The 35 Most Famous Inspirational Athletes Stories

The 35 Most Famous Inspirational Athletes Stories

      Sport has always been and remains one of the most important parts of our life. It doesn't matter if you want to do it professionally or just like a hobby, want to be a star, or just keep a good shape. The world's best athletes prove that nothing is impossible, and how important perseverance and patience are. And they do it by their example, their life history and achievements. When we want to give up, these people do not stop but become even more persistent in achieving their dreams, and we can learn from them.

     Today we will tell you about 25 of the best athletes in the world, whose achievements motivate the whole world.

1. Kurt Warner

       His story is amazing. During college, Kurt was a grocery store laborer and moonlighting assistant coach. Not a single NFL team wanted him to join and he decided to play in the AFL, where he demonstrated incredible skills and finally got into the NFL. His game amazed many, and his name began to appear constantly in sports publications. With each season Kurt was reaching new heights. The list of his awards and titles is huge, and his name is listed in two halls of fame at once, which has never happened in history. This is how a dream transformed him from a grocery store worker to one of the best professional American football players.

2. Pat Tillman

      His history is steeped in patriotism and love for the United States. After showing himself at university as the best defender in American football, he was immediately invited to the NFL. Playing for "Arizona Cardinals" he even managed to set a club record. However, after the events of 9/11, Pat was eager to get revenge. Refusing a multimillion-dollar contract, he joined the US Army with his brother. He took part in military operations in Iraq. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in Afghanistan due to unfriendly fire. He became a real hero and legend not only in sports but also in the history of his homeland.

3. Reggie White

      He was practically the best defensive player in American football history. He was even nicknamed the Minister of Defense. He was also known for being a minister of the Christian church. For his achievements, he was inducted into the hall of fame of both his college and professional football. He played for the USFL, and three clubs in the NFL. The number of his awards and titles is impressive, and the statistics of the games do not cast doubt on his talent.

4. Roberto Clemente

      The most unique professional baseball player. Roberto was inducted into the baseball hall of fame, and thus became the first Hispanic to deserve it. Unfortunately, this happened after his death in a plane crash during a humanitarian mission. This was also the first time such an award was made posthumously. Nevertheless, he managed to play 18 seasons in MLB and received various awards. And his number 21 was forever assigned to him in his team.

5. Josh Hamilton

      Josh showed what it means to believe in yourself. Despite a bad start to his career, when injuries and drugs stood in his way, he managed to defeat his worst enemy ‒ himself. After years of struggling with addiction, Josh finally recovered from drugs and became a true MLB champion and played for 3 clubs. For his willpower and, of course, for achievements and records in professional baseball, he received many awards.

6. Ted Williams

       War hero, professional baseball player, and manager. There was no better slugger in MLB history. His name is deservedly accepted into the baseball hall of fame. Best Player titles, Triple Crown, Best Slugger, to name just a few of his achievements at Boston Red Sox. After the end of his career, he decided, like many former players, to become the manager of a baseball club and even found time for his fishing program.

7. Liman Vostok

      One of the best Baseball MLB players. He played four seasons and for two teams. He played great with both hands. He was the kindest person, once considering his results unsatisfactory, he gave his salary to charity. He strove to be better and deserve success. Unfortunately, the life of this wonderful person failed. He was accidentally shot by a criminal.

8. Jim Abbott

      He will give odds to those who complain about life. Even though Jim was born without his right hand, that didn't stop him from becoming a professional baseball player in MLB. His motivation can be envied, even during his studies Jim played great, and his teammates and rivals even forgot about his problem, because he was on a par with them. Now Jim performs at various events, motivating people with disabilities not to give up and live life to the fullest.

9. Magic Johnson

      His incredible story impresses everyone. The great NBA player, whose name can be seen in the hall of fame, made the Los Angeles Lakers truly great. He has many awards and a star on the walk of fame. Despite his overwhelming success, he was diagnosed with HIV. After fighting a terrible disease and defeating it, he continued to play in the NBA. He retired soon after because his diagnosis frightened many players and devoted his life to helping fight against HIV around the world.

10. Michael Oher

     Michael grew up in a dysfunctional family. As he grew older, he was brought up in foster families. One of them was able to send him to college, where he proved himself to be an excellent American football player. Subsequently, he was noticed by the NFL clubs, playing for which he received many awards.

11. Rudy Ruettiger

     His story became legendary and was even shown in the film not because Rudy is one of the best players in American football, or won many awards. This is a story about an unquenchable passion for the dream. Although everything around him was against him, Rudi dreamed of playing in a football tournament. He was too small for this game. But every day he did not step back, trying to do everything in his power to be taken on the college team. And so it happened, he played the game and even took down a major player. The team tossed him in their arms at the end of the match, rejoicing with him. Today, Rudi gives motivational speeches and writes success books, trying to cheer up anyone who doubts for a second.

