From football to baseball, the top athletes are renowned for their skill, strategy, stamina and, most importantly, speed.
But who is the fastest athlete in the world?
To give you the answer, we compiled a list of the eight fastest sportspeople in the last two decades.
Ready, set, go!
Fastest Athletes Throughout History
The history of sports is full of athletes whose performances have put them in the running for the title of fastest person on Earth.
Some of them, like Bob Hayes, the only athlete to win an Olympic gold medal and a Super Bowl ring, started off in athletics and then moved on to other sports.
Argentinian Claudio Caniggia also began his career in athletics before becoming one of the fastest soccer players of all time.
Jackie Robinson, considered one of the top baseball players, was a track and football star before signing up for MLB.
Others, like legendary sprinter Carl Lewis, stayed in the same field and achieved greatness. Lewis is one of the fastest athletes of all time, breaking the 10 seconds for 100 meters record a total of 15 times.
The Fastest People in Field Sports
Now that we’ve taken a trip down memory lane, it’s time to read up on three of the fastest track runners that have come on the scene in recent years.
The man who has broken several world records and ran 100 metres in a fantastic 9.58s, Lightning Bolt is without a doubt the fastest track athlete in the world and the best sprinter of all time.
Usain Bolt has won eight Gold Olympic Medals, becoming the only sprinter in Olympic history to win medals in the 100m and 200m event at three games in a row.
He is also an eleven-time World Champion, consecutively winning gold medals between 2009 and 2015 in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay (except for a 100m false start in 2011).
Bolt currently holds the world record in 100 meters (9.58s), 200 meters (19.19s) and 4×100 meters relay (36.84s).
An American track and field sprinter, Tyson Gay was one of the fastest athletes before Bolt came along.
He has won many awards in major international competitions, including three Gold medals in 100-meter, 200-meters and 4×100 meters relay at the 2007 Osaka World Championships. This made Gay the second man to win all three events in one competition.
Gay’s 100-meter personal best is 9.69 seconds, putting him in second place as the fastest sprinter (together with Yohan Blake), whereas his 19.58 second in 200 meters makes him the fourth-fastest American runner in history.
This Jamaican sprinter is the youngest-ever 100m world champion, winning the gold in 2011 at just 21 years of age.
What’s more, he still holds the Jamaican junior national 100m record and was once the youngest sprinter on record to break the 10-second barrier (he was just 19 years and 196 days old). He also won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the 100m and 200m races, which are one of the most popular Olympic events.
Yohan Blake is not just one of the top 10 fastest athletes alive; he is also the second-fastest man on Earth in both 100m and 200m races.
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Fastest People in NFL
Athletics isn’t the only sport where participants are known for their speed. The NFL also boasts several players who can give even the fastest athletes in a sport race a run for their money.
Nicknamed the “Cheetah”, Tyrek Hill is one of the fastest athletes in one of the hardest sports on the planet.
Hill first showed off his incredible speed at his college Pro Day when he ran a 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds, faster than any of the other NFL Combine participants.
After this amazing feat, Hill was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he has played as a wide receiver ever since. He continued performing phenomenally speed-wise during his career in the NFL, holding two of the top ten ball carrier speed for three consecutive years (from 2016 to 2018), including the two top speeds of 2016 (23.24 and 22.77 seconds).
However, he reached his best speed in 2020 when he topped out at 21.91 mph on a 44-yard receiving touchdown—the fifth-fastest recorded running speed for the season.
Raheem Mostert, who plays running back for the San Francisco 49ers, is the fastest ball carrier for the 2020 season.
According to NextGen stats, Mostert currently holds the top two positions on the list of fastest players in NFL for 2020. He reached 22.73 mph against the Arizona Cardinals during Week 1 of last season, which was the fastest speed recorded by a running back over the last three seasons.
He managed to break his own record just a week later by reaching a whopping 23.09 mph on an 80-yard touchdown run against the New York Jets.
The Fastest Football Players
Dribbling the ball at full speed in order to score, the ability to get past defenders—speed is one of the most essential skills in the most popular sport in England.
So which footballers can classify as speed demons? Who are the fastest players in football?
One of the highest-paid soccer players is also known for his strength, skill and, most of all, speed. In fact, according to a 2017 study, the LA Galaxi winger topped the list of the worlds fastest soccer players, beating some of the biggest names in football like Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. His top speed was measured at an impressive 36.9 km/h.
The combination of speed, ball control, and great crossing ability has made Bale a sought-after player and a force to be reckoned with on the football pitch.
Davies is a Canadian athlete who currently plays for one of the clubs with the biggest fanbase, Bayern Munich, as a left-back or a winger.
At the start of the 2021 Bundesliga, Davies was clocked as the fastest player in the competition by reaching a recorded speed of 35.3 kmp/h.
Furthermore, he managed to beat his own record later in the season by running at 36.51 kmp/h in the match against Werder Bremen. This not only made him the fastest player in the Bundesliga but also one of the fastest football players in the world today.
No list of the fastest football players would be complete without mentioning one of France’s most valuable footballers.
Kylian Mbappé is the fastest footballer right now, clocking in an astounding speed of 36.2 kmp/h in the match between France and Germany in the UEFA Euro 2020.
Before recording his impressive speed at the Euro Cup, the young French star reached an amazing 38 kmp/h at the 2018 World Cup. He also sprinted at 36 km/h against Marseille in 2021 when he scored his 16th goal of the season.
Even though minutes behind Bolt’s speed of 44.72km/h, Mbappé’s 36 kmp/h certainly earned him a place not just among the fastest football players ever, but among the fastest athletes in the world as well.
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From Bolt to Mbappé, all of the athletes on our list have made it big in the world of sports thanks to their speed, as well as talent, skills, endurance, and sheer commitment.
So, tune in to the latest sports events and be on the lookout for the next rising star who might just become the new fastest athlete in the world.