Athletes

Athletes are the persons involved in the sport of athletics. Athletics include track and field events such as running, throwing, walking and jumping, the most common events being long distance running, cross-country running, and race walking. Athletics are very popular due to the fact that that such competitive events are simple to be organized and do not require expensive equipment. Mostly athletic events are individual sports though there are exceptions like relay races and cross-country races. Athletics have their origins in the ancient Olympic Games that were first held in 776 BC in Greece. Athletes have to maintain a very strict and healthy lifestyle which includes paying significant attention to their diets and exercise routines. They have to undergo a stringent training and practice routine in their chosen sports in order to compete professionally. Being a professional athlete is physically taxing and mentally exhausting. Since athletes are in their top form for only a few years, they are able to actively participate in competitive sports only for a limited period of time.  Also they face the risk of injuries that might limit or even end their career. Some athletes may become coaches and instructors after their retirement from active sports. Browse this section to know about the life and works of various famous athletes from all over the world.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt.
8
Famous As: Olympic athlete
Birthdate: August 21, 1986
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sherwood Content, Jamaica

One of the greatest athletes ever, Usain Bolt is popular by the nickname ‘Lightning Bolt’. He holds the world record for 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay and is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016).

 2 Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens.
10
Famous As: Athlete
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 Mo Farah

Mo Farah.
13
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: March 23, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Mogadishu
Long-distance runner Mo Farah shot to fame with his 10,000-meter and 5,000-meter wins at the 2012 London Olympics. The first athlete to score a quadruple double, Farah has won 10 major international titles. He became the European Athlete of the Year thrice and has also received the CBE.

 4 Nadia Comaneci

Nadia Comaneci.
6
Famous As: Olympic Champion Gymnast
Birthdate: November 12, 1961
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Onești

Nadia Comaneci is a Romanian former gymnast. One of the best-known gymnasts in the world, Comaneci has five Olympic gold medals under her belt. Credited with popularizing gymnastics around the world, Nadia Comaneci was honored by the Laureus World Sports Academy by including her in their Athletes of the 20th Century list in 2000.

 5 Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe.
8
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: May 28, 1888
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma
Died: March 28, 1953

Jim Thorpe was an American athlete who was counted among the most versatile athletes of the modern era. Jim Thorpe won two gold medals at the 1912 Olympics and became the first Native American to give the United States an Olympic gold. He also played American football, professional baseball, and basketball. He was memorialized in the 1951 film Jim Thorpe – All-American.

 6 Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner
8
Famous As: Sprinter
Birthdate: December 21, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Died: September 21, 1998

Legendary American sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner is still regarded as the fastest woman in the world. Her world records in both the 100m and 200m categories have still not been broken. The three-time Olympic gold medal winner was also known for her six-inch nails and her unconventional outfits.

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 7 Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge
7
Famous As: Long-distance runner
Birthdate: November 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, Kenya
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 8 Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix.
5
Famous As: Track and field athlete
Birthdate: November 18, 1985
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Los Angeles

The most-decorated track and field athlete, Allyson Felix, once bullied for having skinny legs, now has a record 9 Olympic medals, including 6 gold medals. Named to Time 100 in 2020, she is also part of the board of Right to Play, which caters to children in underdeveloped countries.

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 9 Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis.
8
Birthdate: July 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, U.S

A dominant sprinter and long jumper, Carl Lewis has won ten Olympic medals, nine of them gold. From 1981 to 1991, he topped the world rankings in the 100 m, 200 m and long jump events, slowly starting to lose his dominance thereafter, eventually retiring in 1997. Currently a businessperson, he has also appeared in films and television productions.

 10 Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill.
7
Famous As: Track & Field Athlete
Birthdate: January 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sheffield, United Kingdom

Jessica Ennis-Hill is a British retired track and field athlete. She specialized in multi-eventing disciplines and 100 meters hurdles. In 2012, she won an Olympic gold in the heptathlon. She was introduced to sports as a young girl and immediately took an interest in athletics. She has won several other titles as well in addition to her Olympic gold. 

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 11 Justin Gatlin

Justin Gatlin.
8
Famous As: Sprinter
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.

