Start receiving our award-winning magazine today!

Subscribe
  • Phelps' maximum speed of about 6 miles per hour has earned him 14 Olympic gold medals. But a bluefin tuna, which can be found off of the coast of Long Island, can swim at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
  • Bolt, clocks in at a remarkable 28 miles per hour over 110 yards. Meanwhile, a cheetah can run 71 mph over 300 yards. Even if Bolt were to come close, cheetahs make fast and abrupt turns while hunting prey in the African desert.
  • Known for his speed and agility, Federer darts back and forth across a 36-foot court during matches. But White-handed Gibbons are considered the fastest and most agile primates, throwing themselves up to 50 feet between branches in the rainforest.
  • Though they are incredibly in synch, the choreography that synchronized divers use to guide their jumps cannot compare to a flock of migratory birds, which is guided by the Earth's magnetic fields.
  • Hummingbirds have very weak feet and can barely walk — not much help on the balance beam where Johnson shines. But these agile little birds can fly forward, backwards and upside down!
  • Fencers use three different types of swords to hit their opponents in one-on-one matches; Sailfish use their pointed bills to stun the shoals of fish that are their prey.
  • Leaping 47 inches vertically, Kerri Walsh Jennings can certainly out-jump many of her competitors on the sand courts where she plays volleyball. But a mountain lion has her beat: These cats can jump 15 feet vertically.
Nature's Athletes
See how the world's best athletes measure up to the athletic prowess found in nature!

We’re Accountable

The Nature Conservancy makes careful use of your support.

More Ratings

x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Get our e-newsletter filled with eco-tips and info on the places you care about most.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

We respect your privacy. The Nature Conservancy will not sell, rent or exchange your e-mail address. Read our full privacy policy for more information. By submitting this form, you agree to the Nature.org terms of use.