Categories
Athletes Footballer

Frank Soo

Frank Soo was an English professional football player and manager of mixed Chinese and English parentage.

He was the first player of Chinese origin to play in the English Football League, and the first non-white player to represent England, though in unofficial wartime matches.

  • Full name: Frank Soo
  • Born: 8 March 1914, Buxton, Derbyshire, England
  • Died: 25 January 1991, Cheadle, Staffordshire, England
  • Profession: English football player
  • Position: Forward, Midfielder
Categories
Actors Athletes Footballer

Eric Cantona

Eric Cantona is a French actor, director, producer, and former professional footballer.

He played for Auxerre, Martigues, Marseille, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Nîmes, and Leeds United before ending his career at Manchester United, where he won four Premier League titles in five years and two League and FA Cup Doubles.

He won the league championship in seven of his last eight full seasons as a professional. At international level, he played for the French national team.

  • Full name: Eric Daniel Pierre Cantona
  • Profession: French actor, director, producer
  • Born: 24 May 1966 (age 53 years), Marseille, France
  • Height: 1.88 m
  • Position: Forward
  • Number: 7 (Manchester United F.C. / Forward), 11 (FC Girondins de Bordeaux / Forward), 11 (Montpellier HSC / Forward)
  • Spouse: Rachida Brakni (m. 2007), Isabelle Ferrer (m. 1987–2003)
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Allyson Felix

Allyson Felix is an American track and field sprinter who competes in the 100 meters, 200 meters, and 400 meters.

At 200 meters, she is the 2012 Olympic champion, a 3-time World champion, and 2-time Olympic silver medallist.

At 400 meters, she is the 2015 World champion, 2011 World silver medallist, 2016 Olympic silver medallist, and 2017 World bronze medallist.

Felix has won five additional Olympic gold medals as a member of the United States’ women’s relay teams: three at 4 × 400 meters (2008–16), and two at 4 x 100 meters (2012–16).

The 2012 U.S. Olympic 4 x 100 meters team also set the women’s 4×100 meters world-record that still stands.

Felix is the only female track and field athlete to ever win six Olympic gold medals, and is tied with Merlene Ottey as the most decorated female Olympian in track and field history, with a total of nine Olympic medals.

Felix is also the most decorated athlete in IAAF World Championships history with 18 career medals.

Felix’s 200 meters best of 21.69 secs from 2012 ranks her sixth on the all-time list. In 2013, she broke the world best for the rarely contested 150 meters distance, running 16.36 secs.

In the 4 × 400 metres relay at the 2015 World Championships, she ran the fastest split ever recorded by an American woman, and third fastest split ever after Jarmila Kratochvilova and Marita Koch, with 47.72.

She is a participant in the US Anti-Doping Agency’s “Project Believe” program. She is coached by Bobby Kersee.

  • Full name: Allyson Michelle Felix OLY
  • Profession: American track and field athlete
  • Born: 18 November 1985 (age 34 years), Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Height: 1.68 m
  • Weight: 55 kg
  • Olympic medals: Athletics at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Women’s 4 × 100 metres relay, MORE
  • Parents: Marlean Felix, Paul Felix
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete Politician & Activist

Sebastian Coe

Sebastian Coe is a British politician and former track and field athlete. As a middle-distance runner, Coe won four Olympic medals, including the 1500 metres gold medal at the Olympic Games in 1980 and 1984.

He set nine outdoor and three indoor world records in middle-distance track events – including, in 1979, setting three world records in the space of 41 days – and the world record he set in the 800 metres in 1981 remained unbroken until 1997.

Coe’s rivalries with fellow Britons Steve Ovett and Steve Cram dominated middle-distance racing for much of the 1980s.

Following Coe’s retirement from athletics, he was a member of parliament for the Conservative Party from 1992 to 1997 for Falmouth in Cornwall, and became a Life Peer on 16 May 2000.

He headed the successful London bid to host the 2012 Summer Olympics and became chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games.

In 2007, he was elected a vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and re-elected for another four-year term in 2011. In August 2015, he was elected president of the IAAF.

In 2012, Coe was appointed Pro-Chancellor at Loughborough University where he had been an undergraduate, and is also a member of the University’s governing body.

