We survived two Armageddon’s, natural disasters and Psy. It time to highlight some unknown sport personalities while recognizing some old classics. Each one of these top athletes have stories filled with lessons Generation Y can learn from.
1. Bradley Wiggins CBE
What better way to kick things off our list of top athletes than a visit to the BBCs Sports Personality of the Year 2012. Bradley became the first Briton to win the Tour De France. This coincides with Wiggins becoming the first, and currently the only person in history to win the Paris-Nice, the Tour de Romandie, the Critérium du Dauphiné and the Tour de France in a single season. He’s the only cyclist to win the Tour De France and an Olympic medal in the same year, and is currently the joint most decorated British Olympian with 4 gold’s, 1 silver and 2 bronze. He did all this while bringing back the Mod look made famous by British icons The Jam, The Who and The Rolling Stones. He is calm and modest despite his success.
2. Sir Chris Hoy MBE
Another cyclist, Sir Chris is joint holder with Wiggins for the title of most decorated British Olympian, but you will see Sir Chris at the top of our list of top athletes for his massive achievement of 6 gold medals. The master of the velodrome, has made cycling cool, and has inspired many kids to buy a bike and get riding. He shows no signs of slowing down. Inspiring the young to keep fit and live active lives is always a solid win in my books.
3. Laura Trott, Dani King, and Joanna Roswell
Our last stop in cycling is these three incredible girls. They won gold in the team pursuit at this summer’s Olympics (with Laura also gaining gold in the Omnium). Every gold Britain won was incredible, but it’s the stories that make them special. Laura Trott was born a month premature and also had asthma from a young age, she was told by doctors not to do over exert herself in sport
Dani King had her training brought to a dramatic halt after developing glandular fever in 2009 with fears for her career being over before it began. Joanna Roswell suffers from alopecia, a condition resulting in hair loss and she’s had to battle depression. As mentioned every medal and triumph was amazing to watch, but it’s the stories behind these medals that made them special.
4. Usain Bolt
He came, he saw and he smashed it. He is one of the top athletes of all time. Bolt came into the 2012 Olympics not at full fitness, and had a young Yohan Blake hot on his heels having already beaten him over the 100m and 200m previously. This cast doubt over whether he was up to the challenge, but as he strolled into the Olympic Stadium, a grin on his face, he got into his blocks and strolled into the 100m final.
We knew that Bolt was back, and win after win (and another WR in the 4x100m) he became the first athlete to ever to win 3 events in back to back Olympics, with Rio 2016 up and coming, could we see the Triple Triple? However, he is anything but modest and his bravado is loved only due to his success. Yet, he has taken Yohan under his wing with the aim to turn him into the very best. Investing in the future generation and not fearing it, is a lesson for mature professionals around the world.
5. David Beckham
David Beckham is probably still the most famous sportsman to walk the planet. When news broke that Becks had called time on his LA Galaxy career, the world erupted in speculation of where golden balls would end up.
Everything he touches turns into a media goldmine despite being 37 years old. Sure, he’s no longer at the very top of his game, but he can still win against the young boys. He often won LA Galaxy’s games for them while being loved by most in football and fashion. His ability to manage a healthy family and a huge career while still giving back to society makes him one of the top athletes a young professional can aspire to be like.
6. Oscar Pistorius
The South African double amputee became the first Paralympian to ever compete at an Olympic games. Having had his legs amputated at 11 months old he never let this stand in his way, competing in his first able-bodied competition in 2007 working his way up to qualify for the South African sprint team at this summer’s Olympics, competing in the 400m and 4x400m relay. Oscar has become a pioneer, bridging the gap between Olympians and Paralympians and should go down in history as where it all started. Never give up, it’s a motto he lives everyday.
7. Sebastian Vettel
I have been focusing a lot on this summer’s Olympics. So here I will look and the youngest ever triple world champion, Sebastian Vettel. Like him or not, you cannot doubt the man’s abilities. He can drive the wheels off of any car, having proved his worth when behind the wheel of the Toro Rosso. Sebastian holds numerous “youngest ever” records including: the youngest driver to have taken part in an official practice session of a Grand Prix, to score championship points, to lead a race, to secure pole position, and to win a race.
8. Roger Federer
Last and by certainly no means least, one of the greatest tennis player to have ever lived. World No. 1 for 237 consecutive weeks and the winner of 17 grand slam titles, Federer has been a dominant force in tennis for many years. His notable charity work and awe inspiring achievements on and off the court has had children picking up their rackets for years. He can very well regain his number spot again this coming year as he still manages to psyche out the younger, faster, and stronger Novak on the courts.
The only reason he lost his number number one ranking was due to him pulling out of a masters near the end of the year. He focuses on long term gain not short term vanity. He willingly went to second place to ensure he has enough rest for the 2013 season. This long term planning is just one lesson young professionals can learn from Federer.