The Most Dominant Athletes of All-Time
This hub highlights some of the most dominant athletes in individualized sports. It does not claim to be exhaustive. If you know of an athlete from an individualized sport who should be included in this review, please feel free to nominate them.
American Olympic Swimmer Michael Phelps
Without a doubt, Michael Phelps has been the most dominant Olympic champion in his respective sport. As a swimmer the American Phelps won a record 14 gold medals, including 8 in Beijing in 2008. Moreover, Phelps is poised to add to that total in the upcoming 2012 Games in London. Born June 30, 1985, Phelps excelled in the world championships with 25 gold medals over the span of five world championship efforts.
NASCAR Champion Jimmy Johnson
This past weekend NASCAR race driver Jimmy Johnson won a record fourth consecutive NASCAR championship making him one of the most dominant athletes in his respective sport or event. This hub highlights some of the other athletes from individual events who dominated their sport. They are not presented in any particular order and the list is not meant to be exhaustive.
Steffi Graf, Tennis, 1987-1999
This well deserved nomination comes by way of Edward. During her career, Graf won 22 Slams, the most by any female or male in the sport, recording seven championships at Wimbledon, six at the French Open, five at the U.S. Open and four at the Australian. In 56 Grand Slam events, her record was 282–34 (an amazing 89 percent).
Ivan Mauger, Motorcycle Speedway
Born 1939, Ivan Mauger of Christchurch, New Zealand won 15 motorcycle speedway world championships. His career spanned from 1957-1985 during which he won six short-track world championships, three long-track world championships, two world pairs championships, and four world team championships.
Tennis Champion Roger Federer
Swiss tennis professional Roger Federer has won 61 singles titles including a record 15 Grand Slam events.
Jesse Owens - 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany
Despite severe prejudice by his German hosts, Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the 1936 Olympics.
American Hurdler Edwin Moses
Edwin Moses was an American 400 meter hurdler who won two Olympic Gold Medals in 1976 and 1984. From 1977 to 1987 Moses won 122 consecutive races including 107 consecutive finals.
American Track Star Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis won a total of 10 Olympic medals including 9 gold; and 10 World Championships, including 8 gold. His individual events included the 100 and 200 meter dash and the long jump.
NASCAR Champion Richard Petty
The NASCAR legend Richard Petty won seven Winston Cup championships and a record 200 races in all.
NASCAR Driver Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt won seven NASCAR championships to tie the King Richard Petty for the most championships ever.
Michael Schumacher, Formula One
Michael Schumacher promoted to Formula One racing in 1991 and raced until he retired in 2012. During his tenure, Schumacher dominated the Formula racing circuit from 1994 to 2004 winning 7 World Championships and 91 races in all.
Giacomo Agostini, World Champion Grand Prix Motorcycles
Born June 16, 1942, Giacomo Agostini was an Italian world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. Born in Brescia, Lombardy, Agostini remains the most prolific Grand Prix champion with a record 122 victories. His racing career spanned from 1964 to 1977 wherein he claimed seven 350cc and eight 500cc world championships.
Valentino Rossi, 7-time MotoGP Champion
Born February 16, 1979 in Urbino, Italy, Valentino Rossi dominated MotoGP racing in the first decade of the 21st Century. Riding his signature Number 46 Bike, Rossi seven MotoGP World Championships from 2001-2009. In all, Rossi is first all-time in the 500cc classification of MotoGP racing with 79 victories and second all-time over all classifications with 105 race wins.
Professional Golf Champion Jack Nicklaus
PGA Champion Jack Nicklaus, also known as the Golden Bear, won 18 Major golf championships (1st all-time) and 73 tournaments in all (2nd all-time to Byron Nelson).
Not yet even 35 years old, American professional golfer Tiger Woods is quickly gaining on the all-time greats. Dominant in the world of professional golf since 1996, Woods has won 71 total PGA tour events (3rd all-time); 38 total European events (3rd all-time); and 14 major championships.
American Swimmer Mark Spitz
In the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, American swimmer Mark Spitz won a record seven gold medals, not surpassed until 2008 by Michael Phelps in Beijing, China.
British Decathlete Daley Thompson
Daley Thompson from the United Kingdom won two Olympic Decathlons in 1980 and 1984.
American Sprinter Michael Johnson
American track star Michael Johnson won four Olympic Gold Medals in two different Olympic Games and is the only person in Olympic history to win two consecutive Oylmpic 400 meter events.
Eddy Merckx, Belgian Cyclist
Edouard Louis Joseph, Baron Merckx, better known as Eddy Merckx, was a Belgian former professional cyclist. Cycling magazines such as Vélo and VeloNews regarded him as the most cyclist of all time. He won the famed Tour de France 5 times and each of the most important races in the world at least twice. In all, he posted 19 monument victories. He also won the world championship once as an amateur and three times as a professional.
Czech Javelin Thrower Jan Zelezny
Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny won three consecutive gold medals in 1992, 1996, and 2000 Olympics.
Ukranian Pole Vaulter Sergey Bubka
Sergey Bubka was an Olympic class pole vaulter from the Ukraine. He competed in international pole vault competitions from 1981 to 2001 and broke the world record in the pole vault event 35 times. He won the Olympic Gold medal once, the World Outdoor Championship six times, and the World Indoor Championship four times.
Russian Greco-Roman Wrestler Aleksandr Karelin
Aleksandr Karelin was a Russian Greco-Roman wrestler who dominated his sporting event by going undefeated from 1987 to 2000. In all he won three Olympic gold medals, one Olympic silver medal, and nine World Championships.
Ole Einar Bjorndalen, Biathlon
Ole Binar Bjorndalen, Norway
This entry was nominated by Ellie. Dubbed "The King of Biathlon," Ole Binar Bjorndalen has dominated the winter event in which he specializes. During his career, Bjorndalen of Norway has won 13 Olympic medals (including eight gold); 6 overall world cup titles; and 96 world cup events. The biathlon combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.