Holley Mangold – 415 lbs
Weighing in at 415 pounds, Holley Mangold is one of biggest female weightlifters of all time and has certainly spent many hours in the gym. Starting her career in 2008, Mangold eventually represented the U.S. team at the 2012 London Olympics and has a personal weightlifting record of 562.2 pounds. However, Holley isn’t the only Mangold to compete at a professional level. Her brother, Nick Mangold, has played as a football center for the New York Jets. Holley currently coaches the Dayton Barbell Club in Beavercreek, Ohio.
Blanka Vlasic – 6’4″
Blanka Vlasic is certainly one of the most successful high jumpers of her generation. An indoor world champion, Vlasic has worked wonders for her home nation, Croatia. Despite suffering from a hyperthyroid condition, she bounced back with many gym workouts, and in total, has accumulated 16 international medals – 12 golds, three silvers, and one bronze. The European athlete of both 2007 and 2010 has also won silver and bronze at the Olympics. She can owe a lot of thanks to her father, who coached her through the hardest of times.
Andre The Giant – 7’4″, 520 lb
The late, great, Andre the Giant was considered by most to be one of the greatest wrestlers ever to step foot in the ring. At his peak, the man billed from “Grenoble in the French Alps” stood at 7ft 4in and weighed a staggering 520lbs. There was no need for any protein shakes, Andre was simply born this way! Even heavyweights such as Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy rarely stood a chance against Andre. The wrestler’s gigantism was a result of an excess growth hormone, and he died in 1993 from congestive heart failure.
Peter Crouch – 6’7″
One of the tallest players in the world of soccer is the center forward Peter Crouch. In a career that spans nearly two decades, “Crouchy,” as his teammates call him, has played for many clubs, including Southampton, Liverpool, Portsmouth, and Tottenham Hotspur, to name a few. He has been at his current club Stoke City since 2011 and at the old soccer age of 36, still remains a crucial player for them. The 6’7 skeleton-like figure defies the expectations that all athletes should be toned and muscular. No personal trainer required for Crouchy.
John Krahn – 7ft, 400 lb
After trying out a variety of cheap gym memberships, John Krahn could challenge some of the biggest wrestlers in the WWE. Krahn is a high school football player with the potential to make into the big time if he carries on working hard. At only 17 years of age, the biggest man in football has time to improve. Coaches aim to get Krahn down to 360lbs. “It’s not one of those deals where he’s overly fat,” Coach Steven Smith said. “His body is proportioned.”
Margo Dydek – 7’2″
There is no doubt that former basketball player Margo Dydek worked out a lot to achieve so much in the WNBA. The woman from Warsaw, Poland was officially the tallest professional player to grace the court. She’ll be best remembered for playing center position for the Connecticut Sun. Later on in her career, she worked in the Queensland Basketball League, coaching the Northside Wizards. Tragically, Dydek passed away on May 27, 2011. She had suffered a heart attack a week beforehand and was in the early stages of pregnancy with her third child.
Gheorghe Muresan – 7’7″
Although he wasn’t one of the most successful players in basketball history, you can tell that he attended many gym workout routines. At 7’7, Romanian Gheorghe Muresan is officially tied with Manute Bol as the tallest basketball player in the history of the NBA. However, the achievement doesn’t end there. Muresan is officially the tallest human being in the whole of the E.U. (European Union.) Also, did you know that he made a cameo in the music video for Eminem’s hit single “My Name Is”?
Randy Johnson – 6’8″
They didn’t call him “The Big Unit” for nothing. You can tell that Randy Johnson did a lot of weightlifting to ensure he had a fantastic throw! The former pitcher played an incredible 22 seasons, primarily for the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He is officially the fifth most successful left-hander ever to grace the game. That’s not all though. Johnson made 4,875 strikeouts, the most a left-hander has ever produced. It also places him second in the all-time rankings, behind Nolan Ryan.
Usain Bolt – 6’5″
In a way, it doesn’t make sense how 6’5 Jamaican runner Usain Bolt has dominated the sprinting scene over the last decade. He is at least a foot taller than most of his competitors. However, it seems like his long legs give him a stride that has never been seen before in athletics. Bolt has done his time at the fitness center, inspiring the Jamaican team to Olympic triumphs, both in London 2012 and Brazil 2016. He is the only sprinter to have won the gold in the 100m and 200m at three consecutive competitions.
