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In many sports, an athlete’s prime comes in their mid-20s and may carry into their early 30s.
However, in some sports, even with younger ages, there are athletes who begin dominating exceedingly early.
Our list of the 50 most dominant athletes compiled athletes of all ages across the world who have reached the pinnacle of their sports. Here, we have 25 athletes who are yet to turn 25 and who have already reached new heights in their respective games.
In some cases, these athletes have already won championships, gold medals, and MVPs in their early 20s or teens. We took into account the feats they’ve already accomplished, while weighing their room to grow.
Here are 25 athletes under 25 who are poised to take over the world:
25. Carlos Correa
Houston Astros shortstop
Correa was off to a blistering start in 2017, batting .320 with a .966 OPS and 20 home runs and 67 RBIs. Out with an injury until September, the first-year All-Star still ranks ninth in WAR this season and forms a dynamic duo next to Jose Altuve for the first-place Astros. As Correa gets healthy and continues to grow, the Astros should be an offensive force for years to come.
24. Dak Prescott
Dallas Cowboys quarterback
Prescott took the Cowboys starting job in preseason after Tony Romo got injured and never looked back. The rookie was so poised under center, boasting an impressive 23-4 touchdown-interception ratio, that when Romo was healthy, the Cowboys couldn’t even go back to him. The expectations have been raised for Prescott in Year 2, but if his rookie year was any indication, he should handle it with aplomb.
23. Christian Pulisic
American, Borussia Dortmund soccer player
Beyond getting crucial minutes for one of the best clubs in Bundesliga at just 18 years old, Pulisic has transformed into the future of US soccer. The wunderkind wing scored two goals in a must-win over Trinidad and Tobago, keeping the US in the hunt to qualify for Russia in 2018. Making the U.S. competitive in the World Cup would only raise his profile as one of the young stars in soccer.
22. Laurie Hernandez
While Simone Biles was the star of the US gymnastics at the Rio Olympics, Hernandez became a breakout star in her own right. Hernandez took home a gold and silver and generally won over fans with her bubbly personality. She hasn’t trained this year, but it seems a safe bet there will be more future medals for Hernandez, who still has a year of high school to complete.
21. Karl-Anthony Towns
Minnesota Timberwolves center
The No. 1 overall pick in 2015 has lived up to the tremendous hype that followed him into the NBA. The star of the budding Timberwolves, Towns has the rare ability to bully opponents inside, shoot the three-pointer, or blaze past defenders who run out to contest his shots. After the quietest 25-12-3 season in recent memory in 2016-17, he should command more attention in his third season as the Wolves vie for a playoff spot.
20. Joey Bosa
- Scott Cunningham/Getty
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end
After a contract dispute and injury kept him out of the first four games of his rookie season, Bosa showed potential to become the NFL’s next great pass-rusher. Bosa posted 10.5 sacks in 12 games his rookie year and ranked as fifth-highest graded edge defender by Pro Football Focus, which later compared him to J.J. Watt.
19. Mookie Betts
- Maddie Meyer/Getty
Boston Red Sox outfielder
Betts became a star in 2016, hitting 31 home runs and 113 RBIs with a MLB-leading 359 total bases to lead a Red Sox revival. He also entertained with his quickness, agility, and infectious spirit, becoming one of the game’s brightest young stars. His numbers are down in 2017, but few in baseball can post a season like he had in 2016 for one of America’s biggest teams.
18. Lilly King
- Adam Pretty/Getty
King dominates not only through gold medals and world records, but through trash talk, finger-wags, and stare-downs. Her rivalry with Russia’s Yulia Efimova is the best in swimming, – twice King has engaged in pre-race taunting of Efimova, only to come away victorious. Her latest victory at World Championships makes her a must-watch rising star in swimming.
17. Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys running back
The fourth overall pick in 2016 ran for a league-leading 1,631 yards with 15 touchdowns in 2016, forming a dynamic duo with Prescott. More over, Elliott also seemingly revived a near-dead position at running back, and his influence on the Cowboys dominance has made teams reconsider the belief that running backs shouldn’t be top-1o picks.
16. Caeleb Dressel
- Clive Rose/Getty
Dressel entered the record books at the 2017 World Championships, winning seven golds, tying him with Michael Phelps for the most at a single meet. Dressel’s three individual medals and four relay medals set him up to take over US men’s swimming in the future, with Phelps and Ryan Lochte out of the picture. He could be a star at Tokyo 2020.
15. Kylian Mbappe
- Stu Forster/Getty
French, Monaco soccer player
After leading Monaco to the semifinals in the Champions League last year, scoring six goals in nine matches, Mbappe became one of the brightest young stars in soccer. Dominant at an age when some players are just trying to get on the field, Mbappe stands to make a fortune on the transfer market as he hopes to star for some of the bigger clubs in the world.