He was of one of 24 athletes inducted as inaugural members of the IAAF Hall of Fame. In November 2012, he was appointed chairman of the British Olympic Association. Coe was presented with the Lifetime Achievement award at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year in December 2012.

  • Full name: Sebastian Newbold Coe, Baron Coe, CH, KBE, Hon FRIBA, often referred to as Seb Coe or Lord Coe
  • Profession: Member of Parliament and Former track and field athlete
  • Born: 29 September 1956 (age 63 years), Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital, London
  • Height: 1.75 m
  • Children: Alice India Violet Coe, Peter Henry Christopher Coe, Madeleine Rose Coe, Harry Sebastian Newbold Coe
  • Spouse: Carole Annett (m. 2011), Nicky McIrvine (m. 1990–2002)
  • Gold medals: Athletics at the 1984 Summer Olympics – Men’s 1500 metres
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Carl Lewis

Carl Lewis is an American former track and field athlete who won nine Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and 10 World Championships medals, including eight gold.

His career spanned from 1979 to 1996, when he last won an Olympic event.

He is one of only three Olympic athletes who won a gold medal in the same individual event in four consecutive Olympic Games.

  • Full name: Frederick Carlton “Carl” Lewis
  • Profession: American track and field athlete
  • Born: 1 July 1961 (age 58 years), Birmingham, Alabama, United States
  • Height: 1.88 m
  • Spouse: Maria Lewis
  • Albums: Bearing the Sax – EP
  • Gold medals: Athletics at the 1996 Summer Olympics – Men’s long jump
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand.

She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand.

During the late 1980s she became a popular figure in international track and field because of her record-setting performances and flashy personal style.

While attending California State University, Northridge (CSUN) and University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she continued to compete in track and field.

While still in college, Griffith-Joyner qualified for the 100 m 1980 Olympics, although she did not actually compete due to the U.S. boycott.

She made her Olympic debut four years later, winning a silver medal in the 200 meter distance at the 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles.

At the 1988 U.S. Olympic trials, Griffith set a new world record in the 100 meter sprint. She went on to win three gold medals at the 1988 Olympics.

In February 1989, she abruptly retired. After her retirement from athletics, Griffith-Joyner remained a pop culture figure through endorsement deals, acting, and designing.

She died in her sleep as the result of an epileptic seizure in 1998 at the age of 38.

  • Full name: Florence Griffith Joyner
  • Profession: American track and field athlete
  • Born: 21 December 1959, Los Angeles, California, United States
  • Died: 21 September 1998, Mission Viejo, California, United States
  • Height: 1.7 m
  • Spouse: Al Joyner (m. 1987–1998)
  • Nicknames: The Fastest Woman in the World, Dee-Dee, Flo-Jo
  • Education: Jordan High School, California State University, Northridge, University of California, Los Angeles
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe is a British long-distance runner. She is a three-time winner of the London Marathon, three-time New York Marathon champion, and 2002 Chicago Marathon winner.

She was previously the fastest female marathoner of all time, and held the Women’s World Marathon Record with a time of 2:15:25 for 16 years from 2003 to 2019 when it was broken by Brigid Kosgei.

Radcliffe is a former world champion in the marathon, half marathon and cross country. She has also been European champion over 10,000 metres and in cross country.

On the track, Radcliffe won the 10,000 metres silver medal at the 1999 World Championships and was the 2002 Commonwealth champion at 5000 metres.

She represented Great Britain at the Olympics in four consecutive games (1996 to 2008), although she never won an Olympic medal.

Her running has earned her a number of accolades including the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Laureus World Comeback of the Year, IAAF World Athlete of the Year, AIMS World Athlete of the Year (three times) and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

She has also been nominated for World Sportswoman of the year on several occasions. In 2010, she was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

She ended her competitive running career at the 2015 London Marathon.

  • Full name: Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE
  • Profession: British Olympic Track and field athlete
  • Born: 17 December 1973 (age 46 years), Davenham
  • Height: 1.73 m
  • Spouse: Gary Lough (m. 2001)
  • Children: Raphael Lough, Isla Lough
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Mo Farah

Mo Farah is a British distance runner. The most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history, he is the 2012 and 2016 Olympic gold medallist in both the 5000 m and 10,000 m.

