Nadal and the club of legends: Phelps, Pelé, Brady, Merckx…

Sport has an innate facility to meet the epic. It is part of his idiosyncrasy. It is usually made up of winners, losers and the thread that, at the same time, unites and separates them.: a ball that bounces in or out, a second more or less, etc. High doses of adrenaline that, beyond the emotion of the moment, write pages and pages of incredible stories. In them, for a long time, Rafa Nadal is one of the most prominent names. Now even more. For the why and for the how. For getting his 14th Roland Garros, being the absolute dominator of the tournament, and opening the gap with Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer (20 each) in the historic career of the Grand Slams (22); but also for having done it dealing with his chronic injury, overcoming a thousand obstacles. Suffering, sacrifice and glory. The logical sequence of the aforementioned epic. The path of an athlete who, along with other chosen ones, is part of a select club of legends.

Joe Louis, the king of heavyweights

“The Detroit Bomber” is another paradigmatic example of the sports epic. Along with six other brothers, he was born in a cotton cabin in Lexington (Alabama). and lost his father at a young age. He got into a ring almost by accident and, from there, he went on to be ranked as the best heavyweight in history by the International Boxing Research Organization. He was heavyweight champion for 12 years in a row. (June 1937 to March 1949), a mark no one has come close to, and made 25 successful title defenses.

bill russell lord of the rings

Nobody has won as much in American sports as the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s. Eight rings in a row and eleven in thirteen years, a dynasty hardly repeatable. John Havlicek, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, Red Auerbach… There are many proper names that shaped the feat. Among them, the Bill Russell, present in the eleven championships achieved and, with it, the player with the most rings in NBA history.

‘O Rei’ Pele

“Pelé is perfect, Edson is a person like any other”, Pelé usually says, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, about himself. He was hungry as a child, when he sold peanuts and shined shoes on the street to help the family economy, and he worked hard to change history, his and that of football. His appearance in the 1958 World Cup, which he was on the verge of not reaching due to injury, meant a before and after. At the age of 17, he won his first World Cup. The first of the three, a record mark, which he would achieve in twelve years.

Michael Jordan or the art of flying

Since his unforgettable basket against Byron Russell, in the sixth game of the 1998 Finals, until the book shot with his eyes closed challenging Mutombo. Michael Jordan was another fine stylist of what and how. Their six rings with Chicago Bulls, his 14 All Stars, his ten seasons leading the NBA in scoring or his five MVPs place him at the pinnacle of basketball. Their charisma and narrativewith his notorious retirement to play baseball as an example, make him a social icon.

Eddy Merckx, the great monument

Few dare to question Merckx’s position within the history of cycling. If it were used a machine to create the perfect runner, someone of his characteristics would come out. He reigned in all the grand tours, with five Tours de France, five Giros d’Italia and one Vuelta a España, but also in the classics and monuments. In fact, along with Roger De Vlaeminck and Rick Van Looy, he is the only rider to win all five races in the latter category.

Michael Phelps, the medal shark

The bullet or the Baltimore shark. Any nickname, no matter how grandiose, is not enough to extol the figure of Michael Phelps. Beijing 2008 bears his surname, were his Olympic Games. In them, he achieved eight gold medals, the record in a single edition. A significant part of his record, but not all: with 28, he is the Olympic athlete with the most medals of history She devoured them.

Usain Bolt, the man who broke science

No one thought you could swim that fast until Phelps came along. And no one thought you could run that fast until Usain Bolt came along. His 9.58 seconds in the 100 meters at the Berlin World Cup (2009) they are still studied by science, which saw all its schemes broken. Before establishing such a record, he had already broken the mark on two other occasions (9.72 and 9.69). The Jamaican athlete turned more than just the extraordinary, the inconceivable, into routine. Total, holds eight gold medals at the Olympic Games and the records in 100 and 200 meters, in addition to the 4 x 100 in relay.

