In its purest form, sprinting is one of the most exciting and popular athletic disciplines. Seeing the fastest people in the world go head to head gets the adrenaline pumping, even if the major appeal is in the spectacle lasting for as few seconds as possible.
Both members of the legendary Jamaican sprinting team, Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, expressed interest in joining team sports (soccer and cricket). Bolt ended up playing in a friendly for the Central Coast Mariners, using his blistering pace to score twice.
Not all naturally fleet-footed runners make their way onto the athletics circuit, though, with some deciding to deploy their speed in other arenas. In team sports, the focus is on the unit and strategizing a win as a unit, but each individual still goes all-out to make the most of any edge that they could get.
They may not run as far in one go, but these sports stars will turn on the burners whenever they’re on the field to blaze past the opposition, utilizing their sprint speed to stand among the best of their respective sports.
Cheslin Kolbe (Rugby Union)
In a sport of hulking, muscular players who are constantly on the move and grinding in big tackles, a bit of speed can prove to be the difference. While there are many speedy players in rugby union, South Africa’s Cheslin Kobe stands out.
Standing a tickle over 5’6’’, the fullback is very nimble on his feet to squirm away from tackles, but his greatest weapon is his sprint speed. If he sees a gap, he’ll break into it and power through for a try. Players clocked in greater maximum speeds at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, but Kolbe managed to maintain an average speed of a massive 20.92 m/h.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Association Football)
Arguably the best association football player in the world right now, Cristiano Ronaldo will almost certainly go down as one of the best players of all-time. While his skill on the ball is otherworldly, his sprint speed is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of his game as he can outpace anyone on the field.
In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldo clocked in a speed of 21.1 m/h en route to a 3-3 draw with Spain, during which he scored all three goals for his country. He may now be 34 years old, but his speed is still one of his primary weapons. In the upcoming Euro 2020 tournament, Portugal will once again rely on his speed and skill to win them games as they’re at +600 in the international football betting to win their group, which also features Germany and France.
John Ross (American Football)
At the 2017 NFL Combine, wide receiver John Ross broke the record for the fastest 40-yard dash, clocking in a 4.22-second run. Although suffering from injuries and playing for a very poorly equipped team, Ross has been able to showcase his mesmerizing speed in the NFL since being drafted.
According to the NFL, as reported by the Bengals, Ross ran a deep post route in a training session which clocked in at 23.2 m/h. The trailblazing pace of Ross would have easily defeated the top speed seen in the NFL last season – 22.05 m/h by Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. For the record, just last year – and without running spikes – Usain Bolt tied the record set by John Ross on a 40-yard dash without running spikes and in some casual, baggy attire.
While these players wouldn’t be able to contend with the world’s elite sprinters, they’ve certainly utilized their natural speed to gain an edge on the field.