Special Report

38 Most Successful Athletes of the 21st Century

Source: Matthias Hangst / Getty Images

21. Marit Bjørgen
> Sport: Olympic skiing
> Championships: 8x gold medal
> Team or country: Norway
> Career length: 2002-present
> Other accomplishments: 15 total medals in five Olympics

Though she may not be a household name, Marit Bjørgen has established herself as one of the greatest Olympic athletes ever. The Norwegian skier has won 15 medals, eight of which are gold, during five Olympics.

Source: Bruce Bennett / Getty Images

22. Martin Brodeur
> Sport: Hockey
> Championships: 3x Stanley Cup, 2x gold medal
> Team or country: New Jersey Devils
> Career length: 1991-2015
> Other accomplishments: 7x All-Star, 4x Vezina Trophy

Martin Brodeur was the centerpiece of the New Jersey Devils dynasty of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Brodeur played goalie for three Stanley Cup championship teams, won four Vezina Trophies as the NHL’s best goalie, and took home two Olympic gold medals for team Canada.

Source: Adam Pretty / Getty Images

23. Michael Phelps
> Sport: Olympic swimming
> Championships: 23x gold medal
> Team or country: United States
> Career length: 2000-2016
> Other accomplishments: 28 total medals in five Olympics

American swimmer Michael Phelps is by far the most decorated Olympian of all time. He’s won 28 medals, 23 of them gold, at five different Olympic games.

Source: Ryan Pierse-Pool / Getty Images

24. Novak Djokovic
> Sport: Tennis
> Championships: 12x Grand slam
> Team or country: Serbia
> Career length: 2003-present
> Other accomplishments: 223 weeks as #1

In 2016, Novak Djokovic became the first man in nearly five decades to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. He’s won a total of 12 majors in his life.

Source: Andy Lyons / Getty Images

25. Peyton Manning
> Sport: Football
> Championships: 2x Super Bowl
> Team or country: Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos
> Career length: 1998-2015
> Other accomplishments: 14x Pro Bowl, 7x All-Pro, 5x MVP

Peyton Manning more than lived up to the hype of being a top overall pick in the NFL Draft. Manning won five MVP awards and two Super Bowls, one with the Indianapolis Colts and the other with the Denver Broncos.