Michael Phelps – 6’4″
As swimmers go, Michael Phelps stands out because he is not only the most talented and accomplished of his generation but also one of the biggest. Although not the tallest athlete on this list, his 6ft 4in height sets him apart from his closest rivals. After years of personal fitness training, Phelps has dominated the world stage of swimming since the turn of the century and has spearheaded the U.S. Team to Olympic glory in four of his five competitions. In total, he has won a staggering 28 Olympic medals.
Yao Ming – 7’6″
When he was entering his final season in the NBA, Chinese basketball player Yao Ming was officially the tallest player in the division, coming in at a staggering 7’6″! Not only did he reach the NBA playoffs four times, but he also helped the Houston Rockets win the first round series in 2009. Two years later, Ming decided to retire from the game after a nagging foot injury. Despite trying to get back in the gym, it kept him sidelined for over 250 games of his final six seasons.
Lisa Leslie – 6’5″
Although she isn’t the tallest female athlete in the world, Lisa Deshaun Leslie made history when she became the first female basketball player to dunk in the WNBA. She took after her mother, who also spent a lot of time getting fit in the gym. Leslie performed regularly for her country at both the Olympics and the World Championships, while she currently works as a model. Her most recent goal is to become a successful actress, having already starred in shows such as Sister, Sister, and The Game.
Suleiman Ali Nashnush – 8ft
Officially the tallest athlete in any sport, Libyan Suleiman Ali Nashnush came in at a colossal 8ft! The former basketball player is one of only 17 registered individuals to have ever reached eight feet or higher. Although he had an abnormal growth, which was not caused by any extra professional training, Nashnush was eventually treated for it and underwent successful surgery. He was also an actor, starring in Federico Fellini’s Fellini Satyricon. Despite his peak height being 8ft, Nashnush only reached 7’10” when he played professional basketball.
Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings – 6’3″
Not only is Kerri Lee Walsh Jennings one of the tallest volleyball players of all time, but she is also one of the most successful. After many years spent in fitness centers, the American has smashed numerous leaderboards and has accumulated more Olympic medals than any other competitor. With three golds and one bronze to her name, Jennings has proven that she is the real deal. She contributed, along with teammate Misty May Treanor, to what many consider to be one of the greatest beach volleyball teams ever.
Darya Klishina – 5’11”
As far as female long jumpers go, you can tell that Darya Igorevna Klishina has been one of the most disciplined at the gym. Sadly, the athlete has been branded by her home nation of Russia as a traitor. After the scandal surrounding the Russian national federation, Klishina was in the clear and allowed to compete as a neutral in the 2016 Olympics in Brazil. In fact, she was one of 19 other Russian athletes who did the same thing, so she wasn’t the only one.
Richard Metcalfe – 7ft
One of the tallest men to grace the world of rugby, Richard Metcalfe took a lot of protein shakes to reach such dizzy heights. He was six inches taller than your run-of-the-mill second row forward, meaning that it was always an intimidating experience going up against him. The former rugby player won 13 caps for his native Scotland and spent most of his career at clubs such as Newcastle Falcons and the Northampton Saints. Unfortunately, Metcalfe retired after a long-term knee injury.
Aleksey Kazakov – 7’2″
If there was ever sport where it is an obvious benefit to be tall, it has to be volleyball. So for Russian Aleksey Kazakov, he certainly did a lot of stretches in the gym in service of his country. He took home medals after competing in both the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, as well as the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He won silver and bronze, respectively. During that time, Kazakov also won the bronze for Russia at the 2001 European Championships, which took place in Ostrava.
Mohammad Irfan – 7’1″
The only cricketer on this list is Mohammad Irfan, who has been an important player for the Pakistani national team over the last few years. Not only is he one of the tallest cricketers on the planet, but he is also extremely quick after listening to his fitness instructor. Although he has come under scrutiny in recent times, especially after being suspended in 2017 after accusations of corruption, Irfan was praised back in 2013 when he took it to South Africa with his fast bowling skills.
