Famous Black Athletes

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
11
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 Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge
9
Famous As: Long-distance runner
Birthdate: November 17, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kapsisiywa, Nandi County, Kenya

 4 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.

 5 Wilma Rudolph

Wilma Rudolph
5
Famous As: Sprinter
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.

 6 Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee
5
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.

 7 Yohan Blake

Yohan Blake
9
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: December 26, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: St. James Parish, Jamaica
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 8 Haile Gebrselassie

Haile Gebrselassie
4
Famous As: Ethiopian running legend who won 10,000 meter gold medals at the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics
Birthdate: April 18, 1973
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Assela, Ethiopia

 9 Ashton Eaton

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

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.

 10 Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson
4
Famous As: Sprinter
Birthdate: December 30, 1961
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Falmouth, Jamaica

 11 Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly
4
Famous As: Athlete, Martial Artist, Actor
Birthdate: May 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, Kentucky, United States
Died: June 29, 2013

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.

 12 Dominique Dawes

Dominique Dawes
4
Famous As: Gymnast
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.

 13 Phil Davis

Phil Davis
4
Famous As: Mixed Martial Artist
Birthdate: September 25, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States

Mr. Wonderful Phil Davis is a popular American MMA fighter who represents Bellator MMA. He has previously been a four-time NCAA D-I All-American at Penn State and also boasts of a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He had also excelled in tennis and cross-country running in his younger days.

 14 Christian Coleman

Christian Coleman
4
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: March 6, 1996
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

Track and field sprinter Christian Coleman has two World Championship golds in his kitty. Born into a sports-oriented family, with his sister being a track and field athlete, he was naturally drawn toward sports. He was banned for missing his drug tests and, as a result, missed the Tokyo Olympics 2021.

 15 Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla
6
Famous As: Former Ice hockey right winger
Birthdate: July 1, 1977
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Edmonton, Canada

 16 Ralph Metcalfe

Ralph Metcalfe
3
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: May 29, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Died: October 10, 1978

 17 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
5
Famous As: Olympic gold medalist sprinter who then became an American football wide receiver in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys
Birthdate: December 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jacksonville, Florida, United States
Died: September 18, 2002

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.

 18 David Rudisha

David Rudisha
4
Famous As: Middle-distance runner
Birthdate: December 17, 1988
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kilgoris, Narok County, Kenya

 19 John Carlos

John Carlos
4
Famous As: Sprinter, Athletics competitor, Association football player
Birthdate: June 5, 1945
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City

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.

 20 Louis Smith

Louis Smith
6
Famous As: Retired artistic gymnast
Birthdate: April 22, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, England

With his 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze medal, Louis Smith became the second Black male gymnast to have won the medal. A pommel horse expert, he later won three more Olympic medals. He had ADHD as a child and later also won a choral scholarship but chose to focus on gymnastics instead.

 21 Merlene Ottey

Merlene Ottey
3
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: May 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hanover Parish, Jamaica

 22 Dina Asher-Smith

Dina Asher-Smith
0
Famous As: Sprinter
Birthdate: December 4, 1995
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Orpington ,England

 23 Ugo Monye

Ugo Monye
6
Famous As: Rugby union player
Birthdate: April 13, 1983
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Islington

Ugo Monye is an English former rugby union player turned sports pundit. He was a star athlete as a youth and played for Hampshire RFC U17s and U20s. He then joined Harlequins and played 241 times for them. He won both the second division and then the Premiership title with Harlequins. He has also played for England. 

 24 Tyler Blackett

Tyler Blackett
4
Famous As: Footballer left-back or centre-back
Birthdate: April 2, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manchester, England, United Kingdom

 25 Kriss Akabusi

Kriss Akabusi
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Famous As: Former Sprint and Hurdling Track and Field Athlete
Birthdate: November 28, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paddington, London, England

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.

 26 Jasmine Camacho-Quinn

Jasmine Camacho-Quinn
3
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: August 21, 1996
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: North Charleston, South Carolina, United States

 27 Marion Jones

Marion Jones
4
Famous As: Athlete
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.

