Quiz: Can You Match the Athlete to the Correct Sport?: HowStuffWorks
Can You Match the Athlete to the Correct Sport?
By: Bambi Turner
7 Min Quiz
Image: Wiki Commons by Luke X. Martin
About This Quiz
Do you know what sport earned Tiger Woods or Babe Ruth the adoration of millions, or turned Michael Jordan and Joe Montana into heroes for people all over the planet? Can you guess which sport Michelle Kwan dominated for a decade, or which event earned Simone Biles a gold medal at the Rio Olympics by one of the widest margins in the history of her sport? Think you can match some of the world's best-ever athletes to the sport that made them famous? Prove it with this quiz!
Millions of people kick a soccer ball around or join a rec softball team for fun and exercise, but just a select few make it to the pros ... and only a handful of those who ever earn a living playing their favorite sport become household names who live on long after they've retired. The athletes in this quiz, however, were so darn good that their names still come up in everyday conversation, as people wax nostalgically about Joe Montana and "The Catch," Michael Jordan's unprecedented airtime or Jim Thorpe's overall athletic prowess. Yet even as we recall their names and know that they were the fastest, strongest, the best to ever swing a bat or toss a ball, their exact achievements can get lost to time. Think you can still match these legendary athletes to the correct sport? Show your skill with this quiz.
He was born Edsel Avantes de Nascimento, but to his fans, he was always Pele. Can you match this beloved Brazilian to the correct sport?
In his native Brazil, and much of the world, Pele was one of the most famous and highest-paid football stars of all time ... though people in the U.S. might say he was actually a soccer player. After joining the Brazilian National Team in 1957 at the tender age of 16, Pele won three FIFA World Cups, and spent 20 years in the pro soccer leagues before retiring in the '70s.
Hailing from Switzerland, this athlete turned pro in 1998. Think you know which sport earned Roger Federer two Olympic medals?
One of the most dominant male tennis players to ever step foot on the court, Roger Federer has won more than 20 Grand Slams, including eight Wimbledon wins between 2003 and 2017. In 2008, he picked up a gold in doubles at the Beijing Olympics, then went back four years later to win a silver in the singles category in London.
LeBron James just might be one of the most successful athletes to ever pick up a ball ... but do you know what kind of ball he is most likely to be seen with?
LeBron James was named NBA Rookie of the Year during his debut season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003-2004. After taking a break to play basketball in Miami, James returned in Cleveland in 2014 and led the Cavs to their first NBA championship.
Cassius Clay won Olympic gold in 1960, and changed his name to Muhammad Ali the next year after converting to Islam. What sport made Ali a legend?
After winning Olympic gold in boxing at the 1960 Olympics in Rome, Muhammad Ali turned pro and went on to beat Sonny Liston for the Heavyweight Championship in 1964. His career suffered as he became a political resistance figure for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War, but he is still remembered today as one of the greatest of all time.
Born in 1975, Tiger Woods was named Rookie of the Year in this sport after turning pro in 1996.
Despite turning pro at the tender age of 21, Tiger Woods ranks among the most successful golfers to ever swing a club, picking up more than 100 professional wins since the mid-'90s. While he experienced some personal and legal troubles in 2009, he returned to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational a few years later.
Michael Phelps has won a record-breaking 23 Olympic gold medals, including 8 in 2008 alone, in this summer sport.
When he won 8 gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, legendary swimmer Michael Phelps broke the 1972 record set by Mark Spitz for most golds won in a single Olympics. As if that weren't enough, Phelps has won 23 Olympic golds in total, with many of them coming in butterfly and individual medley events.
Which sport made Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was also a star basketball player at UCLA, one of the most celebrated female athletes of all time?
Jackie Joyner-Kersee tore around the stadium at track and field events in four different Olympics. She earned three golds, a silver and two bronze medals in heptathlon and long jump events, and her point total in the heptathlon event at the Seoul games is still the highest ever in an Olympic games as of 2019.
Name the sport that helped earn Joe Montana the nickname "The Comeback Kid."
Joe Montana played football for the 49ers and Chiefs between 1972 and 1994. He won four Super Bowls, and was named MVP at three of those, losing only once, to wide receiver Jerry Rice. Montana is remembered today for "The Catch," where he made a pass to Dwight Clark that clinched the 1981 NFC championship.
Jackie Robinson not only broke color barriers but is also remembered today for his poise and quiet determination to excel as one of the first African Americans to play this sport.
The first African-American to play in the MLB, Jackie Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1947 through the mid-'50s. Even as controversy swirled around him in still-segregated America, Robinson managed to win Rookie of the Year in 1947. In memory of his accomplishments, the MLB retired his number 42 jersey in 1997 for the entire league.
