11 Incredible Athletes, 25-and-Under

Meet the next generation of crazy-young, scary-talented outdoor athletes
Staff Writer


John John Florence, 20, has been a pro surfer for 14 years.

Sorting through candidates for The Active Times 50, our first annual list of the world's best outdoor and endurance athletes, we noticed a lot of fresh faces. For the most part, these incredible athletes were learning their respective sports as toddlers—strapping on skis before they could walk, surfing North Shore breaks between play dates or blazing fast on bikes when their peers were still on training wheels—and began competing soon after.

By now, these young guns have mastered their sports, and are some of the most talented athletes in the world. David Lama has made huge technical alpine ascents in Patagonia and the Himalaya. Steph Gilmore has won more ASP surfing championships than any other woman. Aaron Gwin is dominating the Mountain Biking World Cup. Adam Ondra has established the hardest climbing routes on earth.  Kilian Jornet Burgada is a five-time world champion ski mountaineer who also runs up huge mountains. Marianne Vos is a six-time cyclocross world champion and Olympic gold medal cyclist. Rich Froning is CrossFit's hulking "Fittest Man on Earth for two years running. Sasha DiGiulian is an Ivy Leaguer whose idea of "higher education" is sending 5.14d. John John Florence has been a pro surfer since he was six. Ashton Eaton is the world record-holder at the heptathlon and decathlon and, since taking gold at the 2012 Olympics, is widely considered the greatest multisport athlete ever. And Ashima Shiraishi, well, she's only 11, and cruises spider-like up gnarly rock walls.

These are the latest, greatest young athletes, the 2.0s who are quickly climbing the ranks into the pantheon of greats and legends who went before them. Click through, and prepare to wonder what you've done with your life.


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