YORKSHIRE DAY COUNTDOWN: How Yorkshire sport has scored success and ruled the world

From Olympic heroes to football legends, boxers to cricketers, racing to Rugby League, Yorkshire's sporting heritage is second to none.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 30th July 2016, 8:00 am
An array of Yorkshire sporting greats.
An array of Yorkshire sporting greats.

Everyone knows that if Yorkshire was an independent country, it would have finished 12th in the medal table at the London 2012 Olympics thanks to the likes of Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill, beaming boxer Nicola Adams, the Brownlee brothers Alistair and Jonathan and many more.

As we continue our countdown to Yorkshire Day on August 1, today we take a look at the county's sporting scene and some of the greats who have helped put us on the world map down the decades.

Four years ago, Yorkshire finished up with seven gold medals, two silver and three bronzes at the London games - enough to put it ahead of the Netherlands and Cuba.

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But there's so much more to shout about than just that. Come with us as we take a brief tour of some of the county's sporting greats.


The poster girl of British athletics and London 2012, born in 1986 in Sheffield, the double world heptathlon champion will once again be going for glory in Rio following her golden glory four years ago.


The reigning world, Commonwealth and National road race champion, the Otley born cyclist has enjoyed a glittering career - and she's still only 27 and has already firmly cemented herself in the Yorkshire sporting history books.


One of the most remarkable women in sport, cyclist Beryl Burton won seven world road race and pursuit titles and was British national pursuit champion on 13 occasions while taking the road title a dozen times. Born in 1937 in Leeds, she died while out cycling in 1996.


Born at Kiveton Park, Rotherham, in 1878, he was never more than a journeyman player, but as a manager he revolutionised the game. Huddersfield were league champions in consecutive years after Chapman took the reins and he repeated his feats at Arsenal before his untimely death from pneumonia in 1934.


The Guinness Book of World Records once calculated that this runner from Leeds had run 216,000 miles in a 40-year career that lasted until 1981; the greatest mileage ever and in 1955 he was BBC Sports Personality of the Year.


The Scottish Rugby Union legend was born in 1946 in Headingley. He won 32 caps and captained the team on nine occasions. He also coached the Scots to a Grand Slam in the Five Nations and has also enjoyed a glittering career in club rugby.


York-born Anita won the gold medal at the 200m breaststroke at the 1960 Olympics in a world record time. Her career saw her win seven golds, three silvers and two bronze medals in Olympic, Commonwealth Games and European Championships.


Aged 52, a record, when he played in his last test match, cricketer Rhodes could look back on a career adorned with records. Born at Kirkheaton, near Huddersfield in 1877, he is said to be the only man to have appeared in more than 1,000 first class matches while another record was the 4,187 wickets he took in his career. He did the double of 100 wickets and 1,000 runs in one season an incredible 16 times.


In only his sixth test match and against the might of Australia, Hutton made the world record score of 364 runs. It was to be two decades before that total was bettered. Cricketer Hutton was born in 1916 in Fulneck near Pudsey and he went on to captain England.


“Sir Geoff” and “Greatest Living Yorkshireman” are just two of the nicknames bestowed on one of the best batsmen England has seen. The records speak for themselves: the first England batsman to pass 8,000 runs, the first English player to average more than 100 in a season, 151 first class centuries and more than 48,000 runs.


His name has been almost forgotten, but there’s a strong case for saying that Morley was one of the most influential men in sporting history. Born in Hull, the keen footballer wrote to a prominent publication suggesting that the game needed a governing body and common rules. This led to him becoming a founding member of the FA in 1862 - and the modern game was born.


Mention Sheffield-born Banks and you think THAT save; diving downwards and backwards in the 1970 World Cup as Brazil maestro Pele seemed certain to score. Banks’ proudest moment came four years earlier when he was part of the team that brought England its only World Cup.


Cricketer Fiery Fred was born only yards from the Nottinghamshire border in 1931 and he made his Yorkshire debut in 1949. He went on to become the first bowler to take more than 300 test wickets. Always outspoken and never far from controversial comments, he died in 2006.


As a centre forward he was lethal, scoring 204 goals in 222 appearances for Middlesbrough and Sunderland before a cruel injury cut him short. As a boss, he guided unfashionable Derby County and Nottingham Forest to glory. Clough was born in Middlesbrough, then Yorkshire, in 1935.


Although not the greatest cricketer, Lord is known far and wide because the world’s most famous cricket ground bears his name. Born at Thirsk in 1755, Lord was brought up in Norfolk where he became a useful bowler and moved to London to join the prestigious White Conduit cricket club, helping form the MCC.


At Liverpool as a player and Newcastle as a player then manager he became a huge favourite; his skill united with enormous enthusiasm. Born at Armthorpe, Doncaster, in 1951, he won three league titles, an FA Cup and the European Cup. For England he won 63 caps and scored 21 goals and was later as successful boss.


Possibly one of Yorkshire's best known sporting characters, Staincross born Dickie, whose real name is actually Harold, gained the nickname at school and was a keen cricketer before taking on the role that made him famous, a world class cricket umpire who officiated alongside all the game's greats.

Of course, the list of Yorkshire sporting heroes is huge and we just haven't got room to list them all. But other world champs include Doncaster's taekwondo ace Sarah Stevenson, superbike star James Toseland, rower Debbie Flood, sailor Paul Goodison, triathlon champs Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, Sheffield squash champ Nick Matthew and cycling legends Ed Clancy and Ben Swift.

From the boxing world there's Naseem Hamed, Kell Brook and Clinton Woods, snooker and darts have given us Joe Johnson, Dennis Priestley and John Walton while other Yorkshire born sports stars include Jason Robinson and Mike Tindall (rugby union), Olympic swimming champ Adrian Moorhouse and Hull 2012 boxing gold medallist Luke Campbell.

Athletes Dorothy Hyman and Sheila Sherwood also tasted Olympic success, along with showjumpers John and Michael Whittaker while other names include cricketer Darren Gough, charity fundraiser and athlete Jane Tomlinson and Masters golf champion Danny Willett.

Yorkshire is also regarded as the birthplace of football - with Sheffield FC the world's oldest football club, its players first having kicked a ball in 1857.

And of course, there are numerous racecourses - with the world's oldest classic, the St Leger a regular fixture on the calendar at Doncaster since 1776.

We know we've missed plenty - probably some of your favourites and probably a few glaring omissions, but hopefully we've given a taste of just how Yorkshire is undefeated when it comes to serving up sporting legends.