The World’s Largest Athletes – They Are Truly Massive
Published in Jun 2021 / Updated in Jul 2021
The world of sports is filled with some of the biggest people have ever seen. To some athletes, their height gives them an advantage in their sport. And to others, it’s just a liability.
Today, we’ve got some big names for you! So, if you’re ready to be blown away, have a look at this list of the world’s largest athletes of all time!
Nataliya Kuznetsova – 5’7″, 225 lb
Nataliya Kuznetsova is a Russian professional female bodybuilder. Kuznetsova, who is only 29 years old, is the world champion in arm lifting, bench press, deadlifts, and the European champion in bench press and deadlifts. Kuznetsova started powerlifting at the age of 14 with the hopes of gaining muscular bulk.
This formidable woman received her diploma from the Moscow State Academy of Physical Culture in 2013. She and her husband, Vladislav Kuznetsov, now live in Moscow.
Holley Mangold – 415 lbs
Holley Mangold, who weighs 415 pounds and has spent countless hours at the gym, is one of the most powerful female weightlifters of all time. Mangold began her weightlifting career in 2008 and represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympics.
She holds a 562.2-pound personal lifting record. But Holley isn’t the only Mangold who has competed professionally. Nick Mangold, her brother, was a center for the New York Jets football team. In addition, Holley is the head coach of the Dayton Barbell Club, based in Beavercreek, Ohio.
Sharran Alexander – 448 lb
To this day, Sharran Alexander has won four gold medals in international tournaments. Originally a nanny by profession, Alexander did a ton of exercise before starting sumo wrestling professionally at the late age of 41.
Sharran Alexander, a 448-pound native of London, made history in 2013 when she was declared the heaviest sportswoman in the Guinness World Records. The fact that the 2nd Kyu grade sumo wrestler is one of the few women officially recognized by the British Sumo Federation is also remarkable.
Maria Sharapova – 6’2″
The fact that Maria Sharapova is one of tennis’s tallest female players is usually overlooked by fans. She was born in Russia and came to the United States in the early 1990s, where she spent so much time and effort at her local gym until 2001 when she joined the WTA circuit.
Despite several injuries she sustained during her time on the court, Maria has made multiple comebacks and continues to play professionally to this very day.
Konishiki Yasokichi – 633 lb
Konishiki Yasokichi, the world’s largest rikishi (sumo wrestler), earned the nicknames “Dump Truck” and “Meat Bomb” due to his unbelievably massive weight of 633lb. Foreigners succeeding in sumo wrestling was an unusual sight to Japanese fans.
To achieve such success, the man from Honolulu, Hawaii didn’t need the help of a professional personal fitness trainer. Three times he won the top division and came close to becoming the first foreign yokozuna, or grand champion.
Margo Dydek – 7’2″
Margo Dydek, a former basketball player, worked really hard to achieve so much in the WNBA. Officially, the woman from Warsaw, Poland, was the tallest professional player on the court. She is most known for her time as a center with the Connecticut Sun.
Later in her career, she coached the Northside Wizards in the Queensland Basketball League. Dydek died tragically on May 27, 2011, a week after suffering a heart attack while pregnant with her third child.
Emmanuel “Tiny” Yarbrough – 6’7″
Judging by Emmanuel Yarbrough’s freakish size, his nickname is definitely misleading. His preferred sport was sumo wrestling, which was understandable given his size. Yarbrough weighed in at 828 pounds and set a Guinness World Record for the heaviest athlete alive.
His accomplishments were not limited to sumo wrestling. Emmanuel dabbled in mixed martial arts as well as judo. In judo, he earned a brown belt and a silver medal at the US Nationals.
Stefan Struve – 7ft
Stefan Struve is known as “the Skyscraper” in the UFC, and for a good reason. At 7’ tall, the Dutchman is officially the tallest fighter in UFC history.
Despite losing his first UFC fight against Junior dos Santos at UFC 95, Struve has won 28 of his 37 fights, 8 of them by knockout. The MMA fighter’s most recent fight was a loss to Tai Tuivasa, after which he decided to retire due to health issues.
The Tree Man – 6’7″
The Fearsome “Tree Man” has made a name for himself using social media platforms, and he’s one of the biggest athletes in the modern era.
