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.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is a Jamaican sprinter who achieved international recognition in 2008 when she won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing. She then went on to win gold medals at the 2012 and 2020 Olympic Games. Counted among the greatest sprinters of all time, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce also has many World Championship gold medals under her belt.
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.
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.
Yohan Blake is a Jamaican sprinter who became the youngest 100 meters world champion when he won a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships in 2011. He also won gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games as part of the Jamaican relay team. Yohan Blake is the second-fastest man in both 100 meters and 200 meters events.
Ben Johnson is a Canadian retired sprinter who was adjudged the world's fastest man during the 1987–88 season after he broke the 60m and 100m indoor world records. He is best known for his performance in the 1984 Olympic Games, where he won two bronze medals. Ben Johnson also won a gold medal at the 1985 World Indoor Championships.
Asafa Powell is a Jamaican sprinter who set the 100 metres world record on two occasions between 2005 and 2008. He achieved international prominence in 2016 when he won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Asafa Powell has also won a couple of gold medals at the World Championships.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Merlene Ottey is a Jamaican-Slovenian retired track and field sprinter. She represented Jamaica in international events for 24 years before representing Slovenia for 10 years. In 1993, she clocked 21.87 seconds to set the world indoor record for 200 metres; she has been holding that record ever since. Merlene Ottey is also known for winning several medals at Olympic Games.
John Carlos is a former football player and track and field athlete. Carlos won a bronze medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics. After his track career, he helped organize the 1984 Summer Olympics as part of his work with the United States Olympic Committee. In 2003, Carlos was made an inductee of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Athlete and martial artist Jim Kelly won hearts with his Afro hairstyle and his roles in action film such as Enter the Dragon and Black Belt Jones. Apart from films, he also excelled in karate, winning contests such as the International Middle Weight Karate Championship. He has also played professional tennis.
Colin Jackson is a Welsh former athlete who represented Wales and Great Britain during his career. Jackson, who specialized in hurdles, won the silver medal in the 110m hurdles at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. His world record for the 110m hurdles stood for more than ten years, while his world record for the 60m hurdles stood for almost 27 years.
Derartu Tulu is an Ethiopian retired long-distance runner who took part in several events like road running and marathon. She won a gold medal each at the 1992 and 2000 Olympics. She also won a bronze medal at the 2004 Olympics. Tulu is also known for winning a gold and silver medal at the World Championships.
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.
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.
Sifan Hassan is an Ethiopian-born Dutch athlete who specializes in middle and long-distance running. She is best known for winning two gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. At the same Olympics, she also won a brone medal. Prior to her success at the 2020 Games, Sifan Hassan also won two gold medals at the 2019 World Championships.
Nafissatou Thiam is a Belgian athlete who achieved popularity in 2016 when she won the gold medal in Heptathlon at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Nafissatou Thiam went on to win another gold medal at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, becoming only the second woman to win consecutive Olympic titles in Heptathlon after America's Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Meseret Defar is an Ethiopian athlete who specializes in long-distance running. She is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games in Athens and London respectively. In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, Defar won a silver medal for Ethiopia. She has also won medals at the World Championships, All-Africa Games, and World Indoor Championships.
Known for his signature laughter, Kriss Akabusi is a former track and field athlete who has three Olympic bronze medals to his credit. He also became a European Champion in 1990, breaking a 22-year British 400m hurdles record. He had previously also been part of the British Army.
Christine Ohuruogu is a British athlete who has won an Olympic gold medal, two World Championships, and a Commonwealth gold medal in the 400m event. She also has an Olympic silver medal and a couple of bronze medals under her belt. In 2016, she became the second British track and field athlete to win Olympic medals at three consecutive Games.
Miruts Yifter was an Ethiopian athlete who specialized in long-distance running. He is best remembered for winning two gold medals at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. He also won four gold medals at the IAAF World Cup. Miruts Yifter also had success at the 1973 All-Africa Games where he won a gold medal and a silver medal.
Bob Hayes was an American athlete and a football player. An Olympic gold medalist and a Super Bowl ring winner, Hayes was inducted into both Pro Football Hall of Fame as well as the United States Olympic Hall of Fame. He won gold medal in 100m and 4 x 100m relay in 1964 Tokto Oympics Hayes was once regarded as the world's fastest human.
Ethiopian long-distance runner Kenenisa Bekele is not just a 3-time Olympic gold medalist but has also won the World Championship gold 5 times. He also has 11 World Cross Country Championship gold medals in his kitty. Initially a master of the 5,000m and 10,000m categories, he later focused on marathons.
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.
Dwain Chambers is a British track sprinter known to be one of the fastest European sprinters in the history of athletics. He is the European record holder for the 60 meters with 6.42 seconds. He has won gold medals at the world and European levels in different tournaments. He faced a doping ban from 2006 to 2012.
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.