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.
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.
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.
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.
Moroccan former middle-distance runner Hicham El Guerrouj is a four-time 1500m world champion. The UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador became the second athlete to win both the 1500m and 5000m titles in the same Olympics. He won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year thrice and holds many indoor and outdoor records.
Alun Wyn Jones is a Welsh rugby union player who is currently playing for the Ospreys. Jones is the current captain of the Wales national rugby team and has helped his team win five Six Nations Championships. He has also won other important trophies, such as three Grand Slams, four Triple Crowns, three Doddie Weir Cups, and four Prince William Cups.
Dean Karnazes began running for fun while in kindergarten; taking diversionary routes while returning home from school. Slowly, he started taking it more seriously, running a marathon to the South Pole in 2002, embarking on the Endurance 50: 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 consecutive days in 2006. Currently a businessperson, he has also written a book on marathon.
11 Geoff Capes
While he began his career as a Cambridgeshire Constabulary policeman, Geoff Capes ruled the British shot-putting arena in the 1970s. Apart from being a two-time Commonwealth gold medal winner, he has also won the World’s Strongest Man tag twice and been a seven-time AAA Championship winner.
12 Anže Kopitar
Sally Pearson is an Australian former athlete. After winning a silver medal in the 100 m hurdles at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Pearson went on to win Olympic gold in the same event in 2012. A two-time world champion, Sally Pearson also won two gold medals in Commonwealth Games. In 2011, she was named Female Athlete of the Year.
19 Rick Hansen
20 Ben Youngs
Ben Youngs is an English rugby union player who plays for the Leicester Tigers as well as the England national team. One of the most successful scrum-halfs of his generation, Youngs became the most capped scrum-half for England in 2019. In 2017 and 2020, Ben Youngs helped his team win the prestigious Six Nations Championships.
Kevin Sinfield is a former professional rugby league player turned coach. He played his entire professional career with Leeds and is considered one of the most successful players in Super League history. He shifted to coaching after his retirement as a player and is currently the defensive coach for the Leicester Tigers, who play in Premiership Rugby.
25 Emil Zatopek
Winner of four Olympic golds, three of which came from the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Czech long-distance runner Emil Zatopek came to be known as the Czech Locomotive and The Bouncing Czech for his speed. He lost his Communist Party membership for criticizing the 1968 Soviet takeover of Czechoslovakia.
31 Fátima Diame
32 Alex Lynn
Alex Lynn began his career with Formula Renault UK and scored a record 12 wins from 20 starts. The ace British race driver has also competed for Formula E, with Mahindra Racing. In 2014, he became the first British racer to earn the coveted GP3 title.
34 Os du Randt
Os du Randt is a South African former rugby player who retired as the most-capped forward in the South African national team's history. One of the most successful players of his generation, Du Randt is one of 21 players who have won the World Cup twice or more. In 2019, he was inducted into the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
Retired South African rugby player Ashwin Willemse, now a rugby analyst and a motivational speaker, grew up amid poverty and lived in a shack near Cape Town, with his mother and grandparents. A drug dealer and addict in his youth, he had even joined a criminal gang and had attempted suicide.
South African-born Dutch rugby player Nick Abendanon plays for the England rugby team and is best known for his stint as a full back for Clermont Auvergne. Declared the 2015 European Player of the Year, he also won the Top 14 and the Challenge Cup trophies for Clermont.
Rugby player Tyrese Johnson-Fisher was 15 when he became an overnight sensation after a video of him playing for Oakham School became viral. The Coastal Carolina football scholar was also the first non-American to be invited to the All-American game for hopefuls in American football, although he never played the game.
43 Al Oerter
44 Wyomia Tyus
Marjorie Jackson-Nelson is a former Australian athlete. She won two Olympic and seven Commonwealth Games Gold Medals. She was appointed the Governor of South Australia in 2001 and held this position until 2007. She was married to Olympic cyclist Peter Nelson who died in 1977. She has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.