 12 Tyson Gay

Tyson Gay
6
Famous As: Sprinter, Athletics competitor
Birthdate: August 9, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lexington

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.

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 13 Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson.
6
Famous As: American olympic athlete
Birthdate: September 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dallas

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson remains the only man to win both the 200m and the 400m events in the same Olympics. He was the Track & Field News 1996 Athlete of the Year. In 2008, he returned his 2000 Olympic relay medal, as a teammate had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

 14 Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph.
4
Birthdate: June 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint Bethlehem, Tennessee
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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 15 Cathy Freeman

Cathy Freeman.
6
Famous As: Sprinter
Birthdate: February 16, 1973
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Slade Point, Mackay, Queensland

Cathy Freeman is a former sprinter known for her achievements in the 400 meters events. Her personal best of 48.63, set at the 1996 Olympics, makes her the eighth-fastest woman of all time. She gave Australia an Olympic gold at the 2000 Olympics. Also a humanitarian, Freeman is credited with founding the Cathy Freeman Foundation.

 16 Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya
8
Famous As: Olympic Athlete
Birthdate: January 7, 1991
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Polokwane, Limpopo, South African

Two-time Olympic gold medalist middle-distance runner Caster Semenya in an intersex woman, with high testosterone levels. The two-time Olympic gold medalist was asked to take medication to decrease her testosterone levels, to participate in the 2021 Olympics women’s events, and filed a case in the European Court of Human Rights.

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 17 Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
4
Famous As: Athlete
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.

 18 Denise Lewis

Denise Lewis
4
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: August 27, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: West Bromwich

Denise Lewis is a British sports commentator and former athlete. She won the heptathlon gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and became the first European to win Olympic gold in the heptathlon. A two-time Commonwealth Games champion, Lewis also won silver medals in the 1997 and 1999 World Championships. She was also the 1998 European Champion. 

 19 Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes
6
Famous As: Middle-distance runner
Birthdate: April 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tonbridge and Malling

Kelly Holmes is a retired English middle-distance athlete who specialized in the 800 meters and 1,500 meters events. She won gold medals for both distances at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Beginning her career with the British Army, she turned to professional athletics in 1993. She took part in her final major championship in 2004. 

 20 Linford Christie

Linford Christie.
6
Famous As: Retired Sprinter
Birthdate: April 2, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Saint Andrew, Jamaica

Linford Christie is a Jamaican-born British former sprinter who won gold medals in the 100 meters at the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships, and the Commonwealth Games. He is one of the most highly decorated British athletes of all time. He was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1993. 

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 21 Ashton Eaton

Ashton Eaton.
6
Famous As: Decathlete
Birthdate: January 21, 1988
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Portland Oregon

Two-time Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton began his international career in 2008, winning his first international medal, a silver, at the 2011 World Championships. In the following year, he won two gold medals, one in Heptathlon at the World Indoor Championships and the other in Decathlon in London Olympic Games, defending his Olympic title four years later in Rio de Janeiro.

 22 Oscar Pistorius

Oscar Pistorius.
8
Famous As: Runner
Birthdate: November 22, 1986
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sandton, South Africa

From being an infant whose both legs were amputated below knee, Oscar Pistorius went on to become a top athlete with wins in Paralympic Games and other sporting events. The South African sprinter also became the first amputee runner to compete at the Olympics Games. However, later, he was convicted for the murder of his girlfriend and is currently imprisoned.

 23 Milkha Singh

Milkha Singh.
6
Famous As: Indian track and field athlete
Birthdate: November 20, 1929
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Govindpura, Muzaffargarh District, India
Died: June 18, 2021

Indian track and field legend Milkha Singh, also known as "The Flying Sikh,” was orphaned during the Partition of India. The former army man won four Asian Games gold medals. He also competed in the 1956, 1960, and 1964 Summer Olympics, finishing fourth in the 400-meter event in 1960.

