This list of the greatest athletes of the 20th century (1900-2000) is from the book published by Sports Illustrated in 1999, the Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century by Tim Crothers and John Garrity. The book profiles 25 outstanding sports performers of the 20th century.
The list of athletes below is the order in which they are in discussed the book. This list is US centric, with the majority of these athletes from the USA. There are three females on the list, with Babe Didrikson the highest ranked. The top three here are the same as ESPN's list of the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century.
|5||Babe Didrikson-Zaharias||USA||golf / track and field|
|6||Wayne Gretzky||Canada||ice hockey|
|8||Carl Lewis||USA||track & field|
|10||Pele||Brazil||soccer / football|
|12||Jim Thorpe||USA||track & field|
|16||Jim Brown||USA||American football|
|17||Red Grange||USA||American football|
|18||Don Hutson||USA||American football|
|20||Jackie Joyner-Kersee||USA||track & field|
|24||Joe Montana||USA||American football|
|25||Martina Navratilova||Czechoslovakia / USA||tennis|
source: the book Greatest Athletes of the 20th Century by Tim Crothers and John Garrity
Football/Soccer is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.