12. Vince Papale

     A unique NFL player who came to this league at the age of 30. Before that, he was a high school coach. Vince has repeatedly lied about his age, before playing in the NFL, where he became the oldest rookie in history. He played for two years until he injured the shoulder. He proved that regardless of age, it is never too late to start moving towards your dream. After completing his career, he moved to the media industry, and his story became the plot of the film.

13. Lance Armstrong

      A cyclist from Texas has been interested in sports since childhood, especially in those that demand endurance. His choice was cycling because he wanted to get to the Olympic Games. Lance, having strong willpower, despite cancer, won the fight with the disease and continued to participate in competitions. He won the Tour de France 7 times in a row. But unfortunately, due to the doping scandal, his cycling career ended forever, and the awards were canceled. But even so, he became an excellent example for many athletes and support for those who suffer from a terrible disease.

14. Michael Jordan

      We can safely say that today the NBA and basketball, in general, are what Michael Jordan made it. Basketball and NBA icon. It was he who had a huge impact on this sport and changed it forever. For the better of course. He made basketball incredibly popular. And his name is familiar even to those who have never been fond of the NBA. His name adorns the hall of fame, and various publications call him the richest athlete in the world. Titles, titles, an abundance of awards accompanied Michael throughout his career. He showed us the real power of dreams.

15. Tiger Woods

     One of the greatest golfers in history. Ranked second in the world in the number of "Major" wins. His real name is Eldrick, and he inherited his nickname from his father. Master of records for his skills and ability to play the game, was considered the best golfer in the world for 5 years in the period 1999-2004. Woods also made the list of billionaire athletes, although he earned most of it through business and his popularity. The game with him was bought for a lot of money at auctions. Woods also helps children from underprivileged families learn professional golf.

16. Mia Hamm

    A talented football player motivates all girls and not only around the world. The champion of the Olympic Games and the World Cup in women's football destroyed all stereotypes. In international games, she set records for both women and men, she was famous for excellent dribbling, accurate strikes, and good endurance, playing in the national team. Today she is a representative of several football clubs and is involved in charity work. Mia has become a real icon in the world of women's sports.

17. Jesse Owens

     A phenomenal athlete from the USA who went down in the history of the whole world and the 1936 Olympic Games. The movie "Race" was even made about his story. His skill and willpower allowed him to set 6 world records in less than an hour and get 4 gold medals during the competition. Many myths have been invented about him. It's hard to believe, but even despite the overwhelming success, he was unhappy in his homeland. He had financial problems, because of which he worked part-time where he was paid. It was humiliating for the Olympic champion, but he only cared about his family. Only after the Second World War Jesse was truly recognized throughout the world. Unfortunately, due to a difficult life, Jesse smoked a lot and died of cancer, but remained forever in the hearts of millions of people.

18. Michael Phelps

     The greatest swimmer of our time and the absolute champion and record holder of the Olympic Games. While still a schoolboy at the age of 15, he participated in the Olympic Games, where he became the youngest swimmer who broke the world record and set his own. He inspired the whole world and showed that nothing can be a hindrance to the goal, especially age. With nearly 40 world swimming records and a truly impressive number of wins and gold medals, his contribution to world sports is truly unique.

19. Muhammad Ali

     Who doesn't know this guy? He is one of the greatest boxers in the world without a doubt. Who would have thought that his career would start with a stolen bike and a desire to just protect himself? Subsequently, he became a legend, and the number of his achievements, awards, and records cannot be counted. Ali was proud of his success and did not want to take off his gold medals. He wanted to become a professional boxer from the age of 12. And when his dream came true, he began to motivate the younger generation to move towards their dreams, no matter what, so that they create their own lives and destinies.

20. Jackie Robinson

     The first African American in MLB history to break the racial barrier and prove the equality of all people on Earth. He changed baseball history forever, and Robinson's Day is celebrated in his honor. Since childhood, he has strived not only to become a great baseball player but also to make the world a better place. The number on his uniform will always be associated with Jackie Robinson, as MLB has permanently removed number 42 for MLB players, and now it adorns the monument, reminding of the great player.

21. Lou Gehrig

     The legendary Major League Baseball player who played for the Yankees. His skills and truly amazing endurance amazed his fans every game. Nothing could stop him, neither pain nor weakness. He confidently walked towards his goal, and achieved many awards and records, some of which could not be broken for fifty years! Only an incurable terrible disease was able to stop the "Iron Tom", immortalizing him in the history of MLB and Yankee.