 24 Yohan Blake

Yohan Blake
8
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: December 26, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: St. James Parish, Jamaica

 25 Allison Stokke

Allison Stokke
6
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: March 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newport Beach, California, USA

Allison Stokke became an internet sensation after a few of her images went viral when she was 17. The talented high-school pole vaulter earned the 2011 All-American honors. She later gained more fame as a fitness model and a sex symbol than as a sportsperson. She also failed her Olympic trials.

 26 Wim Hof

Wim Hof
8
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: April 20, 1959
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sittard, Limburg, Netherlands
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 27 Daley Thompson

Daley Thompson.
6
Famous As: Decathlete
Birthdate: July 30, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Notting Hill, London, United Kingdom

Daley Thompson is a British former athlete who specialized in decathlon. He has won gol medals in decathlon at the 1980 and 1984 Olympics. He also broke the world record for decathlon on four occasions. He also won three Commonwealth titles and is regarded as the greatest decathlete ever. 

 28 Donovan Bailey

Donovan Bailey.
4
Famous As: Former Sprinter
Birthdate: December 16, 1967
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Manchester, Jamaica

Donovan Bailey is a retired Jamaican-Canadian sprinter. He once held the world record for the 100 meters and is considered the greatest Canadian sprinter of all time. Noted for his top speed, he became the first Canadian to legally break the 10-second barrier in the 100 meters. In 2004,  he was inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.

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 29 Eddie Hall

Eddie Hall
10
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: January 15, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England, UK

Eddie Hall is a British former professional strongman who won the World's Strongest Man 2017 competition. Previously, he had won the UK's Strongest Man and England's Strongest Man competitions many times. As a young man, he trained as a bodybuilder and entered the strongman circuit. He is the subject of the documentary titled Eddie: Strongman.

 30 Lolo Jones

Lolo Jones
4
Famous As: Sprinter, Bobsledder, Athletics competitor
Birthdate: August 5, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Des Moines

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.

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 31 Antonio Rüdiger

Antonio Rüdiger
7
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: March 3, 1993
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

 32 Valerie Adams

Valerie Adams.
4
Famous As: Shot Putter
Birthdate: October 6, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rotorua
Star shot-putter of New Zealand Valerie Adams boasts of two Olympic golds and four World Championship titles. IAAF’s 2014 World Athlete of the Year, she was one of 18 children born to an English father and a Tongan mother and first gained attention after breaking a 20-year school shot-put record.
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 33 Haile Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie
4
Famous As: Marathon runner, Long-distance runner, Athletics competitor
Birthdate: April 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Asella

 34 Abebe Bikila

Abebe Bikila.
4
Famous As: Olympic marathon champion
Birthdate: August 7, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ethiopia
Died: October 25, 1973

Ethiopian marathon runner, Abebe Bikil,a became the first black African Olympic gold medalist at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. Four years later, he won his second gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. He created world record both the times. A pioneer in long-distance running, he participated in a total of 16 marathons. 

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 35 Kerri Walsh Jennings

Kerri Walsh Jennings
4
Famous As: Beach Volleyball player
Birthdate: August 15, 1978
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Santa Clara, California, United States

American beach-volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings was born to a baseball player father and a volleyball player mother, and was naturally drawn toward sports. She later attended Stanford on a sports scholarship and won three gold medals at the Olympics. She is married to fellow beach-volleyball player Casey Jennings

 36 Dennis Weaver

Dennis Weaver.
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 4, 1924
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Joplin, Missouri, United States
Died: February 24, 2006
Dennis Weaver is best known as Chester Goode/Proudfoot from Gunsmoke and as Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud from McCloud. He initially ran track and field, but his failure to qualify for the U.S. Olympic decathlon team made him join films. He had also been the president of the Screen Actors Guild.
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 37 P. T. Usha

P. T. Usha
4
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: June 27, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Payyoli

 38 Alex Scott

Alex Scott
10
Famous As: Footballer
Birthdate: October 14, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

Alex Scott is an English TV presenter and former professional football player. Apart from playing for popular clubs like Arsenal and Birmingham City, Scott also represented the women's national football team. She also played for Great Britain at the London Olympics. In 2019, she was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame.

