When it comes to Americans there is one thing you can count on — we will gripe and complain about anything and everything under the sun especially when it comes to our neighbors, our government, and every country not just like us. Complain as we may, Americans are the most loyal fans of their sports heroes come rain or shine, especially when they are on an international stage. It helps that we often tend to kick some serious behind whenever the whole world is watching. In honor of those badasses past and present, the research team here at COED has compiled a list of athletes that make us proud to be an American (insert Lee Greenwood song here).
No talk of American athletes could be complete right now without talking about the multi-talented soccer player. You would have to be stuck in a cave without Wi-Fi not to have heard about his dramatic game winning goal against Algeria to give the U.S. the win, not only of the game but the Group (advancing them to the round of 16). It helps that he has an incredibly hot wife too. If she becomes an ex-wife I don’t think that Donovan will have any trouble finding chicks willing to let him score into their nets.
He may be known now more for his commercials with Subway and his infamous bong picture that flooded the internet in the last year, but this guy will always be one of the most successful Olympians in history. The 6’4” swimmer has won more gold medals than anyone with 14, has broken 37 world records, and holds the records for the most gold medals in one Olympic competition (8 in the 2008 Beijing Games). He might be going through some hard times after recently doing horrible in France recently, but that’s what makes American athletes great. We may fall from grace every now and then, but we like to redeem ourselves as well.
This guy was a true American Badass when the world really needed to see one. Back when he dominated the 1936 Summer Olympics, the U.S. had not yet grasped onto the concept of a black athlete legitimately being the best. To make it even better, he walked right into the lion’s den to show the world what he has, Hitler’s Germany. Oh yeah — he rocked the Games in Germany winning four gold medals, one in the 100 yard dash, 200 yard dash, long jump, and 4X100 meter relay team.
If you love sports you would love this guy. Thorpe was named the greatest athlete in the first half of the 20th century and third greatest for the century (by the Associated Press). As well as winning gold in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon he played professional baseball, football, and basketball. Sadly, he was stripped of his gold medals after it was discovered that he had been paid for playing baseball prior to winning his medals (not unlike the Dream Teams). It is not just the man’s accomplishments that do the trick, but the atmosphere in which he managed to accomplish them. Native Americans faced even more troubles than other races at the turn of the century. Yet this guy still persevered and dominated EVERYTHING he did while the very people cheering him on would not break bread with him because he was a Native American. Thankfully, the IOC got it right and restored his medals posthumously in 1983.
I doubt there is anyone on the face of this planet that does not know who floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. Whether you call him by his given name of Cassius Clay or the one he took after joining the Nation of Islam, he is undoubtedly the Greatest. As an amateur he won an incredible 100 matches while only losing 5; his resume includes 6 Kentucky Gold Gloves, two national Gold Gloves, and Amateur Athletic Union National Title, not to mention a gold medal in the light heavyweight division in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. He was one of the most successful at using his notoriety as an athlete to make a statement against what perceived as a social wrong, even though it ended up costing him in the end. So great was the public perception of Ali that he was recognized as the Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated as well as the Sports Personality of the Century by the BBC.