The Leicester City FC manager was widely derided when he was initially appointed. However, the 64-year-old Italian was instrumental in leading the team to overcome odds of 5,000/1 and win the English Premier League in 2015-16, a feat he achieved with a collection of bargain buys and lower league recruitments. This was not only one of the greatest accomplishments in soccer, but one of the greatest in sporting history.
In 2014, Roberts, a lawyer, became the first female union leader of the four major professional sports in North America when she was elected executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. Roberts has been instrumental in working with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in extending the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement to seven years, according to reports.
Known as the ‘Iron Nun,’ Buder, 86, is an active triathlete and nun. Buder holds the world record as the oldest person to complete a triathlon, a triumph accomplished at age 82 by finishing the Subaru IRONMAN Canada in 2012. She was inducted into the United States Triathlon Hall of Fame in 2014. Nike featured Buder in an ad that aired during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.
China aims to be a soccer superpower by 2050, and it’s partly up to Ma Chengquan to help achieve that goal set by soccer enthusiast President Xi Jinping. Chengquan is president of the country’s domestic soccer league and has overseen big spends on players, including Jackson Martinez, Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Graziano Pelle. His decisions play an increasingly influential role in the world’s most popular game.
The 67-year-old American business woman began her portfolio in entertainment (she was co-founder of BET and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts) before entering the sports world. Johnson, the first African-American woman to procure a net worth of $1 billion, is now part owner of three professional sports franchises in the United States: Washington Capitals (National Hockey League), Washington Wizards (National Basketball Association) and Washington Mystics (Women’s National Basketball Association).
This year has cemented Sakaguchi as one of the most revered and respected horse trainers in the world. In his stable is Japanese thoroughbred ‘A Shin Hikari’, one of the greatest racehorses in the world at the moment. After claiming victory in the prestigious Hong Kong Cup at the end of 2015, the racehorse has won nearly every competition over the last twelve months under the guidance of Sakaguchi.