When we think of famous athletes, we often look at the professional leagues for inspiration. Indeed, there is a lot of offerings there. Individuals such as David Beckham, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth and Joe Montana all top that list. However, we would be remiss to leave out some of the great track and field athletes of both the most recent Olympics and the ones in years past. These track and field personas have contributed a lot to athletics. Here are some of the best athletes that track and field has to offer:
There is no question that if you could name even one single track and field athlete of this modern age it would have to be Usain Bolt. This man hasn’t been voted “fastest man alive” for nothing. Indeed, Usain showed incredible potential and was already beating his mother in footraces by the time he was ten years old. Many of his educators encouraged him to work on his sprinting talent because they saw his immense potential. They turned out to be right, especially considering that he won his first championship footrace at the Junior World Championships at the ripe old age of 15. He also won a gold medal at the World Athletics Championship in Osaka, Japan in 2007 and won an Olympic Gold medal in 2009 and 2012.
Kersee has long been regarded as one of the greatest female athletes of the 20th Century. She won medals in four different Olympic Games, and she had a score of over 7,000 in the heptathlon event. This is still a world record to this day. She also distinguished herself by becoming the first American-born woman to bring home a gold medal for the long jump event. Finally, in one of her last competitions in 1996, she won a bronze medal even though she suffered a hamstring injury.
Jim Thorpe was one of the best all-around athletes in the teens and twenties. He was a member of the Sac and Fox Nation, and he was one of the first Native American who excelled at a lot of sports. He won his first Gold medal at the Penn Relays in 1908 when he tied for first place at the flip of a coin. He also won several gold medals in both the pentathlon and the decathlon at the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912. He also excelled in college football and in the 1920’s he was named the first president of the American Professional Football Association, which later became known as the NFL. Indeed, the NFL’s most valuable player (MVP) award trophy is technically called the Jim Thorpe award.
There is no questioning the impact that the major four sports have on the American consciousness. However, if you discount the Olympic sports you are missing out on some important athletes and some people who have contributed a tremendous amount to sports.