best sportsmen

Best Sportsmen Of All Time

Best Sportsmen All-Time List

ADDucation’s best sportsmen of all time list honors the sportsmen that have changed their sport, country or had a wider impact on the world in general. Obviously it can never be a complete list but if you’re aware of a sporting legend that isn’t already on our best sportsmen list please add your comments to this page and we’ll consider adding him.

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Key to Best Sportsmen: WC=World Championship | IM=International matches | TV=Tournament Victory | EC=European Championship

Sportsman NameCountryBirthDeathSportBest Sportsmen Achievements
Aamodt, Kjetil AndréNorway1971Alpine skiing4 x Gold, 2 x Silver, 2 x bronze at the Olympics, 5 x WC, 1 x WC, 21 World Cup wins
Agassi, AndreUSA1970Tennis64 TV, 8 Grand Slam victories (4 x Australian Open), 101 weeks at No. 1
Agostini, GiacomoItaly1942Motorcycle Racing15 x WC, 122 Grand Prix wins
Ali, MuhammadUSA19422016BoxingBorn “Cassius Clay”, Ali won in 56 of 61 fights, 3 x WC, 1 x Gold at the Olympics. Famous for fights which became known as “[video_lightbox_youtube video_id=”J6Hey54O6Qs” width=”640″ height=”480″ anchor=”the rumble in the jungle”]” and “the thriller in Manilla” and was an active campaigner for black rights. Without doubt a 20th century icon in addition to being one of the best sportsmen of all time.
Aljechin, AlexanderRussia18921946ChessGrandmaster (1914), world champion (1927-35, 37-46), highest ELO in history (2860)
Beamon, BobUSA1946AthleticsLong Jump Summer Olympic Champion (1968), record distance of 8.90 m held for 23 years
Bjørndalen, Ole EinarNorway1974Biathlon5 x Gold, 3 x Silver, 1 x bronze at the Olympics, 14 x World Champion
Bonds, BarryUSA1964BaseballA total of 756 home runs, including a record 73 home runs in one season
Borg, BjörnSweden1956Tennis62 tournament wins, 11 Grand Slam victories (5 x Wimbledon, French Open 6 x)
Brady, TomUSA1977American FootballThe greatest quarterback in NFL history has played for the New England Patriots (Foxborough, Massachusetts) since 2000. During his nine appearances at the Super Bowl, he has won the title six times (4 x Super Bowl MVP). He has thrown more than 6,000 passes over a total distance of 70,500 yards and scored 517 touch downs. He is married to top model Gisele Bündchen.
Bubka, SergejUkraine1963Athletics1 x Gold at the Olympics (1988), 6 x WC, 1 x EC pole vault
Charlton, BobbyEngland1937Football
1 x World Champion (1966), 3 x English Champion, 1 x European Cup, 106 IM, 49 goals. Sir Robert “Bobby” Charlton is one of the most famous English sportsmen, a midfielder in the England 1966 World Cup winning team and one of the best sportsmen in the footballing world.
Connors, JimmyUSA1952Tennis109 tournament victories, 10 Grand Slam victories (5 x US Open), 268 weeks at rank 1.
Cruyff, JohanThe Netherlands1947Football / Soccer1 x Vice World Champion (1974) 9 x NL Champion, 6 x NL Cup winners, 1 x Spanish champion
Daehlie, BjörnNorway1967Cross-country skiing8 x Gold, 4 x Silver at the Olympics, 9 x World Champion.
Dunkerbeck, BjörnDenmark1969Windsurfing / Sailing41 x World Champion, over 100 race wins (the most successful professional athlete of all time).
Ewry, RaymondUSA1873-1937Athletics8 x Gold at the Olympics (1900-1908), 15 x US champion.
Fangio, J. ManuelArgentina1911-1995Formula 15 x World Champion, 24 victories in 51 Grand Prix starts.
Federer, RogerSwitzerland1981Tennis76 tournament wins, 17 Grand Slam wins (7 x Wimbledon, 5 x US Open, 4 x Australian Open, 1 x French Open)
Fischer, BobbyUSA1943-2008ChessWon WC in 1972 in the “Match of the Century” against Boris Spassky (WC 1969-1972).
