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5 World Famous Athletes Who Actually Have Health Problems

The ability to maintain perfect performance forces athletes to design a thorough and effective training system to compete with opponents who have the same ambitions.

Creating a name as a sports legend is not easy, but many are successful. How they can succeed and what the secret is is a long journey full of sacrifices and hard work.

Athletes are ordinary human beings but need to give extraordinary performances when competing. So they are not free from emotional stress and hope. Sports psychology between aspects should be given attention by athletes during the preparation and competition phases.

You must be imagining someone whose body is at its optimum level in terms of muscle strength as well as health. Only by having a body that is often said to be a peak physical condition can an athlete compete for 100% increase his chances of winning.

However, there are 5 athletes who actually have to compete while having health problems. Interestingly, the constrains did not stop them from success.

1.Venus Williams

Serena Williams rallies to defeat sister Venus at WTA event - Los Angeles Times

Former world number 1, Venus Williams is well known as one of the best tennis players in the world along with her sister, Serena Williams. Williams became the first black woman to win the world number 1 title in 2002 since the format of the international tennis tournament was changed in 1968.

In 2011, while participating in the US Open, Williams was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease labeled Sjogren syndrome. The long-term syndrome inhibits the human body’s ability to produce moisture in the skin, causing problems with muscle movement.

2. Oscar Figueroa

Rio Olympic weightlifting hero Oscar Figueroa banned from Pan American Championships in 'whereabouts' crackdown

This story of a weightlifter from Colombia is one of the most inspiring stories when we talk about Olympic athletes. Due to his goof performance, Figueroa managed to represent his country in the 2004 Olympic Games but returned without a medal after only finishing fifth.

His second participation in the Games in 2008 ended in disappointment after he failed to perform in the forced.

Examinations revealed that he had a spinal hernia, which resulted in his right hand failing to function at his actual strength.

He returned to the 2012 Olympics, managed to match the Olympic record at that time but only qualified him to win a silver medal.

Figueroa again underwent surgery in early 2016 on his spine, returned to the 2016 Olympics, and won his first gold medal which was also the first gold medal for Colombia.

3. Lou Gehrig

Did Lou Gehrig actually die of 'Lou Gehrig's disease'? | PBS NewsHour

Lou Gehrig, his name will be remembered as the name associated with his own illness, Lou Gehrig syndrome.

A talented baseball player, Gehrig’s success on the field as a batsman is feared by all, and his record in the sport in the United States still fails to break by the other players to this day.

In 1983, during the running of the league season, Gehrig began to frequently complain about problems with his body even though his performance was still said to be stable before his performance began to decline to start in 1939 and he chose not to be relegated, just sitting on the sidelines playing his job as team captain.

After the diagnosis was made, Gehrig was diagnosed with a mysterious disease that caused him to lose muscle strength, paralysis, and is expected to be able to live only for another 3 years. Gehrig dies in June 1941.

The mysterious disease he faced continued to be known as ‘Lou Gehrig Syndrome’, a progressive that attacks the body resulting in damage to one’s nervous system.

4. Lionel Messi

One of the world’s most famous football players, Lionel Messi has been facing the problem of body growth since he was young at the age of 11, known as ‘Growth Hormone Disorder (GHD).

At the age of 2011, Messi’s height remained at 4 feet 2 inches when he was diagnosed with GHD by a physician. To help their child grow up, Messi’s family had to spend around RM3,800 a month to get a hormone injection that will help him grow.

That is why the two Argentine giants chose not to risk signing him, before Spanish Club FC Barcelona agreed to bear the medical costs, allowing Messi not only to grow but also to help stimulate the development of the brain, vision, and immunity.

Now, Lionel Messi has a height of 5 feet 7 inches, has been named the best player in the world, and has won many domestic and European league titles.

5. Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt's Final 100-Meter Race: 'There He Goes' | WUWM

Scoliosis is a medical condition that Usain Bolt had suffered from a young age and caused him to have a curved spine. It also resulting in Bolt suffering many injuries as a result of the load his body had to bear because he did not realize he had the problem.

His spine has an ‘S’ shape, leaning more than 40 degrees requires Bolt to do special exercises to strengthen his waist in order to better accommodate movement.

Due to this problem, the way Bolt runs is also different. He reportedly hit the ground with his right foot stronger than his left foot and his left leg was found to be standing longer, due to his body trying to balance his body posture while running.

Bolt announced his retirement from the sports world in 2017 and we all know, the world record set in 2009 still standing to this day.

Sources:, Youtube,,,

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