Redgrave beats Botham (and Beckham) to head poll of Britain's sporting greats

Chris Gray
Sunday 05 January 2014 02:43

Sir Steve Redgrave has beaten legendary names such as Bobby Moore, WG Grace and Stirling Moss to top a list of Britain's all-time sporting greats.

The five times Olympic gold medallist also outpaced Sir Bobby Charlton and David Beckham into second and third place and left Virginia Wade, Henry Cooper and JPR Williams trailing in his wake.

Sir Steve's rowing partner Matthew Pinsent was 35 places behind him in the list complied from a survey of 1,000 people for a new book to be published at the end of the month.

British Sporting Greats, published by Cassell Illustrated contains 50 essays paying tribute to some of the country's leading sports personalities.

Polly Powell, publishing director of Cassell Illustrated, said she was not surprised that Sir Steve had topped the poll as, "I don't think he's ever come second in his life".

Sir Steve announced his retirement in October 2000 after winning a fifth gold medal at the Sydney Olympics. It followed medals at Los Angeles in 1984, Seoul in 1988, Barc-elona in 1992 and Atlanta in 1996, and made him the first Olympian to win gold at five successive Games in an endurance sport. He had announced his retirement in 1996 after winning his fourth gold saying: "I hereby give permission to anybody who catches me in a boat again to shoot me." But changed his mind four months later.

Ms Powell said: "There are sportsmen and women from 15 different sports from soccer to sailing. This diversity is something we have really tried to convey in the collection of essays. It demonstrates the strength of British sport, particularly when you consider the list of greats who didn't make the top 50, from legends such as Duncan Edwards to modern-day heroes such as Alan Shearer."

Jayne Torvill, who won the Winter Olympics Ice Dance gold medal in 1984 with Christopher Dean, was the highest placed of the four women on the list, at 12th.

The top 15

1 Steve Redgrave

2 Bobby Charlton

3 David Beckham

4 Ian Botham

5 Bobby Moore

6 Daley Thompson

7 WG Grace

8 Roger Bannister

9 Lennox Lewis

10 Seb Coe

11 Stanley Matthews

12 Torvill & Dean

13 Linford Christie

14 Nick Faldo

15 Fred Perry

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