Farah is the second athlete in modern Olympic Games history, after Lasse Virén, to win both the 5000 m and 10,000 m titles at successive Olympic Games.

He also completed the ‘distance double’ at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics.

He was the second man in history, after Kenenisa Bekele, to win long-distance doubles at successive Olympics and World Championships, and the first in history to defend both distance titles in both major global competitions – a feat described as the ‘quadruple-double’.

Since finishing 2nd in the 10,000 metres at the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Farah had an unbroken streak of ten global final wins (the 5000m in 2011, the 10,000m in 2017 and the double in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016).

The streak ended in Farah’s final championship track race, when he finished second to Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris in the 2017 5000 metres final.

In his final track race, the 2017 Diamond League Final in Zurich in August 2017, Farah gained his revenge, edging out world champion Edris to win his only IAAF Diamond League title at 5000 metres.

On the track, he mostly competed over 5000 metres and 10,000 metres, but has run competitively from 1500 metres to the marathon.

In 2017 he indicated his intention to switch wholly to road racing following victory at his final track race, the 2017 IAAF Diamond League 5000 metres final.

His running style has been described as “bouncy” and tactical, which he has attempted to alter for a more efficient and energy-saving stride pattern, especially in the longer distances.

Farah runs distance races tactically, a style which is aided by his quick sprint finish.

  • Full name: Sir Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah, CBE OLY
  • Profession: British Olympic athlete
  • Born: 23 March 1983 (age 37 years), Mogadishu, Somalia
  • Height: 1.75 m
  • Weight: 58 kg
  • Spouse: Tania Nell (m. 2010)
  • University team: St Mary’s University College Twickenham London
  • Olympic medals: Athletics at the 2016 Summer Olympics – Men’s 5000 metres
Categories
Athletes Basketball Player

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American former professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

During his career as a centre, Abdul-Jabbar was a record six-time NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP), a record 19-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time All-NBA selection, and an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team member.

A member of six NBA championship teams as a player and two more as an assistant coach, Abdul-Jabbar twice was voted NBA Finals MVP.

In 1996, he was honoured as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. NBA coach Pat Riley and players Isiah Thomas and Julius Erving have called him the greatest basketball player of all time.

  • Full name: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Profession: American basketball player
  • Born: 16 April 1947 (age 73 years), New York, New York, United States
  • Height: 2.18 m
  • Full name: Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr
  • Spouse: Habiba Abdul-Jabbar (m. 1971–1978)
  • Children: Sultana Abdul-Jabbar, Adam Abdul-Jabbar, Amir Abdul-Jabbar, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jr., Habiba Abdul-Jabbar
Categories
Olympic athlete

Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt is a Jamaican former sprinter. He is a world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay.

Owing to his achievements and dominance in sprint competition, he is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time.

An eight-time Olympic gold medallist, Bolt is the only sprinter to win Olympic 100 m and 200 m titles at three consecutive Olympics (2008, 2012 and 2016).

In addition he won two 4 × 100 relay gold medals. He gained worldwide fame for his double sprint victory in world record times at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which made him the first person to hold both records since fully automatic time became mandatory.

  • Full name: Usain St Leo Bolt, OJ, CD
  • Profession: Olympic athlete
  • Born: 21 August 1986 (age 33 years), Sherwood Content, Jamaica
  • Height: 1.95 m
  • Full name: Usain St Leo Bolt
  • Weight: 94 kg
  • Current team: Jamaica
Categories
Athletes Baseball player

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth was an American professional baseball player whose career in Major League Baseball spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 through 1935.

Nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat”, he began his MLB career as a star left-handed pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, but achieved his greatest fame as a slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees.

Ruth established many MLB batting (and some pitching) records, including career home runs (714), runs batted in (RBIs) (2,213), bases on balls (2,062), slugging percentage (.690), and on-base plus slugging (OPS) (1.164); the last two still stand as of 2019.

Ruth is regarded as one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture and is considered by many to be the greatest baseball player of all time.

In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

  • Full name: George Herman “Babe” Ruth Jr.
  • Profession: American baseball player
  • Born: 6 February 1895, Pigtown, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • Died: 16 August 1948, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • Nicknames: The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, The Big Bam
  • Number: 3 (New York Yankees / Outfielder), 3 (Boston Red Sox / Pitcher), 3 (Atlanta Braves / Outfielder)
Categories
Athletes Ice hockey player

Wayne Gretzky

Wayne Gretzky is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player and former head coach. He played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League for four teams from 1979 to 1999.

