Olympians have wracked up some of the most impressive feats in history. Simply qualifying for the Olympic Games is worthy of celebration but for some, just turning up wasn’t enough. Over the course of its history, the Olympics has hosted some of the most incredible participants the world has ever seen. These Olympians are practically superhuman, having overcome disabilities in order to fight their way to the top. Nothing could stop these sportspeople and they will go down in history as true athletes.
- George Eyser
Gymnastics is all about balance so when George Eyser lost his leg in a train accident, it seemed like his Olympic hopes were all but lost. Not wanting to give up, Eyser was fitting with a wooden prosthetic leg that led to poor performance after poor performance on the first day of the Olympic Games in 1904. The next day, however, there was change in the air and Eyser picked up a whopping 6 medals over the course of the events. The gymnast went on to compete until 1909, having made a name for himself across the world.
- Oliver Halassy
Water-based sports like polo require a lot of leg action in order to keep players afloat. It’s all the more incredible, then, that Oliver Halassy became a vital part of the Hungarian national team, after having lost his leg during his childhood. As well as helping the team win a slew of Olympic medals, Halassy also enjoyed a career as a champion swimmer, proving that you can do whatever you set your mind to.
- Lis Hartel
Crippling diseases might affect your body in any number of ways, but that’s no reason why you can’t bounce back from them. For horse rider Lis Hartel, it seemed like a bout of polio might be the end of her riding career, after it suddenly paralyzed the athlete. Incredibly, physical therapy seemed to save Hartel, first restoring movement back in her knee and enabling her to mount a horse once more. Over the next few years, Hartel picked up medal after medal and while she never quite nailed Olympic gold, she more than made a name for herself.
- Marla Runyan
The clue’s in the name with Marla Runyan and despite being declared legally blind, the runner still went on to enjoy Olympic success. Despite only being able to make out fewer and fewer things in her field of vision, the athlete was always at ease on the road and so running became a natural sport for her. After championing the Paralympic games, Runyan went on to compete in the 2002 Sydney Olympic Games. That wasn’t the end of the story and in the years since, Runyan competed at event after event, picking up a fair share of medals along the way.