25 Most Iconic Athletes In The History Of Sports

Posted by , Updated on June 28, 2014

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While it can be hard to pick the greatest athletes of all time, if you narrow your criteria the task becomes a little simpler. Factors that influenced our particular list include the athlete’s accomplishment in their particular sports, the number of years they were considered its best player, and their impact not only in their own sports but on the world in general. Here are the 25 most iconic athletes in the history of sports.

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25

Jim Thorpe

Jim Thorpe

Voted the ‘greatest athlete in the first half of the 20th century,’ he was also known as ‘The Greatest American Football Player’ of all time. Aside from football, he also dabbled in other sports and won gold medals in the 1912 Stockholm Summer Olympics in pentathlon and decathlon. His decathlon scores weren’t broken for nearly two decades.

24

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth

George Herman Ruth Jr., was also known for his moniker as “the Bambino” and “the Sultan of Swat.” Elevated to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, he is remembered for his impact and influence in one of two most popular sports in the United States during the first half of the 20th century.

23

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Babe Didrikson Zaharias

Mildred Ella Didrikson Zaharias was a great American female athlete who achieved outstanding success in golf, basketball, and track and field. Named the “10th Greatest North American Athlete of the 20th Century” by ESPN and the 9th by the Associated Press, she broke the accepted models of female athleticism.

22

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was a great all-around baseball player who broke the color barrier in the modern era of Major League Baseball. Apart from his exploits on the baseball field he was also accomplished in tennis, football, track, and basketball.

21

Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson

five-time world champion with a long career in boxing, Walker Smith Jr’s performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions started the “pound for pound” rankings of sportswriters to compare fighters regardless of weight. Inaugurated into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1990, he became the first boxer in history to win a Divisional World Championship 5 times when he defeated Carmen Basilio in 1958.



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