Most famous Canadian athlete of all-time?

Georges St-Pierre

Georges St-Pierre is not the most popular Canadian athlete of all time.

So Dana White, head honcho of the UFC, believes Georges St. Pierre is the most famous Canadian athlete of all time.

No offence to GSP, but he doesn’t even come close. I don’t think he would actually crack the top 10.

First off, there’s Wayne Gretzky. Easily the most popular athlete ever in Canada. People who don’t follow sports know who the Great One is, even if you only mention his number (99). The same can’t be said for St. Pierre.

Besides Gretz, there’s Larry Walker (the best Canadian baseball player of all time), Steve Nash (the best basketball player of all time) and Lennox Lewis, one of the best boxers of all-time.

Then there’s guys like Jacques Villeneuve and his dad Gilles in auto racing, figure skaters Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko, Mike Vanderjagt (the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history), golfer Mike Weir, soccer player Owen Hargreaves, runners Donovan Bailey and Ben Johnson, and so on.

And that doesn’t include the multitude of famous hockey players, such as Bobby Orr, Mario Lemieux and Gordie Howe.

Does St. Pierre rank above any of them in popularity? Certainly. But from that list alone, you could easily argue GSP doesn’t make the top 10.

But when asked about the popularity of great hockey players, White countered with this:

“Some guy started to argue with me about Gretzky and all these others … do people care about Gretzky when he shows up in the Philippines or the U.K. or all the other countries?”

Ah, so now we’re switching to other criteria, popularity in other countries. Obviously, a soccer country like England would probably recognize Hargreaves over St. Pierre.

But if popularity the world over is the only criteria, there’s no need to debate this. There’s only one person who comes close to being Canada’s most popular athlete.

Bret Hart


That’s right. The Hitman is the most popular athlete ever to hail from Canada. He was hugely over, especially overseas.

He was so popular in his heyday with the WWF, that he was voted as the most popular athlete in Germany for three straight years.

So if that’s the criteria, it’s got to be Bret Hart. Most famous in Canada: Wayne Gretzky.

Sorry Dana White, but St. Pierre isn’t even close.



Filed under Sports blogs I like

6 responses to “Most famous Canadian athlete of all-time?

  1. For me it would be Wayne Gretzky because even though I’m not a hockey person, I still know him. I would have gone with The Hitman but his drama with WWE kinda swept that away from him.

  2. Mr. Right

    Dana said that GSP is the most famous Canadian Athlete of all time. He didn’t say he is the most famous Canadian athlete in Canada.
    Dana is correct. GSP is the most famous Canadian athlete in the world right now. He is more widely known by people around the world than any other athlete Canada has every produced.

    • But if you look at worldwide popularity, then it’s Bret Hart. Like I said, he was so popular he was being voted most popular athlete of other countries.

      • Dave Darling

        With all due respect to Bret Hart he’s NOT an athlete, because athletics suggests competition – As most people hopefully know professional wrestling is an exhibition and relies on the action being choreographed or staged – So while it’s certainly true that the participants are extremely athletic individuals they are NOT athletes in the true sense of the word, and should be classified as “entertainers” – Comparing Bret Hart to GSP is like comparing “apples to oranges” – DD

  3. claude

    Gretzky is only known in North America and a handful of European countries, the same goes for any other hockey (or NFL…) players mentioned above,
    As for the others many of them might have been more popular then GSP for their times, but in 2011 most people that aren’t die-hard sport fan either forgot or don’t know about them.
    Therefore I think it’s very possible that today if we asked the question
    “Who is the most famous Canadian athlete of all time that you know of?”, GSP would be a leading candidate, perhaps #1. That said… my money is on Nash since basketball far more global and mainstream then UFC.

  4. End of Silence

    what make’s GSP the most interesting Canadian Athlete is not the Fights in the UFC but the example he sets as the most discipline champion a man that came from nothing being bullied at school as a kid and becoming a great champion setting an example to all champions he is always respectful and professional . I hope he retains his title till he decides to retire from UFC

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