14 Little-known Mormon Athletes


Matt Sherwood, World Champion Team Roper

We've all heard about the Steve Youngs and Jimmer Fredettes of the LDS sports world--but what about other little-known Mormons in sports? Check out some of these quick facts and interesting tidbits about LDS athletes you might not have heard about before.

Quick Facts

13 - Age at which champion surfer Joy Monahan started surfing competitively

10 - Age at which Olympic snowboarder Jessika Jenson picked up snowboarding

2 - Times Matt Sherwood, a professional rodeo cowboy, earned the title of World Champion Team Roper

60+ - Points Dennis Pitta has scored during his continuing NFL career

10-4-0 - LDS UFC fighter Derek Downey's fight record

2061Points scored by Erin Thorn during her basketball career at BYU--she later played for the WNBA.

3 - Medals won by gymnast Peter Vidmar in the 1984 Summer Olympics--2 gold and 1 silver. He is one of the few gymnasts ever to score a perfect ten in the Olympics. 

16 - First place shot put finishes by New Zealander Valerie Adams, including 2 Olympic golds and 4 world championships

6' 11" - Height of LDS professional basketball player Jim Eakins. In his professional basketball career, he scored 8,255 points and had 5,578 rebounds.

0 - NCAA wrestling match losses of Cael Norman Sanderson. He is considered the greatest American amateur wrestly in recent history and is the only wrestler in NCAA Division I history with more than 100 wins to go undefeated in official matches. 

Kresimir Cosic

Born in 1948, this LDS basketball great from Zagreb, Croatia led the Croatian National Basketball team to an Olympic silver medal before his twentieth birthday. He later won Olympic gold. During his career, he also turned down opportunities to play for the Lakers and Celtics. 

As a young man, Cosic came to the United States to attend college. From 1970 to 1973 he played for BYU where he was baptized a member of the Church by none other than Hugh Nibley. When he returned home to Croatia, he was the first member in his country. He aided the missionary effort by translating the Book of Mormon into Croatian. 

Alma Richards


The first Utah resident and first Mormon to win Olympic gold, Alma Richards set a world record in the high jump at the 1912 Stockholm Olympic games. He later became a decathlete and was favored to win two medals in the 1916 Olympic games, but never got a chance to compete when the games were cancelled due to the outbreak of World War I. 

Gene Fulmer

In 1951, LDS middleweight boxer Gene Fullmer began his professional boxing career. He won his first 29 fights, which included 19 knockouts, and later went on to become the World Middleweight Champion in 1957, upsetting boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson for the title. 

Fulmer is remembered for strongly adhereing to his LDS faith, and was often questioned by the press about his religion, in particular the Word of Wisdom. He also made sure to emphasize the importance of fatherhood and paid tithing on all his winnings. 

Roy Castleton

Born in 1885, Royal Eugene Castleton was the first Mormon to play major league baseball. He pitched for both the New York Highlanders and Cincinnati Reds. While his sports skills were sharp, his career was plagued by illness that eventually forced him to retire. However, he was long-remembered for pitching a perfect game in the minor league and for his early major league performance. 

What other successful, little-known LDS athletes you know and love? Tell us in the comments!

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