10 Famous Athletes From West Yorkshire

From Olympians to footballers, West Yorkshire has been home to some of the biggest sporting stars! So we thought we’d take a look at some of the successful sporting careers of just a few…

Manning Stainton

1. Alistair & Jonathon Brownlee


Born in Dewsbury the Brownlee brothers are a force to be reckoned with! The Triathlon superstars famously took to the podium as gold and silver medallists in 2012; the first time brothers had stood next to one another on an Olympic podium since 1908! Since then brothers have continued their global success. Their sibling sportsmanship was admired worldwide when Alistair helped an exhausted Jonny over the finish line in the the World triathlon Series in Mexico! The Brownlee brothers have been an inspiration and raised the profile for triathlon across the country! 

2. Nicola Adams


Brought up in Burmantofts, Nicola Adams became the first British woman to win an Olympic boxing gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. That wasn’t enough for Nicola who then went on to defend her title in 2016. Since then Nicola has turned professional and is adding to her long list of achievements.
Outside of the ring Adams is celebrated for her influence within the LGBT community being the first openly LGBT athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. Both her professional and personal life makes her an inspiration across Leeds and the rest of the country.

3. Josh Warrington


Leeds born boxing champion, Josh Warrington or ‘The Leeds Warrior’ as he is otherwise known has held onto his IBF featherweight title since May 2018. His list of achievements is lengthy, including WBC international, European, Commonwealth, British and English Featherweight titles! His victory against Lee Shelby in 2018 made him the first male boxer from Leeds to win a world title.  He’s definitely doing Leeds proud!

4. James Milner


Born in Wortley and later schooled in Horsforth, James Milner is a local hero! Milner began his career with his debut for Leeds United in 2002 at the age of 16. Making him the second youngest player to ever play in the premier league! Since his early days, Milner has gone on to play for a host of successful clubs including Manchester City and Liverpool and made 61 appearances for England. It’s safe to say Milner is an inspiration for many young local footballers. 

5. Jonny Bairstow


Bradford Born Jonny Bairstow has made a successful English Cricketing career with 63 match appearances for England. Bairstow potential was first recognised when he was chosen as the winner of the Young Wisden School Cricketer of the Year award. Since then Bairstow has gone from strength to strength playing for both Yorkshire and England. Making his International debut back in 2011, Bairstow continues his impressive sporting career to this day.

6. Hannah Cockcroft


Born in Halifax, Hannah Cockcroft (MBE)(DL) has become a worldwide sporting sensation. Holding world records in 200m, 400m, 800m and 1500m she really is a force to be reckoned with! Cockcroft showed the world her extraordinary sporting strength in the 2012 London Paralympics, winning 2 gold medals. Just when we thought she couldn’t trump her own success, Cockcroft went on to win a further 3 gold medals in Rio 2016 Paralympics. Hannahs success and determination is something to be admired, not just across West Yorkshire but around the world! 

7. Jack Laugher


Another MBE from Yorkshire; Jack Laugher born in Harrogate is a British diving champion- competing for both England and Great Britain. Laugher is a springboard specialist making a name for himself during the 2016 Olympics in Rio, winning gold as 1 half of the synchronised duo with Chris Mears in the 3m Springboard event.  If that wasn’t enough Laugher went on to win silver in the individual event at the same games!

8. Lizzie Deignan (Armistead)


In the spirit of the upcoming Tour de Yorkshire it would be wrong not to recognise Lizzie Deignan for her cycling success! Born in Otley, since her cycling potential was first spotting at Prince Henrys Grammer School she has gone on to win countless British and world titles for both track and road cycling. In 2012 Deignan won a silver medal in the Olympic road race. In 2017, Lizzie won on home ground in the Tour de Yorkshire crossing the finish line over a minute before her nearest competitor!

9. Nile Wilson


Pudsey Born Nile Wilson is a British gymnast and a YouTube sensation!  Born in 1996 Wilsons early career got off to a flying start when he won the British Junior Championship in 2014. After winning a series of medals in the Commonwealth Games, 2016 saw Wilson’s first Olympic appearance and what a great one it was! He became the first ever British athlete to win a bronze medal on the horizontal bar event. Whilst Wilson still continues his successful gymnastics career, he has also found fame online with over 1 million YouTube subscribers tuning into his channel to see his workouts, daily life and of course his gymnastics.

10. Sam Burgess

Sam Burgess

Another Dewsbury born sportsman, Sam Burgess has resided a little further afield in Sydney Australia to continue his successful sporting career. Professional rugby player Burgess began his successful Super League career debuting for The Bradford bulls in 2006. Since then, Burgess has played for England and Great Britain. In 2009 Burgess was signed by South Sydney Rabbitohs embarking on a 4 year contract, Burgess then made the short switch to Rugby union back on English soil, before returning to South Sydney where he continues his affluent career!

Whether you enjoy watching, competing or just giving it a go, the sporting talent to come out of West Yorkshire is second to none!

Leeds Guides & Property Insights