Nikolai Valuev – 7ft
In an industry full of tall and heavy individuals, boxing saw its records shattered once again when Nikolai Valuev burst onto the scene. With time, and without the need of protein shakes, the Russian boxer became both the tallest and the heaviest world champion in the history of boxing. With 50 wins out a total of 53 fights, Valuev’s record speaks for itself. Since retiring from boxing, Valuev has ventured into the world of politics and has also opened up his own boxing school, the Nikolai Valuev Boxing School.
Brittney Griner – 6’9″
For a start, look at those arms! Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s just make one thing clear – Brittney Griner has worked out a ton to become a great basketball player. She stands out from the crowd because she is the only NCAA player ever to have scored over 2,000 points and also to have blocked a staggering 500 shots! Griner recently had a large part to play in Team US’s basketball victory at the Olympics and since 2013, she has been representing Nike.
Lacina Traore – 6’3″
Nicknamed “The Big Tree,” Lacina Traore has often stood in the shadows of other Ivorian strikers such as Didier Drogba, Wilfried Bony, and Salomon Kalou, who have all had more opportunities at international level. Although the Ivory Coast hasn’t qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Traore does have a few more years on him to do some intense exercise. The tall, gangly striker has already played for clubs such as Monaco, Everton, and Anzhi Makhachkala, scoring goals wherever he has played.
Dane De La Rosa – 6’7″
Dane De La Rosa has certainly been at the gym a lot to become one of the biggest athletes in the whole of professional baseball. The man from Torrance, California has played for huge MLB teams such as the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Although he is currently a free agent, De La Rosa has made a comeback before, having returned from a temporary retirement to sign briefly for the Sugar Land Skeeters. The pitcher’s earned run average is 4.24.
Rik Smits – 7’4″
Although taller players have come along since Rik Smits’ time, there is no denying that “The Dunking Dutchman” was a towering force to be reckoned with. At 7 foot and 4 inches, he didn’t need to train on the treadmill to much to capture the hearts of millions. Smits was also blessed with an incredible arsenal of skills. He spent the entirety of his NBA career playing for the Indiana Pacers. He was also named an NBA All-Star in 1998 inspired his team to the NBA Finals two years later.
Hafthor Julius “Thor” Bjornsson – 6’9″, 400 lb
These days, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson is probably best recognized for his role as Ser Gregor Glegane aka The Mountain in HBO’s Game Of Thrones. However, before his character had numerous moments of sheer horror and violence on the show, Bjornsson actually starred in World’s Strongest Man. For six years in a row, the man from Reykjavik, Iceland has finished in the top three. Standing at 6ft 9in and weighing 400lbs, they don’t call him “The Mountain” for nothing. Bjornsson has obviously use his home gym equipment a lot!
Chuck Nevitt – 7’5″
Having played in the NBA for an incredible 12 seasons, Chuck Nevitt’s has played for numerous teams such as the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls. Although he was never a household name in the world of basketball, having a career that spanned over a decade is an achievement that not many former players can brag about. To this day, Nevitt remains one of the tallest players ever to grace basketball and sport in general. Nevitt required minimal gym classes to get so tall!
Jorge Gonzalez – 8ft
Another athlete to have reached 8ft in his life was the Argentinian-born Jorge Gonzalez, who was a wrestler in his heyday. Known by his ring name El Gigante, Gonzalez ended up working out a ton to get into the most iconic ring of them all, the WWE. He burst onto the scene as Giant Gonzalez at 1993’s Royal Rumble, eliminating The Undertaker in the process. However, it was Taker who got the last laugh when he got revenge on El Gigante at WrestleMania IX.
Konishiki Yasokichi – 633 lb
Officially the biggest rikishi ever to grace the world of sumo wrestling, Konishiki Yasokichi received nicknames such as “Dump Truck” and “Meat Bomb” because of his incredible peak weight of 633lb. Fans weren’t used to seeing foreigners (athletes from outside of Japan) succeeding in the sport. The man from Honolulu, Hawaii, didn’t need a professional personal fitness trainer to become so victorious. He won the top division three times and nearly became the first foreign yokozuna, or grand champion.
