Tom Longboat was an Onondaga athlete who specialized in distance running. Nicknamed the bulldog of Britannia, Longboat also served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a soldier during the First World War. In 1996, Tom Longboat was honored posthumously with an induction into the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame.
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian-born American chess player. He is recognized as the first World Chess Champion, having reigned from 1886 to 1894. A multi-talented personality, Wilhelm Steinitz was also an influential chess theoretician and writer. Steinitz is also remembered for having a huge impact on the game and was a well-known player during his time.
British boxer Bob Fitzsimmons initially spent a lot of time in his family’s blacksmith’s forge in New Zealand, thus later earning the nickname The Fighting Blacksmith. He later scripted history as the first boxer to win world titles in three categories, the middleweight, the light-heavyweight, and the heavyweight divisions.
Wong Fei-hung was a Chinese physician, martial artist, and folk hero. Wong is the subject of many television series and films. Between the 1940s and 1980s, Wong was portrayed by Hong Kong actor Kwan Tak-hing in over 70 films which earned Kwan the nickname Master Wong. Wong was also played by Jet Li in Once Upon a Time in China.
James Forrestal was an American financier who served as the first US Secretary of Defense from 1947 to 1949. He is also remembered for his service as the US Secretary of the Navy from 1944 to 1947. James Forrestal was honored with the Medal of Merit and the Distinguished Service Medal by President Harry S. Truman.
Legendary Japanese athlete Jigoro Kano is remembered as the founder of judo. A fine educator, he had also had a 23-year stint as the principal of 2 schools, which later became the University of Tsukuba. He was also the first Asian to be part of the International Olympic Committee.
Spiridon Louis was a Greek water carrier-turned-national hero. Louis achieved widespread popularity after becoming the first person to win the modern-day Olympic marathon at the 1896 Olympics in Athens. A former soldier, Louis is an example of an early rags-to-riches story where he wins the Olympic medal at a crucial moment and later becomes a police officer.
Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial artist, herbalist, and tactical advisor. Li Ching-Yuen, who is believed to have lived off a diet of rice wine and exotic herbs throughout his life, is best remembered for his extreme longevity claim. According to his claim, Li Ching-Yuen lived for 250 years, although gerontologists consider that to be a myth.
The son of a Union soldier, Kenesaw Mountain Landis was successful US federal judge. He was also the first Commissioner of Baseball and is remembered for his role in the Black Sox scandal, in which he removed eight Chicago White Sox players for deliberately losing the 1919 World Series.
A world-renowned Indian pehlwan, or wrestler, Ghulam Mohammad Baksh Butt competed using the ring name The Great Gama. Also known as Rustam-e-Hind, he remained undefeated over an illustrious career of almost 5 decades and even saved many Hindus during the communal riots at the time of the Partition of India.