A famous American writer, Orison Swett Marden once said, “There can be no failure to a man who has not lost his courage, his character, his self-respect, or his self-confidence. He is still a King.
Such is the case with some sportsmen and women who despite the odds life has thrown on their path, never give up on their dream of returning to the top.
There are few sportsmen and women who have made it to the pinnacle and remained there for as long as the end of their career but not a few have bounced back after such career trauma.
One of such is Tiger Woods, who on Sunday, April 14, 2019, after 11 years of waiting clinched his fifth Golf masters tournament after 14 years of waiting.
Here are four other great sportsmen alongside Tiger Woods who resurrected from the valley back to the podium.
Tiger Woods shot himself to stardom in 1997 when he won his first major, the Masters, in record-breaking fashion and became the tournament’s youngest winner at age 21.
He dominated golf from that day on and never displayed any sign of relenting on his oars wining the PGA Champions, US Open and a back-to-back Masters Tournament in 2001 and 2002.
However, injuries began to mar his professional career but he kept fighting on. He decided to take a break to resolve his marital issues with his wife, Elin from December 2009- April 2010.
His hiatus from the game did not make any difference as he finally divorced his wife who almost wrecked him as a result of the alimony she filed for and that period was the most trying time for Woods as he fell to number 58 in the world rankings November 2011.
However, Woods personal problems persisted outside of golf, alongside injuries which led to undergoing four back surgeries in 2014, 2015 and 2017.
He bounced back from the valley in September 2018 winning the Tour Championship and on April 2019, he won the 2019 Masters after eleven years.
The history of modern days Basketball cannot be completed without mentioning “His Royal Airness” Michael Jordan.
Jordan’s fame in Basketball is what is being celebrated most but there was a time he remained in the valley for long and many could have thought that was the end of a bright career.
Jordan announced his retirement in 1993 because he was burdened by the emotional trauma of the murder of his father who was so dear to him.
After reconsidering his decisions, on March 18 1995, he made his famous two-word announcement: “I’m back”
The next day, Jordan took to the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, scoring 19 points. The game had the highest Nielsen rating of a regular season NBA game since 1975.
Though his return was not much spectacular like he had started, but after some times, the next three seasons were fantastic for Jordan
In 1988, Jordan was honoured with the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year Award and became the first NBA player to win both the Defensive Player of the Year and MVP awards in a career (since equaled by Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, and Kevin Garnett; Olajuwon is the only player other than Jordan to win both during the same season.
Agassi turned professional at the age of 16 and competed in his first tournament at La Quinta, California and won his first match against John Austin.
Despite failing to lift any title during his early stage in tennis, Agassi finally hit the bull eye in 1995 when he was ranked number one in the world after beating his bitter rival, Sampras in a four-set final at the Australian Open.
His bright career hit the rock after his cataclysmal relationship with wife, Brook Shields and injuries which led to poor performance on the court.
His dismal performance saw him falling down the pecking order leading to the abyss of depression and his world ranking nosedived to a stunning 140.
Like other sportsmen, he got up and dusted himself, got out of his predicaments, embraced his racket and returned to the court.
He started gaining momentum gradually and in 2002, he became the oldest player in history to reach ATP world number two ranking and on April 28, 2003, he became the oldest top-ranked male player.
The football icon was the first teenager to score a brace in the FIFA World Cup as he dazzled the world with his fantastic skill to win the title in 1958.
In 1962, he was the cynosure when the Selecao won the World Cup for the second time.
He became the most targeted player by opponents in the 1966 World Cup as Brazil were eliminated from the group stage after Pele was severely injured as a result of several hard tackles in the games against Bulgaria and Portugal.
People thought he was done and will no longer be involved in football at his young age, but the man was never going to listen to the naysayer.
In 1970, he returned with Brazil to the World Cup and helped them to lift the title in his fourth appearance.
Hogan ruled the world of golf in the pro circuit and was on a wild winning streak and was not ready to give up.
He is one of only five golfers to have won all four major championships: the Masters Tournament, The Open (despite only playing once), the U.S. Open, and the PGA Championship. The other four are Nicklaus, Woods, Player, and Gene Sarazen.
Hogan and his wife Valerie survived a head-on collision with a Greyhound bus on a fog-shrouded bridge, early in the morning, east of Van Horn, Texas on February 2, 1949. Hogan threw himself across Valerie in order to protect her. He would have been killed had he not done so because the steering column punctured the driver’s seat.
The accident left Hogan, age 36, with a double-fracture of the pelvis, a fractured collar bone, a left ankle fracture, a chipped rib, and near-fatal blood clots: he would suffer lifelong circulation problems and other physical limitations.
His doctors said he might never walk again, let alone play golf competitively. While Hogan was in the hospital, his life was endangered by a blood clot a problem that led doctors to tie off the vena cava. Hogan left the hospital on April 1, 59 days after the accident.
Hogan regained his strength by extensive walking and resumed his golf activities in November 1949. He returned to the PGA Tour to start the 1950 season at the Los Angeles Open, where he tied with Sam Snead over 72 holes, but lost the 18-hole playoff.
Hogan would confound doctors by not only walking again but returning to his beloved game. In 1953 he became the only player–until Tiger Woods came along.