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The world loves and adores those athletes who are fantastic at one sport, but not many give the appreciation deserved to those who play multiple sports very well. According to medical experts, taking part in a variety of sports activities, whether structured or not, leads to greater skill development. According to American Medical Society for Sports Medicine report, diversified sports training during early and middle adolescence may be more effective in developing elite-level skills because of skill transfer.

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This fact is well-justified by many great players who participated and showed their talents in various sports. This article is dedicated to the stars, the athletes, who changed sports to varying degrees of success. And here is the list of 30 Best Athletes of All Time who played Multiple Sports.

Athletes who played Multiple Sports

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1st we will start from American Football. let’s see who are those footballers who played multiple sports in their sporting career.

Footballers Who Played Multiple Sports

Jim Thorpe

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
played Multiple Sports

Jim gained recognition at college in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, when he dominated in baseball, lacrosse, track and field and football for his school. He stormed to fame at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, where he won gold in both the pentathlon and decathlon. At the All-Around Championship in New York, he won seven of the ten events and finished second in the other three with 7,476 points, which was a world record. He also competed professionally for baseball side Rocky Mount prior to his Olympic success. Thorpe later joined the New York Giants, where he won the 1913 National League Baseball title. In 1915, he joined the Canton Bulldogs to show his American Football skills and won three titles in 1916, 1917 and 1919. Thorpe also played professional basketball for a team known as Jim Thorpe and His World Famous Indians. Away from sport, he also won the Ballroom Dancing Championship, just to confirm his status as the world’s finest all-rounder.

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Bo Jackson

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports

Bo Jackson was named the greatest athlete of all time by ESPN and the only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports, baseball and football. He chose to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship while he was selected in the second round of the 1982 Major League Baseball Draft by the New York Yankees. During his football career with Auburn Tigers, he ran for 4,303 yards, which was the fourth best performance in SEC history. He played in the Tangerine Bowl for Boston College during his freshman year in 1982. His football career was ended due to a hip injury, and he returned to MLB as the comeback player of the year. He was the All-Star Game MVP in baseball while rushing for 554 yards on 81 carries in just seven games in 1989.

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John Elway

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports

John Elway is considered to be one of the greatest QBs in football history and a Hall of Fame member who owns numerous records and two Super Bowls. Besides his NFL career, Elway was also a magnificent baseball player. His baseball career includes being drafted by the Royals out of high school. At Stanford, he hit .361 with nine home runs and 50 RBIs in 49 games as a sophomore where Elway played both the sports. After that, he was the first pick of the Yankees in 1981. He hit .314 with a club-high 24 homers with the Yankees’ single-A farm club. He won Pac-10 Player of the Year honors twice. He was also a consensus in All-American in his senior year and finished second in Heisman Trophy voting. The Yankees took him with their second pick, which is 52nd overall in 1981, and Elway played two seasons of minor-league ball during his summers away from Stanford.

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Jim Brown

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports

Jim Brown is the greatest professional football player ever according to Sporting News in 2002. After he had got his scholarship to Syracuse, he led Syracuse’s lacrosse team to an undefeated season in 1957 while playing football and basketball in college, which earned him the consideration of the greatest lacrosse player of all time. Brown was the second leading scorer of Syracuse during his sophomore years. Brown was also added to the all-American first team nomination in his senior year during his sterling college career. He was a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player and nine-time Pro Bowler in just nine seasons in the NFL and later retired at the age of 29 during the filming of The Dirty Dozen. Brown began his acting career before the 1964 season where he played a Buffalo Soldier in a western action film called Rio Conchos. Later, he also voiced over Butch “the sniper “Meathook in Sci-fi movie.

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Charlie Ward

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Athletes who played Multiple Sports

Charlie Ward is a College Football Hall of Famer in 2006 and won the national championship. He was the Davey O’Brien Award winner and the Heisman Trophy winning QB by the highest margin ever in 1993 at Florida State. Charlie was a first round draft pick in 1994 for the New York Knicks while he also drafted as a pitcher by the Milwaukee Brewers and played as the point guard of the Seminoles basketball team during his college days. As a senior and captain of the team, Ward was a model student-athlete at Florida State in 1993. In his NBA career, he appeared in the ’99 NBA finals. With an average of 6.3 PPG and 4 APG throughout his 11-year career, he led the Seminoles to a national championship in the 1993 Orange Bowl. After his retirement, he was hired as an assistant coach for the varsity boys’ basketball team by Westbury Christian School in Houston, Texas in June 2007.

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Bronko

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Athletes who played Multiple Sports

Bronislau Nagurski also known as “Bronko” was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on 1963 as a charter member. He was ranked 35 out of the 100 Greatest Football Players on The Sporting News’ list in 1999. Nagurski was discovered and signed by the University of Minnesota as a footballer in his childhood days. The team went 18-4-2 and won the Big Ten Conference championship in 1927 during his time with the Gophers. From 1930 to 1937, Bronko turned professional to play for the Chicago Bears. He also has the largest recorded NFL Championship ring size at 19½ where he wore a gigantic size 8 helmet. Besides his football career, he was also a successful professional wrestler. Bronko was recognized as a multiple-time world heavyweight champion, adorned with 2 times NBA World Heavyweight Championship along with NWA World Tag Team Championship with Verne Gagne.

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Lionel Conacher

30 Legendary Athletes who played Multiple Sports
Athletes who played Multiple Sports

Lionel Conacher was voted the country’s top athlete of the first half of the 20th century. He was nicknamed “The Big Train” for his football skills where many people also labeled him as the “Canadian Jim Thorpe” for his versatile talent. He was a member of the Grey Cup football champion Toronto Argonauts in 1921. He also won the International League championship in 1926 as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs baseball team. Conacher won Hockey Memorial Cup in 1920 along with Stanley Cup for Chicago Black Hawks in 1934 and the Montreal Maroons in 1935. He was the only Grey Cup and Stanley Cup winner in history other than Carl Voss. Conacher also won numerous wrestling, boxing and lacrosse championships during his career. Outside the sports field, he also succeeded in politics as he won a seat in the House of Commons in 1949.

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A Creative Writer and Painter by heart, and an aspiring Aero-Engineer by brain. A Pursuant of Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering with vivid interest on Technology, Art, Science, Literature, Mythology and almost about everything in this blue planet. While having deep rooted interest in varied subjects, from Sports to Literature, from Art to Computer Games, from Scientific Discoveries to Social Issues, name anything and it will be stored in the brain bank to share tiniest secret available on that subject in this planet. Take a tour of this curious mind which is hopefully enjoyable.
  • elnormo

    Clara Hughes is one of only five people to have podium finishes in the Winter and Summer versions of the games, and is the only person ever to have won multiple medals in both. I think she qualifies for this list.