Age of Champions

We live in exciting times...

We are very fortunate to be living in a time with some of the most remarkable sporting talent that has ever been. I was never privileged enough to have witnessed Mohammad Ali box (and talk) live in one of his epic battles through the years, nor was I quite old enough to marvel at Ayrton Senna's numerous miracle drives. However I did grow up watching Michael Jordan defy gravity and belief on the basketball court. I witnessed Tiger Woods demolish the opposition at Augusta in 1997 to win the Masters by 12 strokes. I have followed Roger Feeder's mind boggling career from start to finish, having grown up the same village as him (Bottmingen).

These are but a few of the unbelievable sporting greats that have graced the past 30 years. Which, if you come to think of it is remarkable. Not only for the reason that professional sports have become professional to within the smallest details. Every calorie counted, every minute of the day maximised. Across the board this should eliminate the possibility of any single athlete repetitively outperforming the rest, yet somehow these stars have risen to the top and shone brighter than any of their peers and done it over an extended period of time. 

As a sports nut I have loved watching all these stars over the years. Without sport and everything that it stands for I would not be as happy as I am now. Playing sports myself has not only given me endless joy, but just watching and learning from these stars has given me equal pleasure.

 Sebastian Loeb - one of the most successful rally drivers of all time, winning the world championship a staggering 9 years in a row from 2004 until 2012. A true great of the sport. With today's on board cameras, watching this guy manoeuvre his car around the Rally of Corsica or through the 1000 lakes stages of Finland is so breathtakingly spectacular it is hard to believe anybody would have the balls and the pure skills to do something like that.

Valentino Rossi - The most charismatic and gifted motor racer ever to have ridden a motorbike. Has won 9 championships of which 7 in the Moto GP. The GOAT of his sport, el Doctore, Rossi made me fall in love with the sport of motor racing. The way he could (still can!) throw the bike around corners at 200mph is beyond belief.

Usain Bolt - The fastest man of ll time. Dominating his races to the point where he could ease off after 60 meters, I think it will be a very long time before we see another athlete run as fast as The Bolt. What a fantastic character as well.

 Michael Jordan - The greatest basketball player of all time. His competitive drive and incredible athletic ability allowed him to dazzle crowds around the world. He was the first true global superstar coming out of the NBA and brought the sport to heights it might never otherwise have achieved. 6 NBA titles. 2 Olympic gold medals. 10 scoring titles. 6 finals MVP's. The list goes on and on. Possibly the first truly global superstar of the modern era.
I grew up watching Michael Jordan winning NBA scoring titles and championships and like millions of other kids he was the reason I spent hours and hours on a playground trying to hit that game winning three pointer at the buzzer. Difference is, I rarely made the shot while he did it every few days. 

Roger Federer - Having just yesterday won his 8th Wimbledon title what more can be said about one of the most remarkable sporting champions of our time. Holding more records than you can possibly imagine and a longevity that is the envy of most athletes Federer is the most graceful of tennis players. On top of that Roger Federer is incredibly marketable, well spoken in 4 languages, honest (a rare trait in global superstars) and engaging.

Tiger Woods - The most dominant golfer ever to play the game. To get an idea of how ridiculously far ahead of his peers he was in his pomp, have a look at some of his records. I am convinced we will not see a player of the like again for a very, very long time.

Michael Schumacher - 7 time world champion. 91 race victories. 68 pole positions. Schumacher built the Ferrari F1 team around his image into the most dominant racing outfit of the modern era. Winning 5 championships in a row the sport made modifications to their rules just to level the playing field. That says it all really.

 These are only a handful of the sporting champions that I have been privilaged enough to grow up with. I now realise that although every generation has its sporting heroes the last few decenia have been particularly rich in sporting greatness. Here are a few of the others that deserve a mention...

Floyd Mayweather Jr
Michael Phelps
Wayne Gretzky
Sachin Tendulkar
Serena Williams
Dan Carter
Shane Warne
Phil Taylor
Lionel Messi

What a privilage to have been an avid spectator for all the sporting wonder these last 30 years. Long may it continue! 


Popular Posts