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General: Greatest ever multi-sport athletes

Do you remember that kid in your class who was just good at everything? Imagine that and times it by infinity and you'll get some of these stars.

To be a professional sportsperson, you need to have talent, focus and dedication. However, some have that little bit extra and can compete at the top level in not just one discipline but two or even more.

Botham turns his hand to football

On this day in 1980, cricket legend Ian Botham made the first of 11 appearances for Scunthorpe United, coming on as a replacement in a Division Four clash at Bournemouth.

While 'Beefy' didn't enjoy quite the impact he would have liked away from the crease, fellow cricketer Arnold Sidebottom did have a bit more exposure on the football field, playing professionally for Man Utd, Huddersfield and Halifax.

Others, such as former All Black Jeff Wilson, have represented their country in two sports. Wilson won 60 caps for New Zealand while also playing five ODIs and a T20I for his country's cricket team.

Wednesday saw the retirement of tennis world number one Ashleigh Barty. A three-time Grand Slam winner, most recently ending her country's 44-year-wait for a home winner of the Australian Open, Barty also previously represented the Brisbane Heat in the Women's Big Bash in 2015 and is known to be a fine golfer.

USA leads the way

However, America is where the multi-sports specialists reign, with some even managing to squeeze in time to excel in a third, fourth or more disciplines.

Michael Jordan famously quit basketball in 1993 to play baseball in tribute to his late father.

Jordan would return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995, going on to win three further titles under Phil Jackson to take his tally to a record six NBA Championships.

Did you know that Tom Brady's magnificent NFL career almost didn't happen? The seven-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback was included in the 1995 MLB draft and selected by the Montreal Expos, only to change his mind when he learned of interest from the NFL and head to college instead.

Incredibly, Brady is arguably the greatest American Footballer of all time, but he might not be the most all-around talented athlete to play in the NFL.

Sanders and Jackson lead the way

As far as the modern-day goes, that title could go to Deion Sanders, who is the only man to have played in both a Super Bowl and the World Series.

American Football was his major passion, winning back-to-back Super Bowl rings with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and the Dallas Cowboys in 1995.

His time in baseball was not quite as successful, but that is speaking in very, very relative terms. Sanders played for the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 World Series, going down 4-2 to Toronto Blue Jays.

By the end of his career, "Prime time" had played for five NFL franchises and the same number in baseball.

In a similarly successful sporting boat to Sanders, Bo Jackson also played in the majors in both American Football and baseball.

Drafted first overall in 1986 after winning the previous year's Heisman Trophy, the now 59-year-old chose to snub the NFL and instead play baseball, linking up with the Kansas City Royals.

Jackson's NFL dream wouldn't go away, though, and he played the two sports simultaneously between 1987 and 1990, turning out as a running back for the LA Raiders.

He was named the MLB All-Star game's MVP in 1989 and while it would have been tough to foresee just how far his all-around athleticism would take him during his teenage years, a couple of state championships in the decathlon during his high school tenure in Alabama were probably a decent indication.

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Zaharias the Queen of versatility

A three-time US Women's Open winner, Babe Didrikson Zaharias was the world's leading female golfer when she sadly died at just 45 in 1956.

However, it would be unfair to say that her talents were simply confined to the links. Babe won three medals as a home hope at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, taking gold in the 80m hurdles and javelin and a silver in the high jump.

Previously, she was named an All-American for basketball in college and was also a talented baseball player, taking part in MLB exhibition games and spring training.

However, it was golf where Zaharias made her name, adding to her US Women's Open titles by completing what was then the Grand Slam of the Western Open and Titleholders Championship.

She would win each major at least three times and is rightly a member of the Hall of Fame.

Thorpe the greatest of them all?

As undeniably great as all of the above are, Jim Thorpe is surely the greatest multi-sport athlete of them all.

Thorpe took Olympic gold in both the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Games in Stockholm.

He also played professional American Football for 13 years, being named in the NFL's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Not to be forgotten, the Oklahoma-born star featured in Major League Baseball for seven seasons and had a stint in the paid ranks in basketball.

Whatsmore, he broke down barriers with his Olympic successes the first by a Native American and in 2000 he was named ABC Sports' Greatest Athlete of the Twentieth Century, topping the likes of Jordan, Muhammed Ali and Jesse Owens.

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