Nicknamed “The Great One”, he has been called “the greatest hockey player ever” by many sportswriters, players, and the NHL itself.

Gretzky is the leading scorer in NHL history, with more goals and assists than any other player. He garnered more assists than any other player scored total points, and is the only NHL player to total over 200 points in one season – a feat he accomplished four times.

In addition, Gretzky tallied over 100 points in 16 professional seasons, 14 of them consecutive. At the time of his retirement in 1999, he held 61 NHL records: 40 regular season records, 15 playoff records, and 6 All-Star records.

  • Full name: Wayne Douglas Gretzky CC
  • Profession: Ice hockey player
  • Born: 26 January 1961 (age 59 years), Brantford, Canada
  • Playing career: 1978–1999
  • Spouse: Janet Jones (m. 1988)
  • National team: Canada
  • Number: 99 (Edmonton Oilers / Centerman)
Categories
Athletes Olympic athlete

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is an American former competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 28 medals.

Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals, Olympic gold medals in individual events, and Olympic medals in individual events.

When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz’s 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.

At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Phelps had already tied the record of eight medals of any color at a single Games by winning six gold and two bronze medals.

At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won five gold medals and one silver. This made him the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row.

  • Full name: Michael Fred Phelps II
  • Profession: American swimmer
  • Born: 30 June 1985 (age 34 years), Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • Height: 1.93 m
  • Shoe size: 14
  • Spouse: Nicole Johnson (m. 2016)
  • Olympic medals: Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Men’s 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay
Categories
American Football Player Athletes

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player, sports analyst and actor. He was a fullback for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League from 1957 through 1965.

Considered to be one of the greatest football players of all time, Brown was a Pro Bowl invitee every season he was in the league, was recognized as the AP NFL Most Valuable Player three times, and won an NFL championship with the Browns in 1964.

He led the league in rushing yards in eight out of his nine seasons, and by the time he retired, he had shattered most major rushing records. In 2002, he was named by The Sporting News as the greatest professional football player ever.

Brown earned unanimous All-America honours playing college football at Syracuse University, where he was an all-around player for the Syracuse Orangemen football team.

He also excelled in basketball, track and field, and lacrosse. The football team later retired his number 44 jersey. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995.

  • Full name: James Nathaniel Brown
  • Profession: American football player
  • Born: 17 February 1936 (age 84 years), St. Simons, Georgia, United States
  • Height: 1.88 m
  • Spouse: Monique Brown (m. 1997), Sue Brown (m. 1959–1972)
  • Education: Syracuse University (1953–1957), Manhasset Secondary School
  • Children: Jim N. Brown Jr., Karen Brown Ward, Aris Brown, Kim Brown, Kevin Brown
Categories
Athletes Chess

Emanuel Lasker

Emanuel Lasker was a German chess player, mathematician, and philosopher who was World Chess Champion for 27 years, from 1894 to 1921, the longest reign of any officially recognised World Chess Champion in history.

In his prime, Lasker was one of the most dominant champions, and he is still generally regarded as one of the strongest players ever.

His contemporaries used to say that Lasker used a “psychological” approach to the game, and even that he sometimes deliberately played inferior moves to confuse opponents.

Recent analysis, however, indicates that he was ahead of his time and used a more flexible approach than his contemporaries, which mystified many of them. Lasker knew contemporary analyses of openings well but disagreed with many of them.

He published chess magazines and five chess books, but later players and commentators found it difficult to draw lessons from his methods.

Lasker made contributions to the development of other games. He was a first-class contract bridge player and wrote about bridge, Go, and his own invention, Lasca.

His books about games presented a problem that is still considered notable in the mathematical analysis of card games.

Lasker was a research mathematician who was known for his contributions to commutative algebra, which included proving the primary decomposition of the ideals of polynomial rings.

His philosophical works and a drama that he co-wrote, however, received little attention.

