By Special Correspondent
If we asked you to think about where elite sports stars come from the Caribbean would probably not be anywhere close to the top of your list. There have been plenty of top names originate out of the cluster of islands though.
Here we prove it with a look at the best Caribbean athletes of all time.
Number 5. Mijain Lopez, Cuba
Kicking off our list of the best Caribbean athletes of all time is perhaps the lesser-known of our five, Greco-Roman wrestler Mijain Lopez. Lopez had his first success at the age of 20 when he won Gold at the Pan American Games in Maracaibo. It proved the start of a glittered career.
Across his career, the Cuban born wrestler won a haul of 36 medals with 31 of them being the top prize. His highlights? Probably the back to back Gold medals at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.
Number 4. Roberto Clemente, Puerto Rico
When sports start changing their Hall of Fame induction criteria to honour someone, you know that person has done something special. Well, that’s what happened for baseball star Clemente. He tragically passed away far too young with that a key reason behind the change in rules. It takes nothing away from his displays in the MLB though.
For starters, the Pittsburgh Pirates legend won two World Series during his career but it’s the individual achievements that really impress; 12 consecutive Golden Gloves, 15 All-Star appearances and a World Series MVP award.
Number 3. Sir Vivian Richards, Antigua and Barbuda
To say the West Indies are a well respected cricketing nation would be an understatement. What does it say of a player who has national stadium named after him then? Well, that he’s very good for one thing. Not only is Richards one of the best Caribbean athletes of all time but he’s also regarded by many as the best cricketer ever.
Why? Well, he was happy to go all guns blazing to take apart bowlers for one thing, which endeared him to fans. Beyond that, he boasts plenty of records; Richards had the quickest ever century, reached 1,000 runs quicker than anyone else and then to cap it all off he was knighted for his services to the sport.
Number 2. Tim Duncan, US Virgin Islands
It’s hard to ignore Tim Duncan. He’s one of the best defensive players in NBA history after all. Duncan spent his entire career with then San Antonio Spurs after being their first pick in the 1997 draft. His time there started with a Rookie of the Year award but quickly escalated into so much more.
Fast forward to him calling it a day and Duncan had won five NBA Championships, won three Finals MVP awards, two league MVP awards and made 15 All-Star appearances. In 2016, the Spurs retired his number as a mark of his legendary status.
Number 1. Usain Bolt, Jamaica
Of course, topping our list is Usain Bolt. The Jamaican sprinter is one of the most widely loved personalities in the world of sport owing to his huge and happy characteristics. It’s not just one the personality side where Bolt excels though.
He’s also a freak that performs beyond the normal limits of the human body. Bolt holds two world records – the 100 and 200m times – along with the world’s best time in a 150m race.
His greatest achievement though is the fact that he’s scooped eight Olympic Gold medals; he’s got another 15 from other Championships too as well as five silvers and a single bronze.
There you have it, the best Caribbean athletes of all time. Who should we have included?