The Most Influential Black Athletes of 2021

For decades black athletes have made their mark in showcasing sporting prowess, and helping move the world forward. We all know the stories of Jesse Owens racing to Olympic gold in Berlin in the 1930s, and the iconic story of Jackie Robinson's rise to prominence in the world of baseball in the late 1940s.

Walt Davis inspired arguably the greatest player of all time in basketball, Michael Jordan, who then became the idol for the next generation. Tiger Woods has done similar for modern-day golfers, and the Williams sisters have inspired many in tennis. But who are the most influential athletes of the last 12 months who may become generational talents too?

Simone Biles

Simone Biles is the face of gymnastics across the world, winning a combined 32 Olympic and World Championship medals, and all by the age of just 24 years old. The sporting achievements of the young woman born in Columbus, Ohio are startling; she's broken records that have stood for decades. Her bronze medal gained in Tokyo saw her equal a record that was set in 1966, for the most medals won by a female gymnast. It's not a surprise she was named Time Magazine's athlete of the year. Away from the intensity of competition, she's also stood up for women's rights and spoke openly about her health problems. Simone Biles is an inspiration to so many, and there's no doubt because of her, many more black women will continue to dream big.

Kendrick Carmouche

The jockey from Louisiana is one of the finest on the horse racing circuit, following his father's footsteps into a sport that white athletes have dominated. When he made it into the running aboard Bourbonic for the Kentucky Derby in 2021, he couldn't hide his excitement. "I hope it inspires many people because my road wasn't easy to get there, and I never quit," He said after becoming the first Black rider to qualify for the race since 2013. However, he didn't win the race. Bourbonic finished 13th in the Derby in 2021 and is not amongst the favorites in the latest horse racing betting odds from Ladbrokes for the 2022 race. Instead, Corniche and Echo Zulu are out in front, but there's every chance Carmouche will get a ride again this year, and who knows what he can achieve?

Stephen Curry

The Golden State Warriors have one of the NBA's all-time greats, proven by many experts saying he belongs in the same conversation as Michael Jordan for his achievements on the court. But, his story is one of inspiration. Coming from the relatively small college team from Davidson, North Carolina, and only being a seventh-round pick when joining the Warriors, he's just grown year by year and is now arguably THE icon in basketball. LeBron James, who is an inspiration and legend in his own right, said he was in awe of Curry in the All-Star game, and well, he should know what a quality player looks like!

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