  • Full name: Emanuel Lasker
  • Profession: German chess player
  • Born: 24 December 1868, Barlinek, Poland
  • Died: 11 January 1941, New York, New York, United States
  • World Champion: 1894–1921
  • Spouse: Martha Cohn (m. 1911–1941)
  • Education: University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Categories
Athletes Chess

Paul Morphy

Paul Charles Morphy was an American chess player. He is considered to have been the greatest chess master of his era and an unofficial World Chess Champion.

A chess prodigy, he was called “The Pride and Sorrow of Chess” because he had a brilliant chess career but retired from the game while still young.

Bobby Fischer ranked him among the ten greatest players of all time, and described him as “perhaps the most accurate player who ever lived”.

Morphy was born in New Orleans to a wealthy and distinguished family. He learned to play chess by simply watching games between his father and uncle.

His family soon recognized the boy’s talent and encouraged him to play at family gatherings, and by the age of nine he was considered to be one of the best players in the city.

At just twelve years of age, Morphy defeated visiting Hungarian master Johann Löwenthal in a match of three games.

After receiving his degree in 1857, Morphy was not yet of legal age to practice law and found himself with free time.

At his uncle’s urging, he accepted an invitation to play at the First American Chess Congress in New York City.

After winning the tournament, which included strong players such as Alexander Meek and Louis Paulsen, Morphy was hailed as the chess champion of the United States and stayed in New York playing chess through 1857, winning the vast majority of his games.

In 1858, Morphy traveled to Europe to play European Champion Howard Staunton. Morphy played almost every strong player in Europe, usually winning easily.

The match with Staunton never materialized, but Morphy was acclaimed by most in Europe as the world’s best player.

Returning to the United States in triumph, Morphy toured the major cities playing chess on his way back to New Orleans.

By 1859, on returning to New Orleans, Morphy declared he was retiring from chess to begin his law career.

However, Morphy was never able to establish a successful law practice and ultimately lived a life of idleness, living off his family’s fortune.

Despite appeals from his chess admirers, Morphy never returned to the game, and died in 1884 from a stroke at the age of 47.

  • Full name: Paul Charles Morphy
  • Profession: American chess player
  • Born: 22 June 1837, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • Died: 10 July 1884, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
  • World Champion: 1858–1862 (unofficial)
  • Education: Tulane University, Spring Hill College
  • Parents: Alonzo Morphy, Louise Le Carpentier
Categories
Athletes Chess

Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan is a Chinese chess grandmaster and four-time Women’s World Chess Champion.

A chess prodigy, she is the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster and the youngest ever to win the Women’s World Chess Championship.

At the age of 12, Hou became the youngest player ever to participate in the Women’s World Championship (Yekaterinburg 2006) and the Chess Olympiad (Torino 2006).

In June 2007, she became youngest Chinese Women’s Champion ever. She achieved the titles of Woman FIDE Master in January 2004, Woman Grandmaster in January 2007, and Grandmaster in August 2008.

In 2010, she won the 2010 Women’s World Championship in Hatay, Turkey at age 16. She won the next three championships in which the title was decided by a match (in 2011, 2013 and 2016, with a total of ten wins to zero losses and 14 draws against three different opponents), but was either eliminated early or declined to participate in the championships in which the title was decided by a knockout tournament (in 2012, 2015 and 2017).

Hou is the third woman ever to be rated among the world’s top 100 players, after Maia Chiburdanidze and Judit Polgár. She is widely regarded as the best active female chess player, “leaps and bounds” ahead of her competitors.

As of May 2019, she is the No. 1 ranked woman in the world, 72 points ahead of the No. 2 ranked Ju Wenjun. She was named in the BBC’s 100 Women programme in 2017.

  • Full name: Hou Yifan
  • Profession: Chinese chess grandmaster
  • Born: 27 February 1994 (age 26 years), Xinghua, Jiangsu, Taizhou, China
  • Title: Grandmaster (2008)
  • Women’s World Champion: 2010–2012; 2013–2015; 2016–2017
  • Peak rating: 2686 (March 2015)
  • Education: Peking University, High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China
  • Parents: Hou Xuejian, Wang Qian
Categories
Athletes Chess

Magnus Carlsen

Magnus Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster who is the current World Chess Champion, World Rapid Chess Champion and World Blitz Chess Champion.

Carlsen first reached the top of the FIDE world rankings in 2010, and trails only Garry Kasparov in time spent as the highest rated player in the world.

