October 18 – Tops of Their Games

Posted October 18, 2017

The super famous people are few and far between. Almost everyone in the world recognizes their names - and sometimes just one name is necessary.

I'm thinking Einstein, Michael Jackson, Oprah, Marilyn Monroe, JFK, Usain Bolt, Beyoncé...

But there are a lot - lot - lot of people who reach ordinary levels of fame. Many of them have achieved TONS but are only known by a fraction of the general public. Plus, of course, they're known by people in their own field - or sport.

Today we celebrate the birthdays of three accomplished athletes:

Brittney Griner, a professional basketball player, was born on this date in 1990.

She is from Texas. She's crazy tall - 6 feet 9 inches (about 206 centimeters) - and she wears a men's U.S. size 17 shoe. Her arms outstretched to either side reach 86 inches!! (That's more than 7-foot arm span, or about 2.2 meters!)

Griner was ranked the #1 high school women's player in the entire U.S., she went on to be the only National College Athletic Association basketball player to score 2,000 points and block 500 shots, and she has played pro-ball for Russia and for the Phoenix Mercury.

Martina Navratilova was a professional tennis player and coach who was born on this date in 1956 in Prague, Czechoslovakia, and who later moved to and became a citizen of the United States.

She is one of the top women's tennis players of all time. She was #1 in singles for 332 weeks and #1 in doubles 237 weeks - the only player in the history of the world to hold the top spot in both singles and doubles for more than 200 weeks!

(Remember, as you digest that statistic: there are only 52 weeks in a year!)

Lindsey Vonn, born on this date in 1984, is an alpine ski racer. She was born in Minnesota, and she is on the U.S. Ski

Team for the World Cup - winning four World Cup overall championships! (She's one of just two women ever to win that many.) Vonn has won America's only Olympic gold medal in women's downhill skiing. She has won more World Cup races than any other woman in history, and she has won more World Cup crystal globe titles than any human in history. 

Vonn is good at all kinds of skiing. As a matter of fact, she is one of the few women to have won World Cup races in all five kinds of alpine skiing: downhill, slalom, super-G, giant slalom, and super combined. 

When you work really hard and reach the top of your game, you can often do all sorts of other things as well. Griner has an endorsement deal with Nike. Navratilova has had many endorsements and has done a lot of announcing and tennis analysis, but she has also written quite a few books (including a few murder mysteries!) and has appeared on TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Portlandia. Vonn has done ads for companies such as Rolex and Head, has written a book, and has worked as a correspondent for sports news, including covering the Olympics.

Also on this date:

(Third Wednesday in October)


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