Foreman, GeorgeUSA1949Boxing76 victories (68 KO) in 81 fights, gold at the Olympics, WC at 44
Brazil1933-1983Football / Soccer2 x World Champion (1958/1962), 50 IM, 12 goals
Gretzky, WayneCanada1961Hockey4 x Stanley Cup, total 894 goals and 1963 assists
Hayes, BobUSA1942-2002American Football2 gold medals at the Olympics (100 m + relay, 1964 in Tokyo), 1 x Super Bowl (1971)
Heiden, EricUSA1958Speed Skating5 x Gold at the Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid (1980)
Hinault, BernardFrance1954Cycling5 x Tour de France winner (78,79,81,82,85), 3 x Giro d’ Italia, 1 x road WC (1980)
Induráin, MiguelSpain1964Cycling5 x Tour de France winner (1991-1995), 2 x Giro d’ Italia, 1 x Gold at the Olympics
Johnson, (Earvin) MagicUSA1959Basketball1 gold medal at the Summer Olympics, 5 x NBA champion, 17,700 points in 905 games
Jones, BobbyUSA1902-1971Golf4 x US Open, 3 x Open Championship, 1 x British Championship (all 1922-1930)
Jordan, MichaelUSA1963Basketball2 x Olympic gold, 6 x NBA champion (Chicago Bulls), 32,292 points in 1,072 games
Karpow, AnatoliRussia1951ChessWorld Champion 1975-1985, FIDE World Champion from 1993-1999, ELO rating: 2780
Kasparov, GarriRussia1963ChessGrandmaster (1980) and World Champion 1985-2000, 2nd highest ELO rating in history (2851)
Keino, KipchogoKenya1940Athletics2 x Gold, 2 x Silver at the Olympics (1968, 1972), 2 x African champion
Kempes, MarioArgentina1954Football / Soccer1 x World Champion (1978), 2 x Spanish Cup Winners’ Cup, 1 x Argent. Master, 1 x European Cup
Killy, Jean-ClaudeFrance1943Alpine skiing3 x Gold at the Olympics in 1968, 6 x WC, 1 x WC
Klitschko, VitaliUkraine1971Boxing35 wins (34 by KO) in 37 fights, WBO and WBC WC, European Champion
Klitschko, VladimirUkraine1976Boxing58 wins (51 by KO) in 61 fights, WC of IBF, WBO, WBA and IBO
Lasker, EmanuelGermany18681941ChessFrom 1894 to 1921 consecutive World Chess Champion. Even at the age of 66 years he was third in 1935.
Lauda, NikiAustria1949Formula 13 x WC (1975, 1977, 1984), 25 wins in 171 races, 420.5 WC – points
Lemieux, MarioCanada1965HockeyGold at the Olympics in 2002, 2 x Stanley Cup, 7 x NHL All Star, 690 Goals in 915 Games
Lendl, IvanCzech Republic1960Tennis8 x Grand Slam, 100 tournament victories, 1070 Games won
Lewis, CarlUSA1961Athletics9 x gold, 1 silver at the Summer Olympics, 8 x World Champion
Louis, JoeUSA19141981BoxingThe “Brown Bomber” won 69 of 72 fights, World Champion for 12 years, (1937-1949)
Maier, HermannAustria1972Alpine skiing2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze medal at the Olympics, 3 x WC, 4 x WC, 54 World Cup wins
Marciano, RockyUSA19231969Boxing49 wins in 49 fights (of which 43 KO), World Champion from 1952 to 1956
Maradona, DiegoArgentina1960Football1 x World Champion (1986), 1 x Vice World Champion (1990) 2 x Ital. Master, 1 x UEFA Cup
McEnroe, JohnUSA1959TennisSingles: 7 x Grand Slams (3 x Wimbledon, 4 x US Open) Doubles: 7 x Grand Slams. Total: 155 TV
Merckx, EddyBelgium1945Cycling5 x Tour de France winner (1969,70,71,72,74), 5 x Giro d’ Italia, 4 x road WC
Messi, LionelArgentina1987Football / SoccerJunior WC 2005, gold at the 2008 Olympics, 5 x Spanish champion, 2 x Span. cup, 3 x Champions League, UEFA Cup 2 x, 4 x World Footballer of the Year
Messner, ReinholdItaly1944MountaineeringAscended all 14 eight-thousanders without oxygen, crossed Antarctic on foot
Moses, EdwinUSA1955Athletics2 gold, 1 bronze medal at the Olympics, 2 x WCs, 3 x World Cup Winner
Naish, RobbyUSA1963Windsurfing24 x world champion in windsurfing, 3 x world champion in kite surfing
Niklaus, JackUSA1940Golf113 TV, 18 Major victories (6 x Masters, US Open 4 x, 5 x PGA Championship)
