Best Athletes of the 1970s


The Top Ten

1 Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali Muhammad Ali (January 17th 1942 - June 3rd 2016) was an American former professional boxer . He was generally considered among the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport.
2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.
3 Mark Spitz Mark Spitz Mark Andrew Spitz is an American former competitive swimmer, nine-time Olympic champion, and former world record-holder in seven events.
4 Richard Petty
5 Ken Dryden
6 Carlos Monzon
7 Vasily Alekseyev

In my opinion, best European athlete ever.

8 Phil Esposito
9 Johan Cruyff Johan Cruyff Hendrik Johannes Cruijff (1947-2016) was a Dutch professional football player and coach. As a player, he won the Ballon d'Or three times, in 1971, 1973, and 1974.
10 Roger Staubach Roger Staubach Roger Thomas Staubach, nicknamed Captain America and Captain Comeback, is a former American football quarterback in the National Football League.

The Contenders

11 Nadia Comaneci Nadia Comaneci

She´s the best!

12 Teófilo Stevenson

Teófilo Stevenson Lawrence was a Cuban amateur boxer and engineer. Stevenson is one of only three boxers to win three Olympic gold medals, alongside Hungarian László Papp and fellow Cuban Félix Savón.The BBC described him as "Cuba's greatest boxer, once its most famous figure after Fidel Castro".

Stevenson also won three gold medals in World Championships.

He was unbeaten for eleven years (1971-1982).

After the 1976 Olympics he refused a proposal of 5 million USD from American promoters to challenge Muhammad Ali. The amount was the same as of George Foreman in the "Rumble in the Jungle".

During his career, he won 302 fights and lost 22.

After his death, George Foreman declared "Stevenson was better than all of us".

As Stevenson is regarded the greatest amateur boxer of all times, a 15 min. film described the truth "Ali vs. Stevenson: The Greatest Fight That Never Was".

13 Bjorn Borg
14 Martina Navratilova Martina Navratilova
15 Franz Beckenbauer Franz Beckenbauer Franz Anton Beckenbauer is a German former professional footballer and manager. Early in his playing career he was nicknamed Der Kaiser because of his elegant style, dominance and leadership on the field, and also as his first name "Franz" is reminiscent of the Austrian emperors.

A lot of world unknown athletes are included in this list.Franz should be in the top ten.

16 Nikolai Andrianov

The 3nd greatest Olympian after Phelps and Latynina.

17 Niki Lauda

Andreas Nikolaus Lauda is an Austrian former Formula One driver and a three-time F1 World Drivers' Champion, winning in 1975, 1977 and 1984. He is currently (2019) the only driver to have been champion for both Ferrari and McLaren, the sport's two most successful constructors. He is considered by some as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time.
Having emerged as Formula One's star driver amid a 1975 title win and leading the 1976 championship battle, Lauda was seriously injured in a crash at the 1976 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring during which his Ferrari burst into flames, and he came close to death after inhaling hot toxic fumes and suffering severe burns. However, he survived and recovered enough to race again in weeks time.
He retired in 1985 having started in 171 races and won 25.

18 Chris Evert Chris Evert
19 Bob McAdoo
20 Olga Korbut

One of the greatest female gymnasts ever.

21 Lasse Virén

4 gold Olympic medals in 5 and 10km.

22 Yurik Vardanyan

Yuri Norayrovich Vardanyan was a Soviet weightlifter of Armenian origin. Vardanyan won a gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics, becoming the world's first weightlifter to achieve a 400 kilogram total in the 82.5 kg weight category.
During his career (1976-1985) set 41 world records, holding all the records of his category (started lower, 75 kg) since 1976.
He earned the title Honoured Master of Sports of the USSR in 1977. Vardanyan had won 7 gold medals and one silver medal at the World Weightlifting Championships, putting him just in second on the all time medal count, behind the legend Vasily Alekseyev. He was multiple senior world record holder in total between 1978�"92.
Vardanyan is hailed as a hero in Armenia for his deeds in the sport of weightlifting. A stamp of Vardanyan was printed in 2010 in honor of him.

23 Renate Stecher

The first woman who run the 100m (track and field) within 11 seconds, world and Olympic champion.

24 Giacomo Agostini

Giacomo Agostini is an Italian multi-time world champion Grand Prix motorcycle road racer. He has an absolute record of 122 Grand Prix wins and 15 World Championships titles.

25 Eddy Merckx

The best professional road and track bicycle racer.

26 Jackie Stewart

Sir John Young "Jackie" Stewart, OBE is a British former Formula One racing driver from Scotland. Nicknamed the "Flying Scot", he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers' Championships (1969,1971,1973) and twice finishing as runner-up over those nine seasons.
Stewart held the record for most wins by a Formula One driver (27) for 14 years until Alain Prost won the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix.

27 Larry Robinson
28 Tamás Faragó

Tamás Faragó is a former Hungarian water polo player, regarded as one of the greatest players of all times. He competed in all major international tournaments between 1970 and 1980 and won three medals at the Summer Olympics (gold 1976, silver 1972, bronze 1980) and five at the World and European championships. In the mid-1980s he played for German clubs. After retiring from competitions he became a water polo coach, guiding the Hungary's junior and women's national teams. In 1993 he was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

29 Gilbert Perreault
30 Rod Carew
31 George Brett
32 Joe Frazier Joe Frazier Joseph William Frazier, nicknamed "Smokin' Joe", was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics.

Joe Frazier definitely needs to be counted among the best athletes of the 1970’s. After all he won the fight of the century against Ali and came out as the undisputed heavyweight champion. He gave Ali the beating of his life.

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List Stats

100 votes
32 listings
1 year, 277 days old

Top Remixes

1. Muhammad Ali
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
3. Mark Spitz


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