Famous African American Athletes

A sport is not just another means of recreation anymore. Over the years, it has also emerged as a form of entertainment. A few athletes alone have managed to turn even the most boring matches into nail-biting contest. They have managed to get people glued to their television screens and hundreds of spectators to the nearest stadiums. African American athletes, in particular, are known not just for their stamina and great physique, but their ability to turn the tables in even the toughest of situations. Be it cricket, Basketball, Tennis, wrestling, golf or football, African American athletes have been outstanding achievers in almost every sport. Basketball players like Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, in that regard, have been the poster boys of the sport. They have gifted basketball players several unforgettable nail-biting moments. Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali’s career record has been unbeatable till date. Ali has won most of the matches he has participated in and has been more of a nightmare to most of his opponents. The boxer’s life was also the inspiration behind the critically and commercially acclaimed biopic ‘Ali’. A few other noteworthy African American athletes who are popular for their abilities are Tennis stars Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Arthur Ashe, ace golfer Tiger Woods, as well as yesteryear baseball star Jackie Robinson. Here’s a list which consists of the names of several African American athletes who are now legendary figures and are the role models of several budding sportsmen.
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 1 
Simone Biles
(Most Decorated Gymnast of All Time)
Simone Biles
136
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 14, 1997
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Simone Biles is an artistic gymnast. Having won a combined total of 30 World Championship and Olympic medals, Biles is the world's third-most decorated gymnast and the most decorated in America. Regarded as the greatest gymnast of all time by some, Simone Biles continues to inspire several aspiring gymnasts around the world, especially gymnasts from the black community.

 2 
Jesse Owens
(American Track and Field Athlete Who Won Four Gold Medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics)
Jesse Owens
37
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 12, 1913
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Oakville, Alabama, United States
Died: March 31, 1980

Widely regarded as one of the greatest track and field athletes of all time, Jesse Owens' three world records in less than an hour in 1935 came to be known as the greatest 45 minutes ever in sports. He was credited with destroying Adolf Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

 3 
Roy Jones Jr.
(One of the Greatest Boxers of All Time)
Roy Jones Jr.
28
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Pensacola, Florida, United States

Former American boxer Roy Jones Jr. was born to a boxer father. Despite his defeat in the gold medal match at the 1988 Seoul Olympics due to a faulty decision by the judges, he won the Val Barker Award. He was the second light heavyweight champion to earn a heavyweight title.

 4 
Justin Gatlin
(American Sprinter Who Won the Gold Medal in the 100 Meters at the 2004 Olympics)
Justin Gatlin
6
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: February 10, 1982
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Five-time Olympic medalist and renowned sprinter Justin Gatlin is a specialist in the 100m and the 200m categories. In 2005, he became the first to win both the 100m and the 200m world titles. He was a childhood fan of Mike Tyson and had initially been a hurdler.

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 5 
Tyson Gay
(American Track and Field Sprinter)
Tyson Gay
5
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 9, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lexington, Kentucky, United States

Born into an athletic family, Tyson Gay naturally developed an interest in sports. One of the fastest sprinters in both the 100m and the 200m categories, he was part of the 2016 Olympic relay team that was stripped of its medal for breaking game rules.

 6 
Wilma Rudolph
(The First American Woman to Win Three Gold Medals in a Single Olympic Games)
Wilma Rudolph
20
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
Died: November 12, 1994

Sprinter Wilma Rudolph made history by becoming the first American female athlete to win three track and field gold medals in a single Olympic game. As a child, she needed orthopedic shoes to help her walk. The sports icon lost her life to cancer but was immortalized through books and movies.

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 7 
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
(One of the Greatest Female Athletes of All-Time)
Jackie Joyner-Kersee
11
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 3, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: East St. Louis, Illinois, United States

The first to score over 7,000 points in the heptathlon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee is considered by many as one of the greatest female athletes ever. While in school, she excelled in sports such as volleyball, basketball, and track, and also did well in studies. She later won three Olympic golds medals.

 8 
Marion Jones
(American Former World Champion Track and Field Athlete and Former Professional Basketball Player)
Marion Jones
8
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Marion Jones became the first female athlete to win five track and field medals in a single Olympic game. She was, however, stripped of all her Olympic medals after she admitted to using steroids. She also spent 6 months in jail for being involved in a check-fraud case.

 9 
Dominique Dawes
(American Retired Artistic Gymnast and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Dominique Dawes
12
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Silver Spring, Maryland, United States

Known as Awesome Dawesome, Dominique Dawes is a retired star gymnast from the U.S. who was part of the gold-winning team at the Atlanta Olympics. She also became the first African-American to earn an individual Olympic medal, with her bronze. She is also part of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

 10 
Lolo Jones
(American Hurdler and Bobsledder Who Specializes in the 60-meter and 100-meter Hurdles)
Lolo Jones
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Des Moines, Iowa, United States

While she believes missing out on the gold medal at the 100m hurdles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics was her most painful experience, American hurdler and bobsledder Lolo Jones is still quite a star. She has penned a memoir and has also appeared on shows such as Celebrity Big Brother.

 11 
Bob Beamon
(Best Known for His World Record in the Long Jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968)
Bob Beamon
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: South Jamaica, New York, United States

Bob Beamon is a former American track and field athlete who won the gold medal for the long jump at the 1968 Olympics. He created a world record in the process of winning the gold medal; the record was broken by Mike Powell almost 23 years later. Beamon was inducted into United States Olympic Hall of Fame.