22.Tom Brady

      One of the most talented players in the NFL and the record holder for the most champion rings, he has been awarded six times. A prime example of how childhood dreams come true. Tom always liked American football and dreamed of playing as a quarterback. And so it happened, he reached unprecedented heights and awards, appeared many times in films and TV series, every NFL fan knows about him. Tom will forever go down in the history of American football as one of the best players in the world.

23. Manute Bol

     In 9 years of his NBA career, Manute from Sudan made history in both basketball and his home country. The incredibly tall basketball player was prized as an excellent defender for his shot-blocks. Manute loved his homeland, and after completing his professional career, he became involved in charity work in Sudan until a serious illness took his life.

24. Wayne Gretzky

     A unique hockey player who entered the hall of fame, he began his sports career from childhood. Thanks to the support of his family, Wayne did not hesitate for a second in the decision to devote his life to hockey and was rewarded. As a child, he played with adult players, and when he entered the big sport, he set about 60 records. The title of the best player and many other awards have inspired many people who were not even interested in hockey.

25. Manny Pacquiao

    The national hero of the Philippines, who has become an excellent example for all generations. But he became so thanks to his perseverance. His story is not only about sports. Born into a poor family, Manny never deviated from his goal, not a single difficulty could break him. Training and looking for any chance made him an excellent professional fighter, politician, and legend. Perhaps he is the best example for athletes and not only. Many people still cannot imagine hockey without him.

                                                        Worth Mentioning

Rollon E. Gardner 

       American Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestler, Olympic champion and medalist, world champion, World Cup winner, two-time Pan American Greco-Roman wrestling champion; Pan American Freestyle Wrestling Champion. He is especially famous for the fact that in the final of the 2000 Olympic Games he defeated the three-time Olympic champion Alexander Karelin, who was considered invincible, thus preventing him from becoming the first four-time Olympic champion in wrestling.

Martina Navratilova

    She is a Czechoslovak and American tennis player, the former first racket of the world in singles and doubles (in doubles ‒ the current record holder for the duration of stay in the first line of the rating). Two-time winner of the Grand Slam in the women's doubles (1984, 1986), the owner of the non-classical Grand Slam in the women's singles (1983/1984). She won 18 Grand Slam singles, 31 women's doubles, and 10 mixed doubles. Eight times winner of the final Virginia Slims Tour Championship in singles (including 5 times in a row), 11 times winner in doubles. Since 1975, she has played for the United States, although she received American citizenship only in 1981. In this regard, for a long time, she had the status of persona non grata in the countries of the socialist camp. In the USSR, her successes were hushed up, although she won at that time (early and mid-1980s) almost all important tournaments, and only in the late 1980s, when first Steffi Graf, and then other athletes began to beat her, about Martina started talking in the USSR.

    Martina Navratilova was the first world-class athlete to come out ‒ she openly admitted that she is a lesbian.

Dara Grace Torres (Hoffman)

     American swimmer, four-time Olympic champion (all in the relay), four-time silver, and four-time Olympic bronze medalist. Sports nickname ‒ "DT". 

      Only Torres, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina and Japanese gymnast Takashi Ono each have 4 full sets of Olympic awards. In addition, Torres shares seventh place with 6 athletes in terms of the total number of Olympic awards (12). 

     She is the only American swimmer to have competed in five Olympics (over 24 years) and is the oldest swimming medalist in Olympic history.

   She failed to win a medal in only one Olympics from five: in 1988 in Seoul at a distance of 100 m freestyle she took 7th place.

Mark Herzlich Jr. 

    Born September 1, 1987, he is an American football linebacker and tight end who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He played college football at Boston College. 

     On May 14, 2009, Herzlich announced that he had been diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, stating in a press release: 

     On September 29, 2009, Mark Herzlich announced that he was cancer-free. This was confirmed by the team doctors. He publicly announced this during the ESPN and Home Depot College Gameday Special at Boston College on October 3, 2009. He sat out the remainder of the 2009 season and returned in 2010, registering five tackles (three solos) in the season-opening 38-20 win against FCS school Weber State.

     Despite not playing college football in 2009, he received the Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award for overcoming cancer, as well as the Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award for sportsmanship. In January 2011, he received the "Most Courageous Athlete" award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association. 

Brett Lorenzo Favre 

     Born October 10, 1969, Gulfport, Mississippi, USA, former American football player, starting quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons (1991 ), Green Bay Packers (1992-2007), New York Jets (2008) and Minnesota Vikings (2009-2010), all playing in the National Football League (NFL).

