăneci was one of the most successful gymnasts in the world, and she continues to change the world of women’s gymnastics, inspiring young girls and women even to this day.
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