Simone Biles was one of the most dominant athletes in the world in the 2010s thanks to her unprecedented talent in this sport.
Simone Biles won the Olympic all-around gymnastics gold in 2016 by 2.1 points. To understand how huge that is, consider that Gabby Douglas, who won gold at the 2012 games, won by only a 0.25 point margin. When Mary Lou Retton picked up the gold in 1984, she won by 0.05 points. Biles has been so dominant in gymnastics in the 2010s that when she competes, everyone else is simply fighting for second.
Babe Didrikson Zaharias won Olympic medals in track and field in 1932, but which sport did she excel in after going pro in the '30s?
Born Mildred Ella and later known as Babe, Zaharias won two golds and a silver in track and field at the 1932 Olympics. While that might seem extraordinary, she is best known today for her career as a pro golfer. Babe won ten LPGA championships before being inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1951.
No, he's not a bobsledder, but Usain Bolt is a famous athlete from Jamaica. Do you know what sport made him an Olympic champ?
Sprinter Usain Bolt set a record in Germany in 2009 for running the 100 m in 9.58 seconds ... a record no one has beaten as of 2019. Bolt has also won eight Olympic gold medals in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 games in the 100 m, 200 m and relay events. Simply put, you probably wouldn't want to challenge this man to a race.
Michael Jordan was named 1985 Rookie of the Year in this sport, where he remains a legend long after his retirement.
It's hard to imagine basketball without Michael Jordan. During his 15 seasons with the Bulls and Wizards, he nabbed six NBA championships, while logging so much air time above the court that he probably maxed out his frequent flier miles. The Chicago Bulls have since retired his #23 jersey, knowing no one can ever fill his Air Jordans.
He's known simply as "The Great One," but do you know which sport Wayne Gretzky dominated from the '70s through the late '90s?
Canadian Wayne Gretzky spent 20 seasons playing hockey in the NHL from 1979 to 1999. After winning four Stanley Cup championships with the Oilers, the NHL retired his #99 jersey, If his career as a player wasn't enough, Gretzky went on to coach Team Canada to gold at the 2002 Olympics.
He won 16 world championships over his 40 year career, but do you know which sport made Ric Flair a star?
Known as "The Nature Boy," Ric Flair is one of the most famous wrestlers to ever pin an opponent. He shot to fame both in individual matches and as part of the Four Horsemen, and was best-known for his signature finishing move -- the figure-four leglock.
Jim Thorpe was the first Native American to win an Olympic gold medal. Know which sport earned him this honor?
Jim Thorpe became the first Native American to win Olympic gold in 1912 when he won both the pentathlon and decathlon events in track and field. Though he was stripped of his medals later for playing semi-pro baseball, they were restored in the '80s. Thorpe later went on to play both professional football and baseball, and also participated in a Native American basketball league.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had his #33 jersey retired by UCLA, and scored a record 40,000 points before he retired from this sport in 1989.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for 20 seasons in the NBA, spending six years with the Bucks before moving to the Lakers in 1975. He was named NBA MVP a whopping six times throughout his career, and was named to the All-Star team every year between 1970 and 1977, and again from 1979 to 1989.
Do you know which sport earned Michelle Kwan a record nine U.S. titles and five World Championships between 1996 and 2005?
Beloved figure skater Michelle Kwan won five world championships and nine national titles between 1996 and 2005. Despite her skill and consistency, she never won an Olympic gold, coming in second in 1998 and third in 2002.
The Great Bambino, the Sultan of Swat, George Herman—OK, you can call him Babe—is still remembered today for his success in this sport.
Who knows if baseball would have become the great American pastime if not for Babe Ruth, who played for the Red Sox and Yankees from 1914 through 1935? One of the first players chosen for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Ruth helped make both baseball and the Yankees famous. It didn't hurt that he hit 60 homers in 1927 alone.
Serena Williams started training at the ripe old age of 3, but do you know which sport has made her a star?
Serena Williams won her first tennis Grand Slam at the U.S. Open in 1999, and has gone on to win 20 more Grand Slams since then. She also picked up three Olympic gold medals in 2000, 2008 and 2012.
It's no secret that Nike believes that Bo knows, but do you know which of these sports Bo Jackson dominated in the '80s?
OK, this one is kind of a trick question; not only did Bo Jackson play football for the Raiders between 1987 and 1990, but he also spent about twice that long in the MLB playing baseball for the Royals, White Sox and Angels. Yeah, Bo knows his sports.
Born in the Czech Republic in 1956, Martina Navratilova went on to win Wimbledon nine times, making her one of the all-time greats in this court sport.