So how did this name come into life? A Twitter user compared the 6’7 man’s size to a massive tree after seeing a photo of him with a personal trainer certification. “This [is] not a man, this [is] a tree,” the user commented. Danny Jones of Southern California must be enjoying his new media attention!
Amazon Eve – 6’8″
Amazon Eve is the stage name of the American model Erika Ervin, who is well-known to millions of people worldwide. According to several news sites, Eve, who also works as a professional fitness trainer, stands at a towering 6 feet 8 inches, making her the world’s tallest model.
Her face also appeared on the cover of the Australian magazine Zoo Weeklycover in 2009. Amazon Eve has even got TV roles due to her widespread fame, with her most noteworthy performance being in American Horror Story: Freak Show in 2014.
Andre The Giant – 7’4″, 520 lb
The late Andre the Giant was regarded as one of the best wrestlers ever to enter the ring. The guy from “Grenoble in the French Alps” was 7ft 4in tall and weighed a whopping 520 pounds. Andre’s gift was natural, so there was no need for protein shakes or steroids!
Even heavyweights like Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy couldn’t compete with Andre. The big size of the wrestler was caused by an excess of growth hormone. He died of congestive heart failure in 1993.
Jorge Gonzalez – 8ft
Jorge Gonzalez, an Argentinian-born basketball player and later a pro wrestler, was an athlete who grew to be 8 feet tall. As he was known in the ring, El Gigante put in a lot of effort into getting into the most famous ring of them all, the WWF (now the WWE).
He made his debut as Giant Gonzalez at the Royal Rumble in 1993, defeating The Undertaker in the process. However, the undertaker avenged his loss to Gonzalez at WrestleMania IX.
Mamadou N’Diaye – 7’6″
This basketball player was already 7ft 6in tall when he made his debut at 18, making him the NCAA Division 1’s tallest player. Before being drafted into the NBA in 2016, he played collegiate basketball for UC Irvine.
He’s played for the Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons, and Grand Rapids Drive since then. Although comparisons to other players like Yao Ming and Rudy Gobert are inescapable, N’Diaye ignores that and keeps going with his strict training regimen.
Randy Johnson – 6’8″
There’s a reason why they call Randy Johnson “The Big Unit.” This big guy clearly did a lot of weightlifting to make sure he had a great throw!
The former pitcher played 22 seasons, mostly with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks. He is the fifth most successful left-handed pitcher in baseball history. Johnson set the record for the most strikeouts by a left-hander, with a total of 4,875. This also puts him in second place all-time after Nolan Ryan.
Usain Bolt – 6’5″
Who doesn’t know Bolt? The Jamaican runner dominated the sport of running for the past decade in a mind-blowing fashion. He stands at least a foot taller than the majority of his opponents. His long legs appear to give him a stride that has never been seen before in sprinting.
Bolt has put in most of his time in training, leading the Jamaican squad to Olympic victories in both London 2012 and Rio 2016. He’s the first sprinter to win the 100m and 200m gold medals in three tournaments in a row.
Michael Phelps – 6’4″
Michael Phelps stands out among swimmers because he is not only the most gifted and successful athlete of his time but also one of the tallest. Despite not being the tallest athlete on the list, his 6ft 4in height makes him among the biggest in his sport.
Phelps has dominated the international stage of swimming since the turn of the century, leading the United States to Olympic success in four competitions. He has a total of 28 Olympic medals to his credit.
Gheorghe Muresan – 7’7″
Although he was not one of basketball’s most successful players, you can tell he wasn’t skipping gym days! Gheorghe Muresan of Romania is officially tied with Manute Bol as the NBA’s tallest basketball player at 7’7”. And this giant’s achievement doesn’t stop there.
Muresan has also managed to be named the tallest person in the European Union. Not only that, but he also made a cameo in Eminem’s music video My Name Is.
Yao Ming – 7’6″
Here’s the famous meme we all know and love! Yao Ming, a Chinese basketball player, was officially the tallest player in the NBA as he approached his final season, standing at a remarkable 7’6′′! He not only made the NBA playoffs four times, but he also assisted the Houston Rockets in winning the first-round series in 2009.
Unfortunately, after a chronic foot injury, Ming retired from the game two years later. Despite his efforts to return to the gym, he was sidelined for over 250 games over the course of his final six seasons.
Jan Koller – 6’7.5″
Jan Koller is not only one of the tallest football players, but he also weighs a lot for such a big man. The Czech striker was a prolific goalscorer in his prime, scoring for Borussia Dortmund, Anderlecht, and Monaco.
