The Best Athletes of All Time

893k votes 34k voters 488k views 2,237 items tags f p @

List Criteria: Open to all amateur or professional athletes in any sport

The greatest athletes of all time: a list of the most dominant, iconic athletes to ever play sports. This list gathers sports stars from across every professional league, as well as amateur athletes who may have never competed professionally, in one overall list. Though it may be challenging to compare performance in a variety of different competitive arenas requiring different skill sets, this list nevertheless attempts to distinguish the top, highest-performing and most successful athletes ever to play. The sports stars that rise to the top can be considered to be the best athletes of all time.

Aspects to consider in picking a best athlete of all time would include, obviously, that player's raw talent and born ability. Some individuals seem to prodigally gifted in their sport of choice, and it's hard to discount the importance of this kind of natural talent. However, it's also important to evaluate hard work, discipline and a commitment to the game. Some athletes may not have the natural, genetic ability to dunk a basketball or hit a home run, but nonetheless have trained to the point of reaching these goals all the same. (They may not be the greatest athlete of all time at all sports, but they have mastered their activity.)

Finally, it can be a challenge to compare an athlete who competed in a solo competition with a member of a well known sports organization or club. How do you look at the achievements of, say, a boxer like Muhammad Ali alongside an athlete like Michael Jordan, who had to not only perform to his own best abilities but work as a cohesive unit along with other members of his team? These are the questions that must be answered when compiling a list of the world's greatest all-time athletes.

For more sports news and athlete trade rumors, vote on this list of sports news sites.
Collection Photo:  YouTube
  • 717 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    Brantford, Canada

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  2. 2
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    the people's #1
    New York City, New York, United States of America

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  3. 3
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    Três Corações, Brazil

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  4. 4
    + 1,770
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    Wiesbaden, Germany

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    added by LeeBob
    Roosevelt, New York, United States of America

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    - 1,640

    often listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Utrecht, Netherlands

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  7. 7
    + 1,682
    - 1,615

    ranked low on reranks & added by Skojare
    Joesjö, Sweden

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  8. 8
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    most listed & added by JonathanWeider
    Milan, Italy

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  9. 9
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    Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

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  10. 10
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    Mannheim, Germany

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    Sherwood Content, Jamaica

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  12. 12
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    New Eagle, Pennsylvania, United States of America

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    Travagliato, Italy

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    Lanús, Argentina

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    Potomac, Maryland, United States of America

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    Västervik, Sweden

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    Rockhampton, Australia

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    Elverum, Norway

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    Oakville, Alabama, United States of America

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    Munich, Germany

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    Tielt-Winge, Belgium

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    Grand Duchy of Finland, Russian Empire

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    Upper Arlington, Ohio, United States of America

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    Onești, Romania

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  25. 25
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    Split, Croatia, Croatia

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    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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    Zagreb, Croatia

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    Bro, Sweden, Sweden

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    Basel, Switzerland

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    Prague, Czech Republic

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    Ostrava, Czech Republic

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    Alessandria, Italy

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    Davenham, United Kingdom

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    West Baden Springs, French Lick Township, Indiana

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    Amsterdam, Netherlands

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    Novi Sad, Serbia

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    Krylbo, Sweden

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    Magé, Brazil

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    Novosibirsk, Russia

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  40. 40
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    Birmingham, Alabama, United States of America

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  41. 41
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    Oslo, Norway

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    Fresach, Austria

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    Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom

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    Hürth, Germany

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  45. 45
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    Lidija Skobilowa is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    added by JonathanWeider
    Lidija Skobilowa

  46. 46
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Drammen, Norway

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  47. 47
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    Astrid Benöhr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Athletes of All Time

    ranked low on reranks & added by numasan
    Astrid Benöhr Toughest woman in the world. Holds several world records in Triple Ultra Triathlon  (3 times the Ironman distance) and won that competition at every event from 1992 - 2006!

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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Monrovia, Liberia

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  49. 49
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    often listed & added by enros
    Luhansk, Ukraine

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  50. 50
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    added by JonathanWeider
    Sandhult, Sweden

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