 28 Rafer Johnson

Rafer Johnson
3
Famous As: Former athlete and actor, who won a gold medal in the decathlon at the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome
Birthdate: August 18, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Hillsboro, Texas, United States
Died: December 2, 2020

 29 Tirunesh Dibaba

Tirunesh Dibaba
5
Famous As: Athlete who competes in long-distance track events and international road races
Birthdate: June 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bekoji, Ethiopia

 30 Issa Hayatou

Issa Hayatou
3
Famous As: Athlete, Sports Administrator
Birthdate: August 9, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Garoua, Cameroon

 31 Woody Strode

Woody Strode
4
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: July 25, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States
Died: December 31, 1994

One of the first Black football players of the NFL, Woody Strode was also a talented decathlete. He had dabbled in professional wrestling, too, but later gained fame solely for his film roles, such as that of gladiator Draba in Spartacus, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination.

 32 Ato Boldon

Ato Boldon
3
Famous As: Athletics competitor
Birthdate: December 30, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 33 Bernard Lagat

Bernard Lagat
3
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: December 12, 1974
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Kapsabet, Kenya

 34 Meb Keflezighi

Meb Keflezighi
3
Famous As: Long-distance runner
Birthdate: May 5, 1975
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Asmara, Eritrea

 35 Debi Thomas

Debi Thomas
4
Famous As: Figure skater
Birthdate: March 25, 1967
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Poughkeepsie

Former figure skater Debi Thomas is also an Olympic bronze medalist. She began skating at 5 and participated in her first figure-skating contest at 9. A Stanford engineer and a qualified orthopedic surgeon, too, Thomas surprisingly ended up being broke and began living in a trailer in the Appalachian mountains.

 36 Tommie Smith

Tommie Smith
4
Famous As: Football player
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.

 37 Mutaz Essa Barshim

Mutaz Essa Barshim
0
Famous As: High jumper
Birthdate: June 24, 1991
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Doha, Qatar

 38 Sifan Hassan

Sifan Hassan
3
Famous As: Long-distance runner
Birthdate: January 1, 1993
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Adama, Ethiopia

 39 Mijain Lopez

Mijain Lopez
3
Famous As: Wrestler
Birthdate: August 20, 1982
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Pinar del Río, Cuba

 40 Johnny Oduya

Johnny Oduya
3
Famous As: Former Ice hockey defenceman
Birthdate: October 1, 1981
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Stockholm, Sweden

Swedish former ice-hockey player was born to a Swedish mother and a Kenyan father, in Stockholm. As part of the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL, he has won two Stanley Cups. He won a World Championship bronze and also played at the Olympics twice, winning a silver for Sweden.

 41 Julius Yego

Julius Yego
3
Famous As: Athlete
Birthdate: January 4, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nandi County, Kenya

 42 Dwain Chambers

Dwain Chambers
5
Famous As: Track sprinter
Birthdate: April 5, 1978
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: London, England

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. 

 43 Marqise Lee

Marqise Lee
0
Famous As: American football player
Birthdate: November 25, 1991
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States

 44 Sébastien Foucan

Sébastien Foucan
3
Famous As: Actor who featured in the British 2003 documentary, founder of freerunning and considered an early developer of parkour
Birthdate: May 27, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

 45 Lawrence Okoye

Lawrence Okoye
7
Famous As: Track and field athlete and former American football defensive tackle
Birthdate: October 6, 1991
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Croydon, London, England

British track and field athlete, Lawrence Okoye played rugby for his school before taking up discuss throw. She won gold medal at the 2011 European Athletics U23 Championships and thereafter competed in the 2012 London Olympics in the following year. Later, he concentrated on football, participating in the NLF, before returning to discuss throwing, securing first place at 2021 European Athletics Team Championships.

 46 Almaz Ayana

Almaz Ayana
6
Famous As: Long-distance runner
Birthdate: November 21, 1991
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Benishangul-Gumuz, Ethiopia

 47 Sanya Richards-Ross

Sanya Richards-Ross
1
Famous As: Track and field athlete
Birthdate: February 26, 1985
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kingston, Jamaica

 48 Margaret Wambui

Margaret Wambui
3
Famous As: Middle-distance runner
Birthdate: September 15, 1995
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Nyeri, Kenya

 49 Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ibtihaj Muhammad
3
Famous As: Fencer
Birthdate: December 4, 1985
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Maplewood, New Jersey, United States

Ibtihaj Muhammad is an American sabre fencer. An important member of the US fencing team, Muhammad is the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics for the United States. In 2016, she became the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal while wearing a hijab; she won a bronze medal for her team.

 50 Evelyn Ashford

Evelyn Ashford
3
Famous As: American olympic athlete
Birthdate: April 15, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Shreveport, Louisiana, United States