Dedication, skill, determination and discipline are just a few of the qualities that are needed to succeed at sport and very few people make it to the top of their chosen path. Some, of course, do make it in their craft and bring joy and excitement to millions of people all over the world.
However, there are a select few athletes that excel at more than one sport and that truly is a rare talent.
Let’s take a look at the best multi-sport competitors of all time.
Jim Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon at the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden. Those are two events that need a multitude of abilities to succeed and that wasn’t where the American stopped.
Thorpe played Major League Baseball for a whole host of teams, including the New York Giants, Cincinnati Reds and Boston Braves, in a career that spanned seven years at the top level.
The Oklahoma-born star played professional football for 13 years and also had a two-year period as a basketball player.
Thorpe was a supreme sportsman and is still considered one of the most versatile athletes of modern sports.
Bo Jackson is an elite athlete that excelled at baseball and American football. Jackson is the only professional athlete in history to be named an All-Star in two major North American sports and the now-60-year-old is rightly recognised as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
The Alabama man played for the California Angels, Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals in the MLB and he represented the LA Raiders for four seasons in the NFL.
Nicknamed Bullet Bob, Bob Hayes is the only athlete to win both an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring.
The Jacksonville man ran 10.06 seconds to win 100m gold at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo and that was followed by another gold medal in the 4x100m relay, where the US team set a new world record.
Hayes played an instrumental role in the Dallas Cowboys first Super Bowl success in 1972 and Bullet Bob’s achievements are still to be equalled.
There is only one person to have played in both a Super Bowl and a World Series and that honour goes to Deion Sanders.
“Prime Time” spent 14 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens and the Fort Myers man was also a baseball outfielder for nine seasons in MLB.
Ian Botham is without doubt England’s finest and one of the greatest all-round cricketers of the modern game. Beefy hit 5,200 Test runs, including 14 centuries, and took 383 wickets, in a stunning career. But it wasn’t just on the cricket pitch that the Cheshire man showed his versatility.
Botham made eleven appearances in the Football League at center-half for Scunthorpe United and he also had a spell playing for Yeovil Town.