Nurmi, PaavoFinland18971973Athletics9 x Gold, 3 x Silver at the Olympics, 24 world records
Nykänen, MattiFinland19632019Ski Jumping46 World Cup victories, 7 x WC, 4 x Gold, 1 x Silver at the Olympics, 4 x WC, 2 x 4 Hills Tournament
O‘Neal, ShaquilleUSA1972Basketball1 x Gold at the Olympics (1996), 1 x WC (1994), 4 x NBA champion
Owens, JesseUSA19131980Athletics4 x Gold at the Olympics (1936), 6 world records in only 45 minutes
Phelps, MichaelUSA1985Swimming15 x Gold, 2 x bronze at the Olympics, 17 x World Champion
PeléBrazil1940Football / Soccer3 x WC (1958,1962,1970), 5 x Brazil champion, 1281 goals in 1363 games (WR)
Pippen, ScottieUSA1965Basketball2 gold medals at the Olympics, 6 x NBA champion
Platini, MichelFrance1955Football / Soccer1 x EC (1984), 71 IM, 41 goals, UEFA Cup (1984), 1 x French Champion, 2 x Ital. master
Prost, AlainFrance1955Formula 14 x World Champion, 51 wins in 199 races
Puskas, FerenceHungary19272006Football / Soccer1 x Vice WC (1954), 85 IM, 84 goals, 4 x Hungarian Champion, 5 x Spanish Champion
RonaldoBrazil1976Football / Soccer1 x WC (2002), 1 x Vice WC (1998), 1 x UEFA Cup, 3 x World Player of the Year.
Rossi, PaoloItaly1956Football / Soccer1 x World Champion (1982)
Sailer, ToniAustria19352009Alpine skiing3 x Gold at the Olympics in 1956, 7 x WC, 170 World Cup victories (became an actor later in life)
Sampras, PeteUSA1971Tennis14 x Grand Slam wins (7 x Wimbledon, 5 x US Open), 286 weeks Rank 1 (record).
Schranz, KarlAustria1938Alpine skiing1 x silver at the Olympics in 1964, 3 x WC, 2 x WC, 12 World Cup wins
Schumacher, MichaelGermany1969Formula 17 x World Champion, 91 wins, 68 pole positions. Also highest no. of fastest laps, races won in a single season, and most consecutive podium finishes.
Senna, AyrtonBrazil19641994Formula 13 x World Champion, 41 wins, 65 pole positions. Ayrton died when his car crashed into a concrete barrier during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix in Italy. His death lead to changes to F1 safety rules which has undoubtedly saved the lives other racing drivers. A 2010 documentary movie titled Senna depicts the life and death of this best sportsmen.
Spitz, MarkUSA1950Swimming9 x gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze medal at the Olympics, (retired when 22).
Stenmark, IngemarSweden1956Alpine skiing2 gold, 1 bronze medal at the Olympics, 5 x WC, 86 World Cup wins, 3 x WC.
Thorpe, JamesUSA18881953AthleticsThe Indian was considered the best sportsmen and”natural talent” of the 20th century. Won the Olympic gold medal in the pentathlon and decathlon in 1912.
Tomba, AlbertoItaly1966Alpine skiing3 x gold, 2 x silver at the Olympics, 2 x WC, 50 World Cup victories, 1 x WC
Tyson, MikeUSA1966Boxing50 wins in 58 fights, 2 x WBC champion, 2 x WBA champion, 1 x IBF WC. Would also make a list of infamous sportsmen!
Weissmuller, JohnnyUSA19041984Swimming5 x Gold at the Olympics (1924/1928), 51 world records, Olympic bronze medal in water polo.
Woods, TigerUSA1975Golf91 TV, 14 Major victories (4 x PGA, Masters 4 x 3 x US Open), ranked #1 for over 500 weeks.
Zatopek, EmilCzech Republic19222000Athletics4 x Gold at the Olympics (1948, 1952), 3 x EC.
ZicoBrazil1953Football / Soccer88 IM, 66 goals, 4 x Braz. Master, 1 x World Cup (1981), World Player of the Year 1983.
Zidane, ZinedineFrance1972Football / Soccer1 x WC (1998), 1 x Vice WC, 1 x EC (2000), 1 x CL, 3 x World Player of the Year.
Zoff, DinoItaly1942Football / Soccer1 x World Champion (1982), 6 x Italian Champion, 2 x Ital. Cup, 1 x UEFA Cup.
Zurbriggen, PirminSwitzerland1963Alpine skiing1 x gold, 1 x bronze medal at the Olympics, 4x WC, 4x WC, 40 World Cup wins.

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