Margaret Court, the biggest Grand Slam

Rafa Nadal, with his 21st major, He has achieved what has never been seen… in male category. Before, the world already watched Margaret Court achieve it. The Australian tennis player lifted the Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open trophies up to 24 times, winning them all in the same season. It is not the only case. Serena Williamsthe boundless image of contemporary women’s tennis, accumulates 23 Grand Slams.

Indurain and an eternal luster

The difficult thing is not to arrive. The difficult thing, says the popular proverb, is to stay. Miguel Indurain did it like nobody else. The Spanish cyclist, in a golden luster that is difficult to match, won five Tours de France in a row. An ode to regularity. Beyond his triumphal entries on the Champs-Elysées, Indurain also achieved two Giros and a world time trial. Paradoxically, he resisted the Vuelta.

Larisa Latynina or the art of winning medals

The most successful gymnast in history and the woman with the most medals at the Olympic Games. In total, 18. Until London 2012, when Phelps passed her, was the most decorated athlete in the contest. It is difficult to understand artistic gymnastics without her legacy, one that began embraced by precocity. With 11 years, after suffering the death of his father in the battle of Stalingrad, he found a refuge in the ballet. At 21, she came to Melbourne to change history.

Leo Messi, the footballer of gold

The king of the king sport. At least, in contemporary times and if you look at the number of individual prizes. This same year, marking differences in the dispute with Cristiano Ronaldo (5), Leo Messi received his seventh golden ball. No one has as many as him. He is the player with the most goals in the Spanish league, in a calendar year… Football personified.

Jack Nicklaus, the golden bear

No golfer has as many Grand Slams as him. And, despite this, Jack Nicklaus goes far beyond the numbers. The golden bearas he was nicknamed, was able to hit as hard as anyone and, at the same time, pat the ball into the green. He won his first US Open title in 1962 and hasn’t stopped. Then came 18 majors and more than 105 tournament wins.

Giacomo Agostini, an unstoppable acceleration

“It’s very hard when you stop what you’ve been doing all your life”, recently assured Giacomo Agostini. It is harder still when what you have done throughout your life is to win. The Italian ex-pilot reaped 15 titles and 122 victories in the World Motorcycle Championship. Besides, he did the only way i knewaccelerating more than anyone: it only took ten years.

Schumacher, Hamilton and their seven World Cups

On two wheels, nobody ran like Agostini; out of four, the honor is shared. When Michael Schumacher won his seventh World Cup in 2004, it was hardly conceivable that someone could match him in such a short period of time. Hamilton, in 2020, made it possible. The character and ambition of the Kaiser or the insatiable hunger Lewis. The two, like most legends, have exceeded the limits of any circuit.

Tom Brady, the American dream

He was selected with pick 199 of the sixth round of the Draft of 2000 and, at 44 years old, retirement and return through, the time appears to crown him as the greatest of all time in the NFL. Tom Brady, with seven, has more super bowls than any franchise and has won more than any other player has played. his numbers, With countless records, they are from another planet; the qualities of him, from another galaxy. Without having the most powerful physique, the prototypical for his sport, no one has won like him. Neither in quantity nor in quality.

Gary Kasparov, the immovable one

The teacher of teachers. From 1984 until his retirement in 2005, Gary Kasparov was number one in world chess. In total, 255 months of irremovable leadership, a record figure. His rivalry with Anatoly Karpov, which went far beyond sports, has written pages and pages of history. History itself, in fact, can be understood through this rivalry.

Muhammad Ali, a figure that transcends

One of the most recognizable figures in the history of sport, both for those closest to him and for those furthest from him. Still like Cassius Clay, he hung gold at the Rome Olympics (1960). The first blow of a blast unstoppablea term that is not chosen randomly. Not even prison kept the boxing legend from the top. In 1967, Ali refused to go to Vietnam with the United States Armed Forces. After three years and five months in prison and 43 months without a fight due to the conviction, he came back being the same as always: the championwith the victory against Oscar ‘Ringo’ Bonavena in 1970 or against George Foreman, in 1974, to regain the WBA and WBC world title.

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