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.
Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish athlete who specialized in long-distance and middle-distance running. Nicknamed the Flying Finn, Nurmi dominated important distance running events in the early 20th century. He won nine gold medals and three silver medals across three Olympics in 1920, 1924, and 1928. Paavo Nurmi also set 22 official world records during his career.
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.
Peter Norman was an Australian athlete who won a silver medal in the 200 meters event at the 1968 Summer Olympics. He is remembered for supporting fellow athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos by wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge during their medal ceremony; he is the third athlete seen in the popular Olympics Black Power salute photograph.
Jan Železný is a Czech retired track and field athlete who specialized in the javelin throw. With three Olympic gold medals under his belt, Železný is regarded as the modern era's greatest javelin thrower. Železný broke the world record on four occasions and currently holds the record with a throw of 98.48 metres. He is also a three-time world champion.
Zola Budd is a South African former athlete who used to compete in long-distance and middle-distance running. Budd represented Great Britain at the 1984 Olympic Games before representing South Africa at the 1992 Olympic Games. Zola Budd also took part in the 1985 and 1986 World Cross Country Championships, winning gold medals on both occasions.
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.
Olympic silver medalist Liz McColgan had apparently started training at age 12. The former British track and field athlete secured her first major win representing the University of Alabama at the NCAA Indoor Mile Championship. She is also two-time Commonwealth winner, apart from being a one-time world champion.
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.
Stefan Holm is retired Swedish high jumper who won a gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He also won silver medal at the 2003 Paris World Indoor Championship and the 2002 Munich European Championship.
Two-time Olympic medalist Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown has also been a World Champion in 2022. Anglo-Jamaican in origin, the sportsperson specializes in 100m and 200m and began his athletic career with the USC Trojans while in college. He also won the 4x100m relay at the 2018 NACAC Championships.
Australian long distance runner, Stewart McSweyn began representing his country while still in his teens. Eventually as a professional, he started participating in 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m and 10,000 m events, representing Australia at the 2017 World Championships, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and finally in the 2020 Olympics, where he managed to qualify for the Men's 1500m final.
Swedish sprinter Linda Haglund made her international debut at age 15 and never looked back. She competed in the Olympics thrice, finishing fourth in the 100m event in Moscow. Part of the Legends of 1956, she became a painter, designer, and author after retirement. She died of cancer at 59.
Eleanor Patterson is an Australian track and field athlete. She competes in the high jump and has a personal best of 1.99 meters for the event. She was the gold medallist in women’s athletics at the 2013 World Youth Championships and the 2014 Commonwealth Games. She took a break in 2018 and returned to athletics in 2020 with renewed vigor.
Yulia Nestsiarenka is a Belarusian athlete who specialized in the 100 metres event. She is best known for winning a gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. She also won a bronze medal at the 2004 World Indoor Championships, 2005 World Championships, and 2006 European Championships. Currently, Nestsiarenka is one of the members of the Belarus Olympic Committee.
British adventurer Sarah Outen became the first female and the youngest person to complete a solo rowing expedition across the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. She has set 3 Guinness World Records, penned books such as Dare to Do, and inspired others through her motivational speeches.
Australian triathlete and rower John Maclean is a Paralympic Games silver medalist. Initially a talented rugby player, he became a paraplegic after a bicycle accident. He scripted history as Australia's first paraplegic triathlete and now owns the John Maclean Foundation to motivate minor wheelchair users. He is also a motivational speaker.
Manuela Bosco is a Finnish actress and retired athlete who specialized in hurdling. As a hurdler, she is best known for representing Finland at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. As an actress, Manuela Bosco is best known for her portrayal of Nadia Rapaccini in the popular TV series Nymphs.
Desai Williams was a Canadian sprinter best remembered for winning a bronze medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. He also won a gold medal at the 1981 Pacific Conference Games and at the 1986 Commonwealth Games. Desai Williams also worked as a coach and trained Olympic athletes like Phylicia George, Justyn Warner, and Tremaine Harris among others.
Matthew Denny is an Australian track and field athlete who specializes in the discus throw. Denny represented Australia at the 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics, setting his personal best of 67.02 meters in the discus throw at the latter event. Matthew Denny also competes in the hammer throw; she won a silver medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.