His peak classical rating of 2882 is the highest in history.

A chess prodigy, Carlsen tied for first place in the World U12 Chess Championship in 2002. Shortly after turning 13, he finished first in the C group of the Corus chess tournament, and earned the grandmaster title a few months later.

At age 15, he won the Norwegian Chess Championship, and at 17, he finished joint first in the top group of Corus.

He surpassed a rating of 2800 at age 18 and reached number one in the FIDE world rankings aged 19, becoming the youngest person ever to achieve those feats.

Carlsen became World Chess Champion in 2013 by defeating Viswanathan Anand. In the following year, he retained his title against Anand, and won both the 2014 World Rapid Championship and World Blitz Championship, thus becoming the first player to hold all three titles simultaneously; a feat he repeated in 2019.

He defended his classical world title against Sergey Karjakin in 2016, and against Fabiano Caruana in 2018.

Known for his attacking style as a teenager, Carlsen has since developed into a universal player. He uses a variety of openings to make it more difficult for opponents to prepare against him and reduce the effect of computer analysis.

He has stated the middlegame is his favourite part of the game as it “comes down to pure chess”. His positional mastery and endgame prowess have drawn comparisons to those of former World Champions Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Vasily Smyslov, and José Raúl Capablanca.

  • Full name: Sven Magnus Øen Carlsen
  • Profession: Norwegian chess Grandmaster
  • Born: 30 November 1990 (age 29 years), Tønsberg Municipality, Norway
  • Height: 1.78 m
  • Nationality: Norwegian
  • FIDE rating: 2863 (April 2020)
  • Ranking: No. 1 (January 2020)
  • World Champion: 2013–present
Categories
Athletes Chess

Mikhail Tal

Mikhail Tal was a Soviet Latvian chess player and the eighth World Chess Champion. Widely regarded as a creative genius and one of the best attacking players of all time.

Tal played in a daring, combinatorial style. His play was known above all for improvisation and unpredictability.

It has been said that “Every game for him was as inimitable and invaluable as a poem”. He was often called “Misha”, a diminutive for Mikhail, and “The magician from Riga”.

Both The Mammoth Book of the World’s Greatest Chess Games and Modern Chess Brilliancies include more games by Tal than any other player.

In addition, Tal was a highly regarded chess writer. He also previously held the record for the longest unbeaten streak in competitive chess history with 95 games (46 wins, 49 draws) between 23 October 1973 and 16 October 1974, until Ding Liren’s streak of 100 games (29 wins, 71 draws) between 9 August 2017 and 11 November 2018.

The Mikhail Tal Memorial has been held in Moscow annually since 2006 to honour Tal’s memory.

  • Full name: Mikhail Tal
  • Profession: Latvian chess player
  • Born: 9 November 1936, Riga, Latvia
  • Died: 28 June 1992, Moscow, Russia
  • Nationality: Latvian
  • Spouse: Salli Landau (m. 1959–1970)
  • World Champion: 1960–61
Categories
Athletes Chess

Vladimir Kramnik

Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik is a Russian chess grandmaster. He was the Classical World Chess Champion from 2000 to 2006, and the undisputed World Chess Champion from 2006 to 2007.

He has won three team gold medals and three individual medals at Chess Olympiads.

In 2000, Kramnik defeated Garry Kasparov and became the Classical World Chess Champion.

He defended his title in 2004 against Péter Lékó, and defeated the reigning FIDE World Champion Veselin Topalov in a unification match in 2006.

As a result, Kramnik became the first undisputed World Champion, holding both the FIDE and Classical titles, since Kasparov split from FIDE in 1993.

In 2007, Kramnik lost the title to Viswanathan Anand, who won the World Chess Championship 2007 tournament ahead of Kramnik.

He challenged Anand at the World Chess Championship 2008 to regain his title, but lost. Nonetheless, he remained a top player; he reached a peak rating of 2817 in October 2016, which makes him the joint-eighth highest-rated player of all time.

Kramnik publicly announced his retirement as a professional chess player in January 2019. He stated he intends to focus on projects relating to chess for children and education.

