Federer, Messi, Bolt: Adam Peaty highlights what makes an athlete great as we name 10 greats


Two-time Olympic champion and recent gold winner Adam Peaty MBE joined presenters Jake Humphrey and Damian Hughes on the High Performance Podcast this week.

When discussing athletes taking calculated risks and pushing themselves, he told us what he thought it took to maintain a high level in the sports industry for a prolonged time.

When Humphrey asked Peaty:

“What takes you out of your flow state? .. We all make the mistake of looking at you with your amazing body and your brilliant technique and your stunning success, and we go ‘the geezer’s bulletproof’, but that can’t be the case.”


(Enter Giveaway)

Peaty responded: “Oh no, everything that goes up must come down”

“Good athletes can do it once, great athletes can do it a multitude of times, but the best athletes in the world – who are, you know, very few and far between can do it for a very, very long time. You know, looking at Federer, people like that who stay at the top of their game for so, so long.”

Based off Peaty’s comments, we will compare some of the most highly rated and loved worldwide athletes who have maintained their positions at the top throughout their career.

Roger Federer:


At 39 years old Federer has a remarkable 20 Grand Slams to his name. He is ranked 9th in the world by the Association of Tennis Professionals.

He is one of only two male players, the other being Novak Djokovic, to win two different Grand Slam tournaments at least six times.

Federer has been one of the faces of tennis for the past 10 years at least and shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. The last major trophy the Swiss won was Wimbledon in 2017.

Cristiano Ronaldo:

Ronaldo is a player that all young footballers grow up wanting to become.


He is living proof of starting fairly small and local (Sporting CP) and with his consistent dedication and non-stop hard work to reach the top, reach a team who won 3 consecutive Champions League finals in a row – the most desired domestic trophy in European football.

At 36 years old, football fans already get teary-eyed at the thought of CR7 retiring in the coming years, however the star shows no signs of decline in his ability at all. He just won the golden boot in the Euro 2020 competition and will enter his new season at Juventus hungry for a trophy.

When Cristiano does decide to hang up his boots, he’ll leave his mark on the game with one of the most decorated trophy cabinets with: 5 Champions League, 4 FIFA Club World Cup, 3 Premier League, 3 UEFA Super Cup and 2 La Liga – to name a few!

Lionel Messi:


The Argentinian counterpart to the ‘greatest of all time’ debates, Messi wins the title for so many football fans.

At 34 years old, Messi has an array of titles to his name that can set him above the rest – one of those being the fact he has won an unbelievable, record breaking six Ballon d’Or awards, a record that is highly unlikely to be beaten by any other player this generation.

His trophy cabinet also boasts some remarkable achievements; 4 Champions League, 10 La Liga, 8 Spanish Super Cup etc.

Having recently signed a new deal with his longtime and beloved Barcelona, Messi will be eager to captain the team this season back to their winning ways.

LeBron James:


The face of basketball for the past years since Kobe, LeBron has dominated the NBA game in years gone by.

3 NBA Championships and 4 NBA MVP awards are what set him aside and above from many others, as well as being the only player in league history with at least 35,000 points, 9,000 assists and 9,000 rebounds – showing that not only is he an irreplaceable player, but an unselfish teammate to his Lakers counterparts.

Michael Phelps:


The most successful and decorated swimmer and Olympian of all time.

He holds an astonishing 28 medals as well as holding the MOST Olympic Gold medals (23) and Olympic gold in individual events (13) .

The “Flying Fish” retired in 2016 holding records that will be near enough impossible to beat, as a talent like his only comes around once in a while.

Serena Williams:


The former No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. Williams holds a record 23 Grand Slam singles titles – an achievement that no other player is yet to beat.

Her career record makes for some viewing at 855-152 and a win rate of 84.9%.

The legend of the women’s game only furthered her status as one of the best when she even won at the Australian Open whilst eight weeks pregnant, a remarkable game in which she did not drop a single set.

Tom Brady:


Considered by many as the greatest quarterback of all time, Brady is still going strong with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 43 years of age.

He spent the majority of his career with the New England Patriots from 2000 to 2019 before making the move to the Buccaneers in 2020.

His career is nothing short of incredible, and it’s clear to see why he’s considered the best.

Some of Brady’s awards include: 7x Super Bowl Champion, 5x Super Bowl MVP, 3x NFL Most Valuable Player, 2x NFL Offensive Player of the year – and the list goes on and on!

Usain Bolt:


The man who made so many non-Jamaicans root for him every Olympics, Bolt was an undeniable legend and one of the greatest in Olympic history.

He’s regarded by many as the greatest sprinter of all time and is greatly missed this year as we watch the first Olympics without the sprinter competing.

He is an 11-time world champion and holds the world record in races such as: 100 metres (9.58 seconds) and 200 metres (19.19 seconds) – set at the Berlin World Athletics Championships in 2009.

Adam Peaty:


Representing Team GB at this year’s Tokyo Olympics, Peaty has brought pride to the nation with him winning gold on July 26 in the men’s 100m breaststroke – making him the first British swimmer ever to retain an Olympic title.

He is a five-time world record breaker, three-time world champion and now a two-time Olympic champion.

With a career as impressive as his, it can be easy to forget the Brit is only 26 years old, and will no doubt keep performing at the highest level for years to come.

Rafael Nadal:


The Spanish maestro, the undisputed ‘King of Clay’.

Never before has a single surface been so dominated by one single individual until Nadal came along and made every clay court on earth his fortress.

Fortunately, he’s pretty good on other surfaces too and will undoubtedly go down as one of the greatest to ever pick up a racket.

News Now - Sport News