Laura Dijkema – 6ft
Standing at a towering 6ft, Laura Dijkema is a giant compared to most of her volleyball teammates. She has continued to work out consistently to be in the prime of her career, playing for Dresdner SC. She has represented the Netherlands at international level, having won three medals in the space of two years. These came at the 2015 Montreux Volley Masters, the 2015 CEV European Championship, and the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix, respectively. She won the ultimate honor for her position in 2017, being award the 2017 European Championship “Best Setter.”
Zdeno Chara – 6’9″
Ice hockey can be a very violent sport at the best of times, so when you are someone as tall as Zdeno Chara, you have to make sure that you attend the fitness center a lot! The Slovakian defenseman comes in at a towering 6’9 and is officially the biggest player ever to grace NHL rinks. Currently, Chara is the captain of the Boston Bruins. Also, he is only the second player to win the Stanley Cup who has been born and raised in Europe.
Hong-Man Choi – 7’2″
Referred to by a variety of nicknames such as the “Korean Colossus,” “Korean Monster and “Techno Goliath,” Hong-Man Choi has done a lot of exercise to become a master of kickboxing and MMA. Although his record has wavered in recent times, Choi is still a national treasure in South Korea and continues to compete in the ROAD Fighting Championship. He has made numerous appearances on Korean TV in the last few years, guest-starring in shows such as 2 Days & 1 Night, Running Man, and Hey Ghost, Let’s Fight.
Andy Fordham – 6’2″, 445 lb
In the professional game of darts, there are many players who do not necessarily need a health club, gym or yoga club membership. Physical well-being hasn’t been the focus of darts players’ developments over the years. If you have the skill and accuracy, that is usually enough to build a career around. Take Andy Fordham, for example. At one point, the London-born pro weighed in at a whopping 445 pounds. Since then, he has lost half the weight.
Ivo Karlovic – 6’11”
Unlike basketball, which has numerous tall competitors, there is no question of who the tallest player is in the world of tennis. Croatian Ivo Karlovic stands head and heels above any tennis player ever to grace the professional courts and didn’t even need a personal trainer! At one point, Karlovic held the record for the fastest serve ever made, coming in at 156 miles per hour. His height has given him the advantage over other players, giving him the power to serve the most career aces ever – 12,255 as of 2017.
Sharran Alexander – 448 lb
Originally from London, 448 lb Sharran Alexander made history when she was named the heaviest sportswoman in the 2013 edition of the Guinness World Records. What is also amazing about the 2nd Kyu grade sumo wrestler is that she is one of the only women professionally recognized by the British Sumo Federation. To this day, Alexander has won four gold medals in international tournaments. Originally a nanny by profession, Alexander did a tone of exercise before starting sumo wrestling professionally fairly late, at 41 years of age.
John Daly – 216 lb
For a sport that doesn’t require too many yoga classes or gym memberships, you would expect there to be more heavyweight golfers. However, the reality is that most players on the PGA Tour are extremely fit, and look the part. John Daly is somewhat of an exception, coming in at 216 lbs, but this hasn’t stopped him from having a fruitful golfing career. Often referred to as “Long John” because of his incredibly long drive, Daly was believed to average a 300 yard plus drive average in the 1997 season.
Eric “Butterbean” Esch – 425 lb
During the infant stages of the UFC, Eric Esch was one of the most recognized and biggest athletes to step into the ring. Commonly referred to as “Butterbean,” the boxer, kick boxer and mixed martial artist has become somewhat of a TV personality, starring in the show Big Law: Deputy Butterbean. He also starred alongside Johnny Knoxville in Jackass: The Movie and a variety of other shows. In his boxing career, Butterbean has proved his personal trainer wrong, after winning a staggering 77 of his 91 matches, with 58 by knockout.
Amazon Eve – 6’8″
American model Erika Ervin is known by millions by her stage name, Amazon Eve. Also working as a professional fitness trainer, Eve stands at a stunning 6 foot 8 inches, with many news outlets referring to her as the tallest model on the planet. She has also appeared on the cover of Australia magazine, Zoo Weekly. Because of her huge publicity, Amazon Eve has even received TV opportunities, with her most notable appearance coming in 2014 when she starred in American Horror Story: Freak Show.