      Favre is the first player in NFL history to win the Associated Press's Most Valuable Player of the Season three times (1995-97) (second to Payton Manning in 2008. Peyton Manning is the only player to have won the title five times). He holds the record for the most starters without a pass among NFL players in any position (297, including 321 playoffs). He holds every possible career record for quarterbacks: most completed passes (6,300), most passes (10,169), most passes yards (71,838). With 186 career wins (plus 13 playoff wins in the regular season), Favre is the most winning quarterback in NFL history and the only one to win over all 32 league teams. It was only in the 2014 season that Payton Manning repeated this achievement, defeating his former club, Indianapolis.

Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé)

     Better known as Pelé is a Brazilian footballer, striker (attacking midfielder). He played for the Santos and New York Cosmos clubs. Played 92 games and scored 77 goals for the Brazilian national team.

    Pele is the only footballer in the world to become a world champion three times as a player (in 1958, 1962 and 1970). Participant in four world championships. Best Player of the World Cup 1970. Best Young Player of the World Cup 1958. Soccer Player of the Year in South America 1973. Twice a member of the symbolic teams of the world championships. Two-time winner of the Intercontinental Cup and Copa Libertadores, winner of the Super Cup of intercontinental champions, ten-time champion of the state of Sao Paulo, four-time winner of the Rio Sao Paulo tournament with Santos. 

    The best footballer of the 20th century according to the FIFA Football Commission; by voting on the official website of the organization Pele is the second footballer in the XX century. He is the best athlete of the XX century according to the International Olympic Committee. 

     According to a poll, IFFIS ranks first among the best football players in the world of the 20th century. Ranked first among the best players of the 20th century according to World Soccer magazine. Ranked first among the best players of the XX century according to France Football. Ranked first among the best players of the XX century according to Guerin Sportivo. Ranked first among the best players in the history of football according to Placar. Ranked second in the history of world championships according to the newspaper The Times. Listed in FIFA 100.

     Member of the symbolic team of the best players in the history of the FIFA World Championships. Member of the symbolic team of the best players in the history of South America. According to Time magazine, he is one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

    In 1995-1998 he served as the Minister of Sports of Brazil.

Steve Roland Prefontaine 

    Born January 25, 1951, Coos Bay, Oregon, USA ‒ died May 30, 1975, Eugene, Oregon, USA. He is an American middle-distance and long-distance runner. Prefontaine, along with friends Frank Shorter and Bill Rogers, purposefully raised awareness of running issues, thereby contributing to the US running boom in the 1970s. He set seven American records for distances from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters. Died at the age of 24 in a car accident.

Team Hoyt

    It is a father and son: Dick Hoyt (06/01/1940) and Rick Hoyt (01/10/1962) from Holland, Massachusetts. Together they took part in a variety of competitions, including marathon races and triathlons. Rick has cerebral palsy. When you need to swim during the competition, Dick pulls Rick with him in a special boat. When it comes to cycling, Rick sits in a special seat in front of his father. When he needs to run, Dick rolls his son in a special wheelchair. Hoyt was inducted into the Ironman Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Daniel Erwin "Dan" Jensen 

     Born June 17, 1965, Milwaukee, Wisconsin ‒ American speed skater, 1994 Olympic champion.
Dan Jensen was one of the world's strongest sprinters in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He has won the World Cup and Sprint World Cup numerous times. At his first Olympics in 1984 in Sarajevo, Dan Jensen took fourth place at a distance of 500 m and 16th at a distance of 1000 m.

       Jensen was considered the sprint favorite at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics. But on the day of the 500-meter race, Jensen's sister died of leukemia. Jensen is unable to concentrate on the competition. He fell at distances of 500 and 1000 meters.

      At the next Olympic Games in 1992 in Albertville, Jensen was also the favorite but did not win a single medal again, fourth place at 500 meters. During his career, Dan Jensen has won 46 World Cup victories and won the World Cup overall seven times. Jensen won the sprint world championships twice in 1988 and 1994. In 1993, Jensen was the first skater to run 500 meters faster than 36 seconds ‒ 35.92.

      After retiring as a speed skater, Jensen was a commentator on the NBC television channel. From 2005 to 2007, Dan Jensen worked as a speed skating coach at the Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey club.

    In memory of his sister, Jensen set up a foundation to help fight leukemia.

James Samuel Morris Jr. 

     Born January 19, 1964. He is an American former professional baseball pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for two seasons with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Although brief, Morris' career is noted for making his MLB debut at the relatively advanced age of 35, moreover, it was after several arm surgeries. His story would later be dramatized into the 2002 film The Rookie.