  • Full name: Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik
  • Profession: Russian chess Grandmaster
  • Born: 25 June 1975 (age 44 years), Tuapse, Russia
  • Height: 1.95 m
  • Spouse: Marie-Laure (m. 2006)
  • World Champion: 2000–06 (Classical); 2006–07 (undisputed)
  • Books: My Path to the Top: World Championship Chess
Categories
Athletes Chess

Alexander Alekhine

Alexander Alekhine was a Russian and French chess player and the fourth World Chess Champion. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest chess players of all time.

By the age of 22, Alekhine was already among the strongest chess players in the world.

During the 1920s, he won most of the tournaments in which he played. In 1921, Alekhine left Soviet Russia and emigrated to France, which he represented after 1925.

In 1927, he became the fourth World Chess Champion by defeating José Raúl Capablanca.

In the early 1930s, Alekhine dominated tournament play and won two top-class tournaments by large margins.

He also played first board for France in five Chess Olympiads, winning individual prizes in each (four medals and a brilliancy prize).

Alekhine offered Capablanca a rematch on the same demanding terms that Capablanca had set for him, and negotiations dragged on for years without making much progress.

Meanwhile, Alekhine defended his title with ease against Efim Bogoljubov in 1929 and 1934. He was defeated by Max Euwe in 1935, but regained his crown in the 1937 rematch.

His tournament record, however, remained uneven, and rising young stars like Paul Keres, Reuben Fine, and Mikhail Botvinnik threatened his title.

Negotiations for a title match with Keres or Botvinnik were halted by the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939.

Negotiations with Botvinnik for a world title match were proceeding in 1946 when Alekhine died in Portugal, in unclear circumstances. Alekhine is the only World Chess Champion to have died while holding the title.

Alekhine is known for his fierce and imaginative attacking style, combined with great positional and endgame skill.

He is highly regarded as a chess writer and theoretician, having produced innovations in a wide range of chess openings and having given his name to Alekhine’s Defence and several other opening variations. He also composed some endgame studies.

  • Full name: Alexander Alekhine
  • Profession: Chess player
  • Born: 31 October 1892, Moscow, Russia
  • Died: 24 March 1946, Estoril, Portugal
  • World Champion: 1927–1935; 1937–1946
  • Spouse: Grace Alekhine (m. 1934–1946), Anneliese Rüegg (m. 1921–1921), Alexandra Batayeva (m. 1920–1921)
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Athletes Cricketer

AB de Villiers

AB de Villiers is a South African cricketer. In limited overs cricket he is an attacking batsman.

He was named as the ICC ODI Player of the Year three times during his 15-year international career. His name was also featured in Wisden Cricketers of the Decade at the end of 2019.

De Villiers began his international career as a wicket-keeper-batsman, but he has played most often solely as a batsman.

He batted at various positions in the batting order, but predominantly in the middle-order. Noted as one of the most innovative and destructive batsmen in the modern era, De Villiers is known for a range of unorthodox shots, particularly behind the wicket-keeper.

He made his international debut in a Test match against England in 2004 and first played a One Day International (ODI) in early 2005.

His debut in Twenty20 International cricket came in 2006. He scored over 8,000 runs in both Test and ODI cricket and is one of the very few batsmen to have a batting average of over fifty in both forms of the game.

He holds the record for the fastest ODI century in just 31 balls. He also records the fastest ODI 50 and 150.

De Villiers captained South Africa in all three formats, although after a series of injuries he stepped down from the Test captaincy.

In 2017 he stepped down from captaining the national limited-overs teams and in May 2018 announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket.

However, in January 2020 De Villiers expressed his intention to make an international comeback and play for South Africa in the 2020 T20 World Cup.

  • Full name: Abraham Benjamin de Villiers
  • Profession: South African cricketer
  • Born: 17 February 1984 (age 36 years), Bela-Bela, South Africa
  • Height: 1.78 m
  • Full name: Abraham Benjamin de Villiers
  • Spouse: Danielle de Villiers (m. 2013)
  • Children: Abraham de Villiers
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Athletes Cricketer

Garfield Sobers

Garfield Sobers is a former cricketer who played for the West Indies between 1954 and 1974.

A highly skilled bowler, an aggressive batsman and an excellent fielder, he is widely considered to be cricket’s greatest ever all-rounder.

Sobers made his first-class debut for the Barbados cricket team at the age of 16 in 1953, and his Test debut for the West Indies the following year.