14. Auston Matthews
- Claus Andersen/Getty
Toronto Maple Leafs center
Matthews’ NHL debut set the tone for a stellar rookie season, scoring four goals and giving hockey yet another young, exciting face. The 2016-17 rookie of the year led all rookies in goals and total points and was tied for second overall in total goals, just four shy of Sidney Crosby. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
13. Chloe Kim
Kim qualified for Sochi 2014 but was too young to compete in the Olympics. So, in the run-up to Pyeongchang 2018, she: racked up three X Games gold medals, became the first woman to land back-to-back 1080s, scored a perfect 100 at the X Games, and won golds at the Youth Olympics. She’ll be a star at the 2018 games.
12. Giannis Antetokounmpo
Milwaukee Bucks forward
In his fourth year in the NBA, Antetokounmpo finally put together all of his jaw-dropping potential. It was worth the wait. No longer just an otherworldly physical specimen, the “Greek Freak” averaged 23 points, nine rebounds, and five assists per game in ’16-17, leading the Bucks in every major statistical category while changing how positions are viewed in basketball.
11. Harry Kane
- Julian Finney/Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur forward
The leader of Tottenham Hotspur and recent captain of the England national team won his second consecutive Golden Boot in 2016-17 by netting 29 goals. He also led the league with four hat tricks, bringing him to a tie for fifth all-time in EPL history at just 23 years old.
10. Odell Beckham Jr.
New York Giants wide receiver
Beckham has had the best start of any wide receiver in NFL history, racking up over 4,100 yards and 35 touchdowns in his first three seasons. Owner of perhaps the best catch in NFL history, Beckham is a lightning rod for attention because of his outsized personality and explosive athleticism. He said he wants to become the highest-paid player in the NFL – he might be worth it.
9. Anthony Davis
New Orleans Pelicans forward
Over the course of his career, Davis has become one of the most skilled players in the NBA – a long, defensive menace, who can now shoot from the outside and create his own shot. The Pelicans are yet to build a successful team around him, but after a 28-point, 12-rebound, 2-block per-game season in 2016-17, there may not be a more valuable building block in the NBA.
8. Mikaela Shrifrin
- Tom Pennington/Getty
American downhill skier
Shriffrin is one of the best skiers on the planet, specializing in slalom and giant slalom. 2017 has been her best year yet, with 11 wins on the season across events. Get familiar with her now – she’ll be a favorite at Pyeongchang 2018.
7. Claressa Shields
- Stu Forster/Getty
Shields has dominated at every level in boxing, producing a 77-1 amateur record, back-to-back Olympic golds (the first American to do so), and a 3-0 professional record with one knockout under her belt. She hasn’t lost a match since 2012 and will look to continue her dominance in August as she competes for the super middleweight title and a vacant belt in the main event of “ShoBox: The New Generation.”
6. Bryce Harper
Washington Nationals outfielder
Harper’s standing in MLB is such that it can be easy to forget that he’s not yet 25. With an NL MVP already under his belt, 148 career homers, and career .908 OPS, Harper is one of the deadliest batters in baseball. He only figures to get better, and when he hits free agency in 2018, his contract may be something we’ve never seen in the majors.
5. Connor McDavid
Edmonton Oilers center
McDavid became the youngest captain in the history of the league at just 19 years old, and in 2016 won the Art Ross Trophy for recording more points that any player in the NHL, and won MVP for netting 30 goals and 70 assists on the year. In July, he signed an eight-year, $100 million contract to become the highest-paid player in the league.
4. Evgenia Medvedeva
- Jamie Squire/Getty
Russian figure skater
At 17, Medvedeva has already racked up three national championships, two European championships, and two world championships. She’ll look to take a winning streak dating back to 2015 to Pyeongchang for the Olympics where she’s poised to become a star.
3. Jordan Spieth
- Christian Petersen/Getty
Spieth broke onto the golf scene with an incredible 2015, came back down to Earth in 2016, and has picked up steam again in 2017. In the last month Spieth has won the Traveler’s Championship with an incredible bunker shot, then won The Open with an insane final six holes. Already in rarefied air in the golf world, it’s wild to think that Spieth, at 24, is just one major away from a grand slam.
2. Simone Biles
- Mike Blake/Reuters
Simone Biles lived up to the considerable hype following her into the Olympics by winning gold in four of five events and routinely smashing competition by several points. Already considered the “greatest ever” by some, she hasn’t competed in 2017, but looks unlikely to surrender her place atop gymnastics any time soon.
1. Katie Ledecky
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Ledecky lost her first major international race in 14 tries at 2017 World Championships, getting out-touched to take silver in the 200-meter free. She recovered by winning gold in each of her remaining races, giving her five for the entire meet. In the past year, she’s taken home nine golds and two silvers, smashed NCAA records, broken her own world records, and waited around for seconds at a time for other swimmers to finish the race. She’s the most dominant athlete in the world. What did you accomplish before drinking age?
Now, check out all of the athletes that rule the world…
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