Throughout history, sports have evolved and changed to include new disciplines and more advanced technology, however, these athletes' spirits have remained the same.
Whether they have achieved unprecedented results and broken records with their feats, or they've gone from underdog to world champion, some sports stars have gripped our attention from the starting gun.
Reflecting on the iconic sportsmen and women behind their equally iconic moments can inspire other and motivate them to pursue their ambitions. Across a range of industries, the anecdotes of athletes ring true, be it a tale of resilience in times of challenge, or a story of prevailing against the odds, sports speakers resonate with audiences of all demographics.
Top Moments That Made Sports History
Check out our list of the greatest moments in sporting history, and the athletes behind them.
A sportsman who embodies the spirit of the underdog, Eddie the Eagle didn’t make history for his winning results but rather his winning attitude. Determined to compete in the winter Olympics, after being unsuccessful in his downhill skiing event, Eddie pursued ski-jumping, a testament to his resilience. By the 1988 Calgary Olympics, Eddie was the only competitor of Team GB in the discipline, and despite coming last place in both 70 and 90 meters, he came first in the nation's heart.
As much a champion as his name states, Bob Champion achieved world-class results throughout his career as a jockey - but none more impressive than the 1981 Grand National. A feat in its own right, Bob’s win was even more heroic, having recently undergone gruelling cancer therapy, and still recovering at the time of the race. After being given just six months to live, Bob rode ahead of his competition for the entirety of the prestigious race and came out on top thanks to his mental strength.
Coined the ‘return of the Mack’, Tyson Fury’s 2018 comeback is one of the most-watched moments in boxing history. From winning the coveted World Heavyweight title in 2015 to a fall from grace having his highly publicised battle with mental health played out in the media, Tyson Fury had been knocked down by life. Awarded Comeback of the Year 2018, the Gypsy King shed 10 stones of weight, and battled his mental demons to face Deontay Wilder in a move that saw regain his profile in the sport. Although there was some debate over the fight’s results, one thing was certain, Tyson Fury was back in the game.
Winning a gold medal at the Olympic Games is the pinnacle of success for many athletes, however, for Michael Phelps it’s just another day in the pool. Deemed one of the best swimmers of all time, Michael’s prominence is undeniable, and his 2008 record breaking appearance further etched his name in the history books. Winning eight gold medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael overtook the previous record of the most amount of first places in a single Games, set in 1972. To date, he has amassed 23 Olympic Goals, making him unbeatable star in the water.
Injuries are part and parcel with professional sports, but experiencing a career ending injury during a race is something no athlete can prepare for, including Derek Redmond. Redefining the meaning of resilience at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Derek, who was running the 400-meter race, collapsed in crippling pain with his hamstring. Despite the other competitors having finished, with the support of his Father, Derek shuffled painstakingly to the finish line. To the viewers, who gave him a standing ovation, he was a true winner.
Picking just one moment from Serena Williams’ unprecedented career is no easy challenge, but her 2017 Open moment takes top spot. Competing against her sister in the Australian Open, Serena took home the title, making it her 23rd Grand Slam win, the most of any tennis player in the history of the sport. Not only did she prove her power against the males in the sport, but she achieved the monumental feat whilst two months pregnant – a true female boss.
Rightfully hailed as one of the best gymnasts of all time, Simone Biles proved she hadn’t come to play when she competed in the USA Gymnastics Championship 2019. Becoming the first female to land a triple double on floor, and the first gymnast full stop to land the double-double dismount from the beam, the 22-year-old redefined the possibilities in the sport. The world watches with bated breath to see what she will achieve next.
Credited with highlighting the Paralympic Games in mainstream media, Ellie Simmond’s unrivalled performance in the pool at the 2008 Beijing Olympics put her on the map as a fierce competitor. Aged only 13, Ellie represented Team GB in five events, taking gold in both the 100- and 400-meter freestyle as the youngest member of the squad. Having been born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, Ellie defied the odds stacked against her to prove to the world watching, that the only limits are the ones we set ourselves.
Book a Sporting Star
If you are inspired by this selection of history-making sports people, or interested in the rest of our extensive selection of sports speakers, get in touch with an agent today on 02071010553 or via the contact form to book. With some of the best stories of resistance, achievement and overcoming adversity, sports speakers are ideal for a range of events.