Who are the World's Fittest Athletes?
Who is the fittest athlete of all time? Every now and then someone tests, compares and analyzes athletes, and comes up with a list of the fittest and label someone as the 'fittest athlete in the world', or something similar. For some, the fittest is the athlete with the highest aerobic (endurance) capacity. However, fitness should not be defined by just one ability, there are a range of components and abilities that make up fitness, and most sports require the athletes to be proficient at many of these.
Being fit for a sport requires that the athlete reach or exceed the level of competence in just the fitness capacities of that sport, which makes it hard to compare athletes from different sports. See information about testing for the fittest athlete and some more candidates for the title.
The fittest guy will not necessarily be the world's greatest athlete, a title that requires not only superior fitness but exceptional sporting skill and possibly other attributes. See the discussion on the world's greatest athlete. You may also be interested in reading about the Fittest Sports, which looks at which sports are considered to have the fittest athletes.
We have found several lists of the world's fittest athletes, and not surprisingly they do not agree. Some lists are limited to a certain sport, region, or time period. Comparing athletes across sports and over time to find the fittest athlete ever is very difficult, and possibly impossible. Still, many have tried. With fitness being a hard thing to define, these lists are always controversial. Here are some lists of the fittest individual athletes.
Fittest Athletes Lists
- Sports Illustrated Magazine - basketball player LeBron James was named the world's fittest male athlete in 2014. See the top 50.
- ESPN Sport Science - Bo Jackson was crowned the greatest 'athlete' of all time in 2013 after a scientific analysis comparing athletic abilities. A vote also confirmed this. See more of the process to determine the greatest athlete of all time.
- Men's Magazine in 2009 published a list of the top 25 fittest guys in the world for 2009, with tennis star Rafael Nadal the fittest.
- Men's Health listed the 100 fittest men of all time, with US swimmer Michael Phelps on top.
- Cross Fit Games Champions - list of Cross Fit Games winners of the annual Cross Fit Games, with the title "Fittest Man on Earth".
- By Sport: Football (NFL), Tennis, Golf, Football/Soccer, Baseball, Cricket, Rugby Union.