Human to Hero: Inspiration in sport

By Gary Morley, CNN

Updated 1459 GMT (2259 HKT) March 28, 2016
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The tennis star has a new focus after becoming a father for the first time ahead of his Olympic title defense at the Rio 2016 Games. Read more Alex B. Huckle/Getty Images/file
In 2012 he became the first Cypriot to win an Olympic medal. Now the laser class sailor is targeting gold in Rio de Janeiro. Read more
Best of friends and fierce rivals, the brothers are hoping to repeat their London 2012 triathlon success at the Rio Olympics. Read more CNN
Born in Colombia, she was adopted by a Norwegian family but had to leave her new home to become boxing's first undisputed women's champion. Read more Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
How does a deaf player cope in the cauldron of professional rugby? Like this CNN
The legendary mountain-bike champion is gearing up for the final challenge of his remarkable career at Rio 2016. Read more PETER DECONINCK/AFP/GettyImages/file
One of 10 children, she lost her mother at an early age -- but has made her name in the macho world of horse racing, becoming the first female jockey to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup. Read more CNN
His fearless attitude has helped him overcome career-threatening injuries to become the brightest young star in motorcycling, challenging MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi. Read more JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images/file
He decided to amputate his leg after suffering through 13 operations in three years and nearly losing his will to live, but that hasn't stopped Richard Browne from becoming a record-breaking champion sprinter. Read more Francois Nel/Getty Images/file
The youngest of three international skiing sisters, the 21-year-old from Montreal has taken the freestyle world by storm, winning Olympic gold and charming fans. Read more CNN
The Paralympics champion talks to her wheelchair. It even has a name. At first she hated the idea of using one -- hated the very idea that she might be disabled -- but the three-wheeler she calls "Boo" has been her ticket to a life that far exceeds the bounds of "normal." Read more CNN
He's the record-breaking pinup boy of international rugby, but the sporting gods did not smile kindly on the World Cup odyssey of All Blacks star Dan Carter until his grand farewell. Read more Cameron Spencer/Getty Images/file
It was always going to take an extraordinary performance from a very talented swimmer to beat Michael Phelps at his favorite event in an Olympic final. Read more
For Andre Iguodala, basketball is a game of teamwork, selflessness, leadership and, oddly, cooking. The NBA's "chef" has whipped up a championship-winning recipe. Read more Ronald Martinez/Getty Images/file
When the judo champion carries her country's flag at the 2016 Olympics, her powerful fighter's shoulders will also bear the weight of expectation of a nation finally gaining recognition after being ripped apart by war. Read more Michael Steele/Getty Images/file
In times of trouble, the world looks for superheroes -- and Japan has its own "Superman." Kohei Uchimura is a sporting superstar with a social conscience. Read more KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images/file
You could say Ellen Hoog is the model sportswoman -- the Dutch hockey star is on course to make Olympic history, and she has the perfect answer to those who focus on her looks rather than her stick work. Read more CNN
Gymnast, acrobat and now cliff-diving champ -- the tomboy known as "Rocco" has learned to conquer her fears. Read more Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Content Pool
Diving's boy wonder has come of age -- and come out -- since winning a world title at the age of 15. Read more CNN
The unlikely "rock god" has redefined the world of sport climbing. Read more CNN
He's a multimillionaire who captains one of the world's wealthiest football clubs, but the Manchester City star is grounded by the most important factor in his life -- his family. Read more Alex Livesey/Getty Images/file
He grew up on a farm dreaming of becoming a Formula One star, but the Kiwi driver has found another route to the top of motorsport -- and he couldn't happier. Read more CNN
The college student is a runner unlike any other -- every time she competes in a race, she knows she'll collapse in a sobbing heap at the finish line, with numb legs. Read more CNN
Olympic fencing champion, politician and proud mom -- the woman known as "Cobra" has a balletic grace married to razor-sharp reflexes. Read more ALBERTO PIZZOLI AFP/Getty Images/file
She's the reluctant "fairy" who has charmed a nation with her joyous rhythmic gymnastics routines. Read more: BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images/file
Born in Soviet-era Kazakhstan, the boy who would become one of boxing's greatest champions had just one dream -- to see what the outside world had to offer. Read more Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images/file
Something traumatic happened to Shelly Woods when she was 11 -- and it changed her life. Read more Ian MacNicol/AFP/Getty Images/file
He's a Rolls Royce footballer who honed his game in his parents' garage, and even past the age of 40 the former World Cup winner is still purring along. Read more CNN
From the sweltering heat of the Sahara Desert to the subzero temperatures at both North and South Poles, Fiona Oakes' running obsession knows no bounds. Read more Courtesy of Fiona Oakes
With a battle-worn face that wears the story of a thousand bouts, the freestyle wrestler has risen from rural mud-wrestling pits to produce moments of unscripted theater on crash mats around the world. Read more CNN