Originally playing mainly as a bowler, he was soon promoted up the batting order. Against Pakistan in 1958, Sobers scored his maiden Test century, progressing to 365 not out and establishing a new record for the highest individual score in an innings.

His record was not broken until Brian Lara scored 375 in 1994. Sobers was made captain of the West Indies in 1965, a role which he would hold until 1972. He would also captain a Rest of the World XI during their 1970 tour of England.

Overall, Sobers played 93 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 8032 runs at an average of 57.78, and taking 235 wickets at an average of 34.03.

He has the fifth highest batting average in Test cricket in the list of cricketers with more than 5,000 runs.

In his 383 first-class matches, he scored over 28,000 runs and took over 1000 wickets, having spent time with South Australia and Nottinghamshire towards the end of his career.

Sobers was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1975 for his services to cricket. He became a dual Barbadian-Australian citizen through marriage in 1980.

By an act of Parliament in 1998, Sobers was named as one of the ten National Heroes of Barbados.

In 2009, Sobers was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

  • Full name: Sir Garfield St Aubrun Sobers, AO, OCC,
  • Profession: Former Barbados cricketer
  • Born: 28 July 1936 (age 83 years), Bridgetown, Barbados
  • Test debut (cap 84): 30 March 1954 v England
  • Only ODI (cap 11): 5 September 1973 v England
  • Bowling: Left-arm fast medium; Slow left-arm orthodox; Left-arm unorthodox spin
  • Spouse: Pru Kirby (m. 1969–1990)
  • Awards: BBC Sports Personality World Sport Star of the Year
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Athletes Cricketer

Viv Richards

Viv Richards is an Antiguan retired cricketer, who represented the West Indies at Test and international levels. He is regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.

In December 2002, he was chosen by Wisden as the greatest ODI batsman of all time, as well as the third greatest Test batsman of all time, after Sir Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar.

Richards was voted one of the five Cricketers of the Century by a 100-member panel of experts in 2000, along with Sir Donald Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers, Sir Jack Hobbs and Shane Warne.

He is also the mentor of T20 team Quetta Gladiators in Pakistan Super League.

In one-day cricket, Richards was judged by Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack to have played the best One Day International (ODI) innings of all time.

His consistent batting ability resulted in him becoming the first cricketer in ODI history to achieve 20 Man of the Match awards.

Overall, Richards scored 8,540 runs in 121 Test matches at an average of 50.23, including 24 centuries. As a captain, he won 27 of 50 Test matches and lost only 8.

He also scored nearly 7,000 runs in One Day Internationals and more than 36,000 in first-class cricket. Knighted for his contributions to cricket, today Richards is an occasional cricket commentator and team mentor.

In 2009, Richards was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

  • Full name: Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, KNH, OBE
  • Profession: Former Antiguan cricketer
  • Born: 7 March 1952 (age 68 years), Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
  • Height: 1.78 m
  • Spouse: Miriam Richards
  • Children: Masaba Gupta, Mali Richards, Matara Richards
  • Nicknames: Viv, Master Blaster
  • Movies: Fire In Babylon
Categories
Athletes Cricketer

Rohit Sharma

Rohit Sharma is an Indian international cricketer who plays for Mumbai in domestic cricket and captains Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League as a right-handed batsman and an occasional right-arm off break bowler.

 He is the vice-captain of the Indian national team in limited-overs formats.

He is the only cricketer in the history of cricket to score more than one ODI double-hundred, having scored three of them.

In January 2020, Sharma was named as the ODI Cricketer of the Year by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Outside cricket, Sharma is an active supporter of animal welfare campaigns. He is the official Rhino Ambassador for WWF-India and is a member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

He has worked with PETA in its campaign to raise awareness of the plight of homeless cats and dogs in India.

  • Full name: Rohit Gurunath Sharma
  • Profession: Indian cricketer
  • Born: 30 April 1987 (age 32 years), Nagpur, India
  • ODI debut (cap 168): 23 June 2007 v Ireland
  • Test debut (cap 280): 6 November 2013 v West Indies
  • Last ODI: 19 January 2020 v Australia
  • T20I debut (cap 17): 19 September 2007 v England
  • Spouse: Ritika Sajdeh (m. 2015)