 12 
Tommie Smith
(American Athlete Who Became the First Person to Break the 20-Second Barrier for 200-Metre Sprint)
Tommie Smith
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 6, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clarksville, Texas, United States

Winner of the 200-meter sprint finals at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, Tommie C. Smith finished the race in 19.83 seconds, thus becoming first to break the 20 seconds barrier. Today however he is better remembered for raising a black gloved fist over his head at the victory stand in protest against the injustice meted out to the blacks.

 13 
Ralph Metcalfe
(American Track and Field Sprinter and Politician)
Ralph Metcalfe
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 29, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: October 10, 1978
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 14 
Carmelita Jeter
(American Sprinter)
Carmelita Jeter
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 5'4" (163 cm)
 15 
Flo Hyman
(American Volleyball Player and Olympic Silver Medalist)
Flo Hyman
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 31, 1954
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: January 24, 1986
Height: 6'5" (196 cm)
 16 
Derek Brunson
(Mixed Martial Artist)
Derek Brunson
10
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 4, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Wilmington, North Carolina, United States
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 17 
Willy T. Ribbs
(First African-American Man to Have Tested a Formula One Car & Compete in the 'Indianapolis 500')
Willy T. Ribbs
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: January 3, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: San Jose, California, United States

Willy T. Ribbs is a retired race car driver and racing owner. He is known for being the first African-American man to have tested a Formula One car. Throughout his career, he competed in many forms of auto racing, including the Trans-Am Series, IMSA, IndyCar, Champ Car, and the NASCAR Cup Series. He has been featured in a Netflix documentary. 

 18 
Lauryn Williams
(American Sprinter and Bobsledder)
Lauryn Williams
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 11, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rochester, Pennsylvania, United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 19 
Jack Trice
(American football player)
Jack Trice
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 12, 1902
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hiram, Ohio, United States
Died: October 8, 1923
 20 
Wyomia Tyus
(Olympic Athlete)
Wyomia Tyus
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 29, 1945
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Griffin, Georgia, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 21 
Athing Mu
(American Middle-Distance Runner and Olympic Gold Medalist in 800 m)
Athing Mu
4
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 8, 2002
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
 22 
Mal Whitfield
(American Athlete, Goodwill Ambassador, and Airman)
Mal Whitfield
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: October 11, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bay City, Texas, United States
Died: November 19, 2015
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 23 
Evelyn Ashford
(American Retired Track and Field Athlete)
Evelyn Ashford
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 15, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Height: 5'5" (165 cm)
 24 
LaShawn Merritt
(American Track and Field Athlete)
LaShawn Merritt
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 25 
Nana Meriwether
(American Philanthropist, Former Professional Volleyball Player, and Beauty Pageant Titleholder)
Nana Meriwether
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 24, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Acornhoek, South Africa
Height: 6'1" (185 cm)
 26 
Antonio Pettigrew
(American Sprinter Who Specialized in the 400 Meters)
Antonio Pettigrew
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 3, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, United States
Died: August 10, 2010
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 27 
Kevin Young
(Former Athlete as Winner of the 400 Metres Hurdles at the 1992 Summer Olympics)
Kevin Young
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: September 16, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Watts, California, United States
Height: 6'4" (193 cm)
 28 
Harvey Glance
(Former American Sprint Runner)
Harvey Glance
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 28, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Phenix City, Alabama, United States
Height: 5'8" (173 cm)
 29 
Rachael Adams
(American Former Professional Volleyball Player Who Played as a Middle Blocker)
Rachael Adams
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 3, 1990
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 30 
Josh Awotunde
(American Shot Putter)
Josh Awotunde
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: June 12, 1995
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lanham, Maryland, United States
Height: 6'2" (188 cm)
 31 
Kelli White
(American Former Sprinter)
Kelli White
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: April 1, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oakland, California, United States
 32 
Kendrick Farris
(American Weightlifter)
Kendrick Farris
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 2, 1986
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States
Height: 5'9" (175 cm)
 33 
Crystal Cox
(American Track and Field Athlete)
Crystal Cox
2
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: March 28, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Norfolk, Virginia, United States
Height: 6'3" (190 cm)
 34 
Tasha Schwikert
(American Gymnast Who is a 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist)
Tasha Schwikert
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 21, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Tasha Schwikert is a retired gymnast who is a 2000 Olympic bronze medalist. She is also a World Gymnastics Championships team gold medalist. She began her gymnastics training as a child and reached the elite level in the mid-1990s. An ankle injury in the early 2000s hampered her career. She currently works as a broadcast journalist. 

 35 
Andrew Howe
(Italian Sprinter and Long Jumper)
Andrew Howe
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 12, 1985
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Height: 6'0" (183 cm)
 36 
Mark Johnson
(Boxer)
Mark Johnson
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Washington, D.C., United States
Height: 5'3" (160 cm)
 37 
John Youie Woodruff
(American track and field athlete)
John Youie Woodruff
3
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: July 5, 1915
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Connellsville, Pennsylvania
Died: October 30, 2007
 38 
Seba Johnson
(American Alpine Skier and the First Black Woman to Ski at the Olympics)
Seba Johnson
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: May 1, 1973
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Frederiksted,Virgin Islands, United States
 39 
George Poage
(American Track and Field Athlete)
George Poage
1
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: November 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Hannibal, Missouri, United States
Died: April 11, 1962
 40 
Stan Wright
(Coach)
Stan Wright
0
Listed In: Sportspersons
Birthdate: August 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey, United States
Died: November 8, 1998