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10 Things: Multisport athletes

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1. Bo Jackson is rightfully considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. He played baseball and football professionally, and was named to both MLB and NFL all-star teams in 1989 and 1990. Prior to his professional career, he won the Heisman trophy—awarded to the most outstanding player in college football—and even considered a career as a sprinter.

2. Clara Hughes, a Canadian sport icon, was a dominant force at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games. She won two bronze medals as a cyclist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and 10 years later, she earned another Olympic gold medal—this time as as a long track speed skater in Turin. Over her dual-sport career, she earned six Olympic medals in total, tied with fellow speed skater Cindy Klassen for the most ever in Canadian history, and is one of only five athletes to medal at both the Summer and Winter Games.

3. Like Jackson, Deion (Primetime) Sanders mastered the gridiron and the diamond. Voters inducted Sanders—one of the best cornerbacks in football history—into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. He is the only athlete to ever hit an MLB home run and score an NFL touchdown in the same week.

4. Nate Ebner, current safety for the New England Patriots, became the first active NFLer to double as an Olympian when he made Team U.S.A.’s rugby sevens roster for the 2016 Summer Games. He was also the youngest player ever to play on the American national sevens rugby team, debuting at age 17.

5. Herschel Walker was an NFL All-Pro running back in 1987 and 1988, competed in bobsleigh during the 1992 Winter Olympics, and had a brief MMA career. On top of these accomplishments, he earned a fifth-degree black belt in taekwondo and appeared in the Fort Worth Ballet.

6. Jim Thorpe became the first Native American to medal at the Olympic Games when he claimed Olympic gold medals in the 1912 pentathlon and decathlon, representing the United States. Additionally, he played professional football and baseball. He was named first-team All-Pro in the NFL in 1923. After his death, it was discovered that he also played basketball professionally. His legacy lives on as each year the best defensive back in American college football receives the Jim Thorpe Award.

7. Gene Conley was a four-time all-star pitcher who led the Milwaukee Brewers to a world series in 1957. After his baseball career, he switched to basketball and won three NBA championships with the legendary 1959-1961 Boston Celtics, for a career total of four major-league championships.

8. Lolo Jones was the brake-woman on the U.S. Bobsled team at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Before bobsled, she ran the 100m hurdles at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. Although she has never medaled in the Olympics, she has earned two gold medals in the 60m hurdles at the World Indoor Championships.

9. American Babe Zaharias, born in 1911, paved the way for future generations of female athletes by embracing her athleticism in the face of restrictive beauty standards and societal norms. She racked up two gold medals in the 1932 Olympics in both hurdles and javelin. After her track career, Zaharias became a professional golfer, winning an impressive 10 majors. Altogether, she won six Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year awards in a span of 22 years.

10. Jim Brown is known as one of the greatest football players of all time, but few know that he was also an excellent lacrosse player. He received his scholarship to attend Syracuse University for lacrosse, and was just a walk-on football player at the time. However, Brown quickly showed his immense talent as a running back, placing fifth in Heisman voting in his junior season. Between nine Pro Bowl appearances, three NFL MVP awards, and an NFL championship ring, his football accolades speak for themselves.