 39 Sergey Bubka

Sergey Bubka.
6
Famous As: Pole Vaulter
Birthdate: December 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Luhansk, Ukraine

Russian star pole-vaulter Sergey Bubka had started training at age 9. He soared to fame after winning the world championship in Finland at age 15 and later became the first to jump 6.1m. He won the 1988 Seoul Olympic gold and shattered the global men’s pole vault record 35 times.

 40 Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine.
6
Famous As: Long-distance Runner
Birthdate: January 25, 1951
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Coos Bay
Died: May 30, 1975

Long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine had competed in only one Olympic, finishing fourth in the 5000m race in Munich. However, he had begun breaking records since high school and excelled in cross-country running. His tragic death in a car accident after attending a party ended his life and his sports dreams.

 41 Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson.
4
Famous As: Sprinter
Birthdate: December 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Falmouth, Trelawny Parish, Jamaica[1]

 42 Katarina Johnson-Thompson

Katarina Johnson-Thompson
5
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: January 9, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Liverpool

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is an English heptathlete whose performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games earned her a gold medal. She also won the gold at the 2019 World Championships. Katarina Johnson-Thompson holds the British record for the women's pentathlon with 5,000 points. A highly talented athlete, Katarina Johnson-Thompson also holds the British records for high jump in both outdoors and indoors.

 43 Bob Beamon

Bob Beamon
4
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: August 29, 1946
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: South Jamaica

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.

 44 Aimee Mullins

Aimee Mullins
4
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: July 20, 1976
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Allentown, Pennsylvania, United States

Born without fibular bones, Aimee Mullins had to have her legs amputated below the knee as an infant. Undeterred, she grew up to be a Paralympic record-breaker, competing as a track and field athlete with prosthetic legs. She has walked the ramp for Alexander McQueen and has starred in films, too.

 45 Eric Liddell

Eric Liddell.
4
Birthdate: January 16, 1902
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Tianjin
Died: February 21, 1945

Eric Liddell was a Scottish athlete who won a gold medal in 400 meters race at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. In his later years, he became a Christian missionary. Though he was of Scottish origin, he was born in China, where he spent most of his life and died eventually.

 46 Ellen Whitaker

Ellen Whitaker
9
Famous As: Show jumper
Birthdate: March 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces

Ellen Whitaker is an English show jumping rider. In September 2019, she was ranked 211 on the FEI riders' Longines Ranking list. She began competing at the tender age of five and qualified for the Horse Of The Year Show (HOYS) at just eight years old. She represented Great Britain in the European Championships in 2007. 

 47 Jay Silverheels

Jay Silverheels.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 26, 1912
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Six Nations Reservation, Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Died: March 5, 1980

Indigenous Canadian actor Jay Silverheels gained international popularity for playing Tonto, the Native American companion of the protagonist in the American western TV series The Lone Ranger. As a young man, he excelled in athletics and became a lacrosse player. He later quit sports to pursue acting. He bred and raced Standardbred horses as a hobby. 

 48 Wayde van Niekerk

Wayde van Niekerk
4
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: July 15, 1992
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cape Town, South Africa

Wayde van Niekerk is a South African athlete who competes as a sprinter in the 200 and 400 metres. He is the current Olympic and world record holder in the 400 metres. Wayde van Niekerk holds the world record in the 300 metres as well. He won the gold medal in the 400 metres event at the 2016 Olympic Games.

 49 Maurice Greene

Maurice Greene.
4
Famous As: Track & Field Sprinter
Birthdate: July 23, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kansas City, Kansas, United States

Maurice Greene is a former track and field athlete and a former world record holder in 100-metre dash. Greene won four Olympic medals, including two gold medals, representing the United States of America in two Olympic Games. Maurice Greene also has five gold medals at the World Athletics Championships under his belt.

 50 Dave Mirra

Dave Mirra
8
Famous As: Extreme sports athlete
Birthdate: April 4, 1974
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Syracuse, New York, USA
Died: February 4, 2016

Dave Mirra was an American BMX rider who set the X Games record for most medals won in BMX Freestyle. He was also a rallycross racer, competing alongside the Subaru Rally Team USA for many years. Dave Mirra committed suicide in 2016. Later that year, he was inducted into the BMX Hall of Fame.

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