If you’re a sports fan you will know that over the years there has been some pretty amazing individuals, a lot of them beginning their career and impressing at early ages. Lets take a look at some of those young athletes that shined early on in their career.
- His peak was so staggering, yet so early in his career, that it can be easy to forget just how good a football player Michael Owen was. He really set the standard for young athletes when he burst onto the scene as a 17-year-old with Liverpool, and within the next four years he had earned the feat as the Premier League’s top scorer on two occasions and had become a Ballon d’Or winner in 2001 – the last British player to do so. It was arguably his exploits for England that most garnered his reputation as a lethal striker. In the 1998 World Cup, barely having left school, his blistering pace saw him evade the defence of old foes Argentina to score one of the most memorable goals in England tournament history.
- Regarded as the first global superstar of Rugby Union, Jonah Lomu enjoyed an illustrious career with New Zealand which included 63 caps and 37 tries. In 1994 he made his international debut aged just 19 years and 45 days, the youngest player ever to pull on the All Blacks jersey. A year later, despite having just two caps, he was part of the squad for the 1995 World Cup, where he took the competition by storm by scoring seven tries on five matches on his country’s journey to the final, where they were beaten by South Africa. He rightly goes down as one of the sport’s all-time greats, inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame in 2007 and the IRM Hall of Fame in 2011.
- ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson’s career consisted of 26 knockout victories in 28 fights, with 16 of these KOs coming in the first round. His journey as a professional boxer began at the age of 18, and he had 15 pro fights in the first year of his career. Truly an inspiration for young athletes. He went on to reap the rewards of being this active so early, holding the record for the youngest heavyweight to win a world title, aged just 20 years, four months and 22 days. This set the tone for a ruthless career which earned him the name as the ‘baddest man on the planet’.
- Much like Emma Raducanu, Sky Brown is a young sports that’s paving the way for young athletes. In this year’s Tokyo games, at the age of just 13, she became the youngest person ever to represent Team GB at the Olympics. This was a huge feat in itself – let alone the bronze medal she went on to achieve in the park event. She turned professional aged 10, which made her the youngest skateboarder in the world. Her success has seen her become sponsored by Nike, making the youngest Nike-sponsored athlete in the world, featuring in campaigns alongside global stars Serena Williams and Simone Biles.
Did you enjoy this blog? Why not have a read of our blog on development in women’s sport?