Who are the top 10 Greatest Athletes of All Time?

Creating a list of the top 10 greatest athletes in the world

When it comes to debating who are the greatest athletes of all time, there are a lot of different ways that you can view the word “great.” Does it mean the most skilled? Most dominant? Most athletic? Most naturally gifted? Most influential? Well, today I am going to attempt to squeeze all of those elements into one list. In order to make a fair and equal representation I am only going to choose one athlete from each major sport. In addition to this, I will not be ranking these athletes in any sort of order – it is simply a list of the ten best male athletes in my opinion. 

1. Usain Bolt – Starting off strong we have Usain Bolt arguably the fastest human of all time. I do not think many people can argue that Bolt does not deserve to be on this list after he clocked an unbelievable speed of 43.99 km/hr (27.33 mph) in 2011. This speed is the fastest recorded speed of any human. Bolt is the combination of fantastic genetics and hard work, pairing to create the most well-known runner in the world.

2. Cristiano Ronaldo – This might be a little controversial but I am placing Ronaldo over Messi in my list. Don’t get me wrong, Messi is the greatest soccer player of all time (most talented), but Ronaldo is not far off him. Additionally, Ronaldo is a far better athlete standing at 6’ 2” with a top speed of 35 km/hr (21.75 mph) and the ability to jump 2.93 m in the air – the equivalent of jumping high enough to bump your head against a 10 ft tall basketball rim. Ronaldo is the definition of elite mentality, with a huge desire to succeed and the willpower to put in the hard work in order to achieve this success. Ronaldo is also the current leading goal scorer of all time with 832 goals and counting. I definitely believe that he deserves to be on this list.

3. Michael Jordan – Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes in terms of natural athleticism. 6 feet and 6 inches tall with unbelievable jumping ability and speed, creates a near-perfect basketball build. But Jordan also had the basketball ability to match his athleticism. During the period that he played, Jordan was an unstoppable force, who feared no one and had unwavering confidence. Jordan could do it all: dominate a game with his scoring, hit a clutch-winning shot, and defend incredibly well with his athleticism. With 6 NBA championships, undoubtedly, he is one of the if not the most well-known and dominant basketball players.

4. Michael Phelps – As the most decorated Olympian of all time with a staggering 23 gold medals Michael Phelps has to be on this list. By comparison, the athlete with the second most gold medals only has 9. A dominant swimmer with a near-perfect swimming build and multiple world records, he is the greatest swimmer of all time. At 15 years old he broke his first world record in the 200 m butterfly at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. I would also argue that he is the most dominant athlete of all time, who at the peak of his ability hardly ever lost a race. 

5. Rafael Nadal – This is another very tough decision. Three players come to mind when I think of the greatest tennis players of all time: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. But in my opinion, Nadal is the best out of all of them. He is currently tied with Djokovic for most majors at 22, (Federer has 20) but I am slightly biased here because I do not really like Djokovic as a player and person. I enjoy Nadal’s playstyle far more than Djokovic and I believe that at the peak of both of their abilities, Nadal would beat Djokovic. This might seem a bit contradictory, but I actually think that Federer as a tennis player is more naturally talented than both of them. However, Federer has not had the same longevity as Djokovic or Nadal. 








6. Muhammad Ali – When people think of the best boxer of all time most people will say Muhammad Ali and for good reason. Everyone has seen the videos of Ali dancing around his opponents and dodging a volley of punches with graceful ease. One of the most naturally talented boxers, and when he fought it was a deadly combination of fluidity and immense power. With a record of 56-5 and 37 KOs, Ali was a fearsome opponent in the ring and in my opinion the best boxer of all time. 

7. Tony Hawk – Tony Hawk is the most well-known skater, and even people who know nothing about skating recognize the name, Tony Hawk. As far as skating ability, Hawk won 73 titles and was named the top skater every year from 1984 to 1996.  

8. Tom Brady – Despite not exactly being the greatest athlete, Tom Brady has an “it” factor like no other. Some of the miracles that Brady has been able to whip up across his career seem almost divine or magical. His sheer ability to win is a quality that not many athletes possess like Brady. With seven Super Bowl wins he is the winningest football player of all time. 

9. Tiger Woods – The youngest ever Masters winner at age 21, Tiger Woods is the best golfer in my opinion. Woods currently has 15 majors and potentially could win more in his career. His meteoric rise to fame brought lots of attention to the sport and hopefully, we will see him win more in the future. 

10. Babe Ruth – I do not know much about baseball, and from what I do know, the greatest baseball player of all time is a highly debated topic with no clear winner. Nevertheless, I am placing Babe Ruth on this list because of his notoriety, and because he hit an incredible 714 home runs in his career.  











This caps off my list of the top 10 greatest athletes of all time. I hope that my opinions were not too controversial and anger anyone, but I feel that this is a fairly strong top 10, that not many people can argue against.