With Tyson Fury beating Wladimir Klitscho and Great Britain winning the Davis Cup for the first time in 79 years, it is fair to say that it wasn’t a bad weekend for British sport. Add to that the Ashes England won earlier this year, and the fact that England, Wales and Northern Ireland all convincingly qualified for next year’s European Championships and you could almost say that British dominance in world sport is back (but say it very quietly – the less said about the Rugby World Cup the better). Here, The Red Bulletin presents some of the greatest champions Britain has ever had.
Sir Steven Geoffrey Redgrave, CBE, is perhaps one of the greatest British Olympians ever. The man from Marlow won gold in five consecutive Olympic Games between 1984 and 2000, winning his last at the age of 38, a feat that will not be eclipsed by too many in years to come. He also won 9 World Rowing Championship medals as he dominated rowing for more than a generation. He was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2000.
Seen by many as the greatest British boxer ever to set foot in the ring. The West Ham born heavyweight with dual British and Canadian nationality had a professional boxing record of 41 Wins (32 Knockouts), 2 Losses, 1 Draw. He became the first British heavyweight champion of the 20th Century in 1992, when then champion Riddock Bowe refused to fight him, throwing his belt in the bin and relinquishing the title. He’s also the last undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, beating some of the biggest names in boxing history over that period like Holyfield, Tyson and Klitschko.
Sir Christopher Andrew Hoy, MBE, is the most decorated Olympic cyclist of all time with six golds and one silver medal. Few have dominated a sport in such a way as Hoy did, becoming Scotland’s most successful Olympian along the way. He also holds the record for most medals won, alongside fellow great Sir Bradley Wiggins (7). Hoy is also not to bad behind the wheel either, winning round four of the 2015 European Le Mans Series.
Dame Kelly Holmes created some of the most unforgettable moments of the 2004 Olympic Games as she took gold in both the 800m and 1500m in Athens. The middle distance runner set countless British records over the course of her career, with many of them still standing today. Her records over the 600, 800, 1000 and 1500 metres distances don’t look like being beaten anytime soon. She was inducted into the English athletes Hall of Fame in 2010.
Sir John Young ”Jackie“ Stewart, OBE, also known as the “Flying Scot” won three World Driver’s Championships between 1969 and 1973, finishing runner-up twice as well. He was also extremely influential in campaigning for better safety regulations, paving the way for the racers of today to break records in relative safety. In 99 starts he won 27 races, had 43 podiums and 17 poles. Sir Jackie is not the greatest British driver ever when it comes to stats though. That title goes to current champ Lewis Hamilton, who has 43 wins, 87 podiums and 49 poles to his name in 167 races.
When it comes to darts, no one will ever be able to surpass Phil “The Power” Taylor. The man from Stoke-on-Trent has won a total of 83 major titles and won 16 World Championships between 1995 and 2013. His best spell came between 1995 and 2002, when he won eight consecutive titles. In 2002 he also achieved his first televised nine-dart finish (and the first live televised nine-darter in the UK) at World Matchplay – he got his 11th recently in the Sydney Masters against Peter Wright.
Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie, CBE, is the most successful sailor in Olympic history. Over the course of 14 years the Macclesfield man won medals at five consecutive Olympics, taking silver in 1996 and gold in the following four games. He became the first man to carry the Olympic Torch in the UK on 19 May 2012.
Martin Johnson, CBE, captained England to victory at the 2003 Rugby World Cup
Sir Bobby Moore, captained England to football World Cup triumph in 1966
Sir Ian Botham, inspirational in England’s win over Australia in 1981 at ‘Botham’s Ashes’
Denise Lewis, OBE - Olympic and double Commonwealth gold medallist in the Heptathlon
Daley Thompson, CBE - Double Olympic champion in the Decathlon and holder of four world records