Big Show – 7ft, 383 lb
The spiritual successor to Andre the Giant is without a shadow of a doubt, Paul Donald Wight II aka Big Show. At one point, the man who resides in Tampa, Florida, weighed a whopping 500lbs (zero protein shakes required!). Since then though, Show has lost a considerable amount of weight and currently sits at a respectable 383lbs. The wrestler will be best remembered for bursting onto the scene in the late 90s when he became part of WWE’s Attitude era, sparring with the likes of Kane and The Undertaker.
Aaron Sandilands – 6’11”
Still going to this day, Aaron Sandilands is one of the most towering figures in Australian rules football. At one point, he was officially the tallest and heaviest player in the Australian Football League (AFL). Don’t be fooled though. Aaron Sandilands hasn’t just taken a lot of protein shakes, he is also an extremely talented Australian rules footballer, being named in the All-Australian team for three straight seasons from 2008 to 2010. He has also been honored as Fremantle Football Club’s best and fairest player on two occasions.
Maria Sharapova – 6’2″
People often forget that Maria Yuryevna Sharapova is actually one of the tallest female tennis players in the game. Born in Russia, she moved to the U.S. in the early 90s and since 2001, worked hard at her local gym and fitness center and has been a consistent fixture in the WTA tour. Her career can be summed up as somewhat of a paradox. Although her time on the court has been marred by numerous injuries, she has made multiple comebacks and is still playing professionally to this day.
Jan Koller – 6’7.5″
As far as soccer players go, Jan Koller isn’t just one of the tallest, but he also weighs a lot for such a tall man (no protein shakes required.) In his heyday, the Czech player was a talented goalscorer, netting for the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Monaco, and Anderlecht. He was one of the stars of the famous Czech Republic team that made it to the semi-finals of Euro 2004. Other stars of that team included Milan Baros, Pavel Nedved, and Tomas Rosicky.
Stefan Struve – 7ft
UFC fighter Stefan Struve has been nicknamed the Skyscraper, and for a good reason. After maintaining a serious gym workout routine, the Dutchman is officially the tallest fighter on the company’s entire roster. Although he lost his debut match against Junior dos Santos at UFC 95, Struve has gone on to win an impressive 28 of his 37 matches, including 8 by knockout. The MMA athlete lost his most recent bout against Alexander Volkov. However, Struve isn’t letting this loss dishearten him and intends to bounce back very soon.
Yvetta Hlavacova – 6’4.5″
One of the most talented long-distance swimmers in the game is most definitely Croatian Yvetta Hlavacova. She proved this when she set a world record, swimming across the English Channel in the process and doing it in the shortest time ever (7 hours 25 mins). Despite having a longterm gym membership, the tallest female swimmer in the world struggled to find a club and for 10 years, had to live off endorsement deals. However, after making history with her English Channel endeavor, Hlavacova finally got the attention she deserved.
The Tree Man – 6’7″
One of the biggest athletes of the modern era has made a name for himself through social media and is referred to as “The Fearsome Tree Man.” The story behind the name is pretty simple. A user on Twitter noticed a picture of the 6’7 man with a personal trainer certification and compared his stature to that of a huge tree. “This [is] not a man, this [is] a tree,” the user tweeted. Danny Jones from Southern California must be thoroughly happy with his recent publicity.
Mamadou N’Diaye – 7’6″
When he made his debut at 18 years of age, basketball player Mamadou N’Diaye was already 7ft 6in, which made him the tallest player in the NCAA Division 1. He originally played college basketball for UC Irvine before his NBA draft in 2016. Since then, he has played for Golden State Warriors, Detroit Pistons, and the Grand Rapids Drive. Although the comparisons to players such as Yao Ming and Rudy Gobert is unavoidable, N’Diaye is determined to keep moving forward with his strict fitness routine.
Shaquille O’Neal – 7’1″
Not only is “The Shaq Attack” one of the most iconic players in NBA history, you can tell that he didn’t need a personal trainer to get so tall! At 7ft 1in, there were few who could reach the dizzy heights that O’Neal could.