He was one of the famous Czech Republic team stars that made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2004. Milan Baros, Tomas Rosicky, and Pavel Nedved were among the team’s other stars.
Darya Klishina – 5’11”
Compared to other female long jumpers, Darya Igorevna Klishina looks like she never skipped a single day at the gym! Unfortunately, this hard worker’s native country of Russia has labeled her a traitor, following the scandal of the national federation of Russia.
Like many other Russian athletes, Klishina was allowed to compete in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil as a neutral.
Blanka Vlasic – 6’4″
Blanka Vlasic is, without a doubt, one of the greatest high jumpers, especially of her generation. Vlasic, the indoor world champion, has done a lot for Croatia, her home nation. Although she suffered from a hyperthyroid condition, she managed to get back on (or, shall we say, off) her feet with strict gym routines.
She won 16 international medals in all, including 12 golds, three silvers, and one bronze. In both 2007 and 2010, Vlasic also won silver and bronze in the Olympics. Many of these successes are owed to her father, who always helped her get through difficult times.
Chuck Nevitt – 7’5″
Throughout the length of his 12-year career, Chuck Nevitt played for various teams in the NBA, including the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, and Detroit Pistons.
Although he was never a household name in basketball, having a 12-year NBA career was an accomplishment in and of itself! Nevitt is still one of the all-time tallest players in basketball and sports in general.
Brittney Griner – 6’9″
Just looking at her arms says it all! Brittney Griner stands out as the only NCAA player to ever score over 2,000 points and block a whopping 500 shots.
Griner has been promoting Nike since 2013, and she played a key role in Team USA’s Olympic basketball win.
Rik Smits – 7’4″
Even though taller players showed after Rik Smits’ time, “The Dunking Dutchman” was, without a doubt, an unstoppable force. This tower of a man played for the Indiana Pacers for the whole of his NBA career.
In 1998, he was selected as an NBA All-Star, and two years later, he led his team to the NBA Finals.
Lacina Traore – 6’3″
Dubbed “The Big Tree,” Lacina Traore has frequently been overshadowed by fellow Ivorian attackers like Didier Drogba, Wilfried Bony, and Salomon Kalou, who have all had greater international opportunities. However, despite Ivory Coast’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Traore still has a few years to put in some serious work.
The giant striker has already played for Monaco, Anzhi Makhachkala, and Everton, scoring many goals at each of his previous teams.
Dane De La Rosa – 6’7″
The Torrance, California native is one of the biggest athletes that entered the game of baseball. De La Rosa has previously played for major league teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
While he’s now a free agent, De La Rosa has already made a comeback, signing with the Sugar Land Skeeters after temporary retirement. The pitcher has a 4.24 earned run average.
Zdeno Chara – 6’9″
A tough sport like Ice hockey requires a firm body, especially when you’re as tall as Zdeno Chara! The Slovakian defenseman stands at 6’9″ and is officially the tallest player to ever enter an NHL rink.
Chara is the current captain of the Boston Bruins. In addition, he is just the second European-born player to win the Stanley Cup.
Andy Fordham – 6’2″, 445 lb
The shape isn’t usually an issue in professional darts; accuracy and skill should be enough for you to build a successful career in the sport. Andy Fordham is a good example of that.
The London native, an icon of the sport, tipped the scales at 445 pounds. He’s dropped half his weight since then, though!
Jon Rauch – 6’11”
Jon Rauch is not your usual tall baseball player. In fact, at 6’11”, he is the tallest player ever to enter the MLB! He is a right-handed pitcher who spent much of his career in that position. Rauch was a member of the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks, among other MLB clubs.
Rauch’s performance in the league undoubtedly contributed to his Olympic Gold Medal.
Eddy Curry – 7′
Curry’s dream was to become a gymnast until he joined the basketball team at his high school. Although his initial plan was not to play basketball, Curry was thought to be one of the best NBA players drafted from high school. He stands seven feet tall and weighs a staggering 295 pounds. He is not a regular athlete whatsoever!
Additionally, his stature helped him succeed in his sports career, allowing him to play for many of the NBA’s most prestigious teams, such as Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, and New York Knicks.
After seeing how big human beings can get, which athlete’s size blew your mind the most? Let us know!