Martina Navratilova turned pro in 1975 and won her first major tennis tournament at Wimbledon just three years later. In fact, she went on to win the iconic event a record-breaking nine times between 1978 and 1990, while still finding time to score 18 Grand Slam titles.
Jerry Rice played alongside fellow athletic legend Joe Montana. Can you guess the sport that made Rice famous?
Wide receiver Jerry Rice was an NFL legend, playing for the San Francisco 49ers from 1985 through 2000. He not only won three Super Bowls and snatched the Super Bowl MVP crown from Joe Montana in 1988, but also set dozens of NFL records that have held up decades after his retirement.
Hank Aaron, who was also known as Hammer, was a 25 time All-Star. Know what sport he played?
Baseball legend Hank Aaron spent 21 seasons with the Braves from the mid-'50s through the '70s. He hit at least two dozen home runs a year from 1955 through 1973, and was part of the 1957 World Series championship team.
Born Ray Charles Leonard in 1956, his fans called him Sugar Ray. Guess which sport won him Olympic gold in 1976 in Montreal.
Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard won world titles in five divisions between the late '70s and late '90s. He won 36 of his 40 pro fights, 25 by KO. At the 1976 Olympics, he earned the gold medal in the light welterweight division, and was part of the Fab Four who helped popularize boxing in the '80s.
Do you know which sport earned Jack Nicklaus the nickname the Golden Bear?
One of the most revered golfers of all time, Jack Nicklaus scored more than 100 pro wins in his 25-year career, including 18 victories at the majors. Just 21 years old when he turned pro in 1961, he scored his first major win beating Arnold Palmer at the 1962 U.S. Open.
With or without the double cork that made him famous, Shawn White is a legend in this sport.
Shawn White is an extreme sports legend, becoming the first to win gold in both winter and summer X-Games thanks to his prowess at both skateboarding and snowboarding. White won gold on the half-pipe at the 2006, 2010 and 2018 Olympics, finishing fourth in the event in 2014.
Name the sport that made Michael Schumacher a star, and allowed him to call himself world champ a staggering seven times.
Born in 1969, Michael Schumacher went on to become a Formula One Legend, winning the world championship a record seven times between 1994 and 2004. Sadly, his career was cut short after a 2013 skiing accident in the French Alps left him with a traumatic brain injury.
Do you know which sport made Annika Sorenstam of Sweden a Hall of Famer?
Annika Sorenstam went pro in 1992 and racked up 72 LPGA tour wins, including 10 Masters, before retiring in 2008. One of the best female golfers to ever go under par, she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
After playing for the Wolverines at Michigan, some guy named Tom Brady turned pro and became kind of famous thanks to his unprecedented skill in this sport.
Tom Brady joined the New England Patriots in 2000. By 2019, he had won a record-breaking six Super Bowls, earning the title of MVP four times. He also earned the NFL MVP title in 2007, 2010 and 2017.
Yankee Clipper Joe DiMaggio just might have had a bit of talent in one great American pastime. Do you know what it is?
Joe DiMaggio spent just 13 years playing baseball for the Yankess, but managed to be part of an unbelievable nine World Series championship teams, despite taking a break to serve in the Army Air Force during WWII. DiMaggio's hitting streak of 56 consecutive games in 1941 still stands as of 2019.
Name the sport that Jim Brown excelled at between his time playing for Syracuse and his successful acting career that started in the '60s.
Jim Brown was a running back for the Cleveland Browns between 1957 and 1965. After leaving football, he turned his attention to Hollywood, scoring his first starring role in "The Split" in 1969.
Before becoming a successful coach for the Indiana Pacers, which sport made Larry Bird a star in the '80s?
Larry Bird spent his entire pro basketball career playing for the Boston Celtics. Between 1979 and 1992, he was part of three NBA championship teams and named NBA MVP three consecutive years between 1984 and 1986. His turn as coach for the Pacers earned him the title of 1998 NBA Coach of the Year.
Born in 1972, which sport earned Mia Hamm medals at every Olympics between 1996 and 2004?
Mia Hamm was a soccer star at UNC before becoming the face of the U.S. women's soccer team for decades. She won two FIFA Women's World Cups, and earned Olympic gold in 1996 and 2004, picking up the silver in Sydney in 2000.
Athletic success didn't come easy for Jesse Owens, a black man born in Alabama in 1913. What sport earned Owens four Olympic gold medals and made him a legend that people still look up to today?
Jesse Owens won four golds in the Berlin games in 1936, taking the top prize in the 100 m, 200 m, relay and long jump events. Today, the dorm where Owens stayed while taking part in the Olympics is a museum dedicated to this top track athlete and his achievements.
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