Lionel Messi, Lewis Hamilton and LeBron James: Here are some top athletes to honour on World Athletics Day

May 7th is celebrated every year as World Athletics Day to honour and celebrate athletes, to promote athletics amongst the youth of today, and encourage fitness, health, and wellness to be a part of one's everyday lifestyle routine.

Being a star athlete in today’s world requires over 10,000 hours of deliberate practice, training and grit and a hunger to constantly stay on the top of your game, no matter what sport that might be, from professional sprinting, to swimming, soccer, race car driving, or even basketball, it is certainly no easy endeavour.

May 7th is celebrated every year as World Athletics Day to honour and celebrate this field, to promote athletics amongst the youth of today, and encourage fitness, health, and wellness to be a part of your lifestyle routine.

The term Athletics is derived from the Greek word ‘athlos meaning ‘contest’ or ‘task.’ It encompasses competitive sports and games requiring extreme physical skill, and goes back to the Ancient Olympic games, which featured various forms of athletics such as running, high jumping, boxing, and wrestling.

YS Weekender brings you 8 athletes around the world who are inspiring us by following their passion, and striving to go beyond being world number one.

Usain Bolt (Olympic Sprinter)

A global sensation and the greatest sprinter of all time, Jamaican born Usain Bolt needs no introduction. 

Although he has bid adieu to the Olympic games, he is fondly remembered for his achievements between August 16, 2008 and August 2016, for having won 20 Olympic and World championship gold medals in the 21 events that he participated in, which gave him the title of being the world's fastest sprinter.

Nicknamed ‘Lightning Bolt’ He has participated in all sprinting denominations such as 100m, 200m and 4x100m, and holds world records in all three distances. He is an 11-time World champion.

The Jamaican Lightning Bolt. (Image Credit: Krwg.Org)

Lionel Messi (Soccer Player)

One of the greatest soccer players of all time, Argentinian Lionel Messi, plays as a forward and captains the Spanish club Barcelona and the Argentina national team.

Rarely has the soccer world seen two greats in the same era as we have with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Argentinian champion Lionel Messi. (Image Credit: Skysports)

Nicknamed the Flea, Messi has won multiple championships with Barcelona and numerous Ballon d’Or trophies for being the best footballer of the year. However, the privilege of becoming a World Cup winner has eluded both him and his greatest rival, Ronaldo.

Canelo Alvarez (Boxer)

A professional boxer, Canelo Alvarez from Mexico is a four-division world champion.

He is an excellent counter puncher, and body puncher. As of May 2020, Canelo has been ranked as the world’s best active boxer by BoxRec, The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and by the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Canelo Alvarez was ranked world best active boxer this year. (Image Credit: The Hindu)

Roger Federer (Tennis Player)

Roger Federer is the GOAT of world tennis. The epitome of grace and humility off the court, he is an invincible opponent on the tennis court.

His smooth all court game has earned him the nickname Fed-Ex because he always delivers. His career long battle with his great competitors, Nadal and Djokovic, has produced some of the greatest contests in tennis history.

Swiss born Roger Federer is invincible on the tennis court. (Image Credit: Skysports)

With 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Federer remains a top-flight competitor even at the age of 38.

Lewis Hamilton (Auto Racing)

British race car driver Lewis Hamilton is an absolute force to be reckoned with. He races in Formula One F-1 for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One team.

Hamilton began his driving career when he was just eight years old. He won the British Kart Championship when he was 10.  As a teenager, Hamilton was signed to the McLaren and Mercedes-Benz Young Driver Support Programme, where he was given the support and backing he needed to train and develop his skills.

Lewis Hamilton had a need for speed since the time he was 10 years old. (Image Credit: Formula 1)

Today, a six-time world champion, 35-year-old Lewis Hamilton is considered one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport.

LeBron James (Basketball Player)

LeBron James was a high school prodigy who skipped college and was drafted as the No.1 pick in the NBA draft.

His amazing talent, physical skills and leadership qualities made him one of the all-time greats of the game with multiple MVP awards, several NBA championships and two Olympic golds.

Lakers star athlete LeBron James. (Image Credit: NBA)

Nicknamed King James, he returned to play for his home state team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, with a promise to win them their first ever NBA title. In an epic 2016 NBA season, he led the Cavaliers back from a 1-3 finals deficit to win the title and deliver the first professional sports title to the city of Cleveland in 52 years. 

Currently, playing for the LA Lakers, LeBron is not afraid to speak out on issues beyond basketball.  

Michael Phelps (Swimmer)

A former professional swimmer Michael Phelps is one of the most successful Olympians of all time.

Nicknamed by fans as ‘The Flying Fish’ and ‘Baltimore Bullet’ he holds the record for winning the most amount of Olympic gold medals of all time.

The undefeatable 'Baltimore Bullet' Michael Phelps (Image Credit:

Phelps's international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him ‘World Swimmer of the Year Award’ eight times and the ‘American Swimmer of the Year Award’ eleven times.

He started the Michael Phelps foundation that focuses on helping swimmers develop on their talents as well as aims to promote healthier lifestyles. He announced his retirement in 2016.

Simone Biles (Gymnast)

The top artistic gymnast in the world Simone Biles is one of the youngest Olympic champions.

She is a five-time world all round champion, five-time world floor exercise champion and three-time world balance beam champion.

Simone Biles is one of the worlds most talented gymnasts. (Image Credit: E Online)

23-year old Simone Bile’s co-wrote an autobiography with journalist Michelle Burford, titled, ‘Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance' in 2016, following the Rio Games.

Edited by Asha Chowdary


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