Most Unusual Athletes of All Time

  • Unusual athletes can become world famous due to their special performance
  • Like Eric The Eel who swam the slowest time in Olympic history
  • Or the Jamaican bobsleigh team who represented their country in the 1988 Winter Olympics
most unusual athletes of all time

From time to time we can discover athletes who are not like the others. Either due to their physical appearances or their behaviors. They can still become the favorites of the fans and loved all over the world. Like the latest sensation, giant handball player Gauthier Mvumbi who raised the attention of even Shaquille O’Neal. He also belongs to the most unusual athletes of all time, let’s see the others. 

We all have a picture in our mind about a typical top athlete. Someone with a slim and toned body, strong physique and confident appearance. Sometimes different types of athletes appear. Who don’t fit the standard descriptions but still want to compete on a high level. Just like Mvumbi, who has been taking part in the Handball World Championship as a member of the Dr Congo team. What is extraordinary about him is his physique, as he is 192cm tall and weighs 110kg. Not a typical appearance for a handball player still the giant African has become the favorite of the fans thanks to his unbelievable skills. Many of them compared Mvumbi to legendary NBA player Shaquille O’Neal who even congratulated him via a video message. But there were similar athletes before him who also became famous thanks to their special performances.

Most unusual athletes of all time

1. Eric The Eel

I’m sure no one will ever forget who saw Eric Moussambani’s swimming in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. The swimmer from Equatorial Guinea saw an Olympic-sized pool for the first time in his 100m freestyle heat. As the other two swimmers in his heat had a foul start, Eric had to swim alone. His performance of 1:52.72 proved to be the slowest time in Olympic history but made him famous all over the world. As viewers watched his struggle to finish the distance, Eric The Eel got a huge cheer at the end of his swimming. Anyway he won his heat and set up a new personal and national record. Moussambani also became the coach of the national swimming team in 2012.

2. Eddie The Eagle

The British skier, Eddie Edwards also gained popularity through his performance in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. Edwards chose ski jumping even though he was afraid of heights and wasn’t athletic at all. Beside the fact that Great Britain was never really good in this winter sport. Still Edwards managed to represent his country in the Olympics in the 70m and 90m ski jump, and set up a new British record. Which sadly also meant finishing last in both events. On his return he was regarded as a hero, his biography and the film based on it increased his popularity even further. We are unlikely to see another British ski jumper in the 2022 Olympics, but online sportsbooks in the UK predict a British medal in skeleton.

most unusual athletes of all time
Eddie the Eagle – Orville Barlow, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

3. Jamaican Bobsleigh team

Staying with winter sports, the members of the Jamaican bobleigh team also belong to the most unusual athletes of all time. They also happened to compete in the 1988 Olympics and became widely loved by the fans. It was the first time Jamaica was represented in the Winter Games. But more appearances followed their debut in the following Olympics. Still, the first athletes who competed in the four-men bobsled were the real heroes. The sport was so unknown in the country that they had to borrow equipment from other teams. Unfortunately they couldn’t finish the race after a huge crash but showed everyone that nothing is impossible if you really want.

4. Tomas Brolin

Swedish footballer Tomas Brolin was a promising player and won several cups with his team, AC Parma in the 1990s. After breaking a bone in his feet, he was out for 5 months and couldn’t perform on the same level after his return. He was still signed by Premier League club Leeds United. But he only spent one season there. Brolin was struggling with his weight and didn’t seem to have the same interest in football. After spending two seasons on loan miraculously he joined Crystal Palace, but couldn’t improve on his play. The club was relegated at the end of the season while Brolin retired from football at the age of only 28.  Relegation shouldn’t threaten Palace this season as online gambling sites in the UK also suggest.

5. Andy Fordham

Andy fordham-1520889593.jpeg
Anyd Fortham – Ruben Meijer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You don’t need such special physical condition for darts, but being a heavy drinker is not recommended in this sport either. The 2004 BDO world champion, Andy Fordham didn’t really care about this rule and drank heavily during his competing years. He was also heavily overweight, which resulted with his collapse in the 2007 BDO World Darts Championships. He was told to give up alcohol and lose several stones in order to survive. Fordham managed to do both and returned to the sport in 2013. Even though he hasn’t been able to achieve any major success since at least he is living a much more healthier lifestyle now.

6. Peter Buckley

One of the worst boxers of all time was Peter Buckley who lost 256 matches out of his 300 performances. Even though he had a decent start of his career and a 17-10 record in 1991. But something went wrong after and the British boxer lost 17 games in a row. Buckley still managed to go on until 2008 when he won his last game after a 86-fight losing streak. A true fighter even if his results didn’t confirm that.

7. Steven Bradbury

Finally we have to mention Steven Bradbury. An Australian short-track speed skater, who managed to win a gold medal in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Thanks to his great strategy to stay at the back, he went through to the final. Where he chose the same tactics and stayed in last place. After all four top skaters collided in the final, Bradbury took the victory. Even though he was well off their pace. The winner of the first Australian Winter Olympic gold medal retired after his huge success and worked as a commentator on the following Olympics.

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