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Athletes with asthma
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Paula Radcliff after smashing the world marathon record in Chicago
Paula - beating asthma - and beating the clock
Be inspired by these 10 top athletes who have overcome asthma to be the best.

1. Paula Radcliffe
Paula shattered the women's world marathon best in Chicago.

This crowned a remarkable year that also saw Paula win the Commonwealth Games 5,000m, the European Championships 10,000m, the London Marathon and World Cross Country Championships.

Paula's asthma was diagnosed at the age of 14.

She keeps her asthma under control by making sure she always gets the right level of treatment.

2. Paul Scholes
The England and Manchester United midfielder found out he had asthma when he was 21.

Although he has never had a serious attack, the Manchester United club doctor always keeps Paul's inhaler handy in case he needs to use it.

3. Mark Spitz

Mark Spitz scooped an amazing nine Olympic golds
Mark Spitz scooped an amazing nine Olympic golds

The American swimming sensation made a real splash when he scooped a stunning nine gold medals at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich.

4. Ian Botham
The former England cricketer is widely-regarded as one of the finest all-rounders in cricketing history.

He notched up a 1000 Test runs and took 100 Test wickets quicker than any player before him.

As a kid though, Botham suffered from asthma.

5. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner Kersee sometimes wore a mask to compete
Jackie Joyner Kersee sometimes wore a mask to compete

One of the greatest multi-event athletes, she scooped Olympic gold in the heptathlon in 1988 and 1992.

She also struck gold in the long jump in 1988.

With a heptathlon silver in 1984 and bronze long jump medals in 1992 and 1996, she took her Olympic medal tally to six.

She discovered she had asthma in 1983 and sometimes wore a mask to compete.

6. Alison Streeter
Known as the "Queen of the Channel", she has swum the English Channel more times than anyone else - 40 at the last count.

She first swam it at the age of 18.

7. Nancy Hogsehead
The American swimmer was a child prodigy.

She was ranked number one in the world at 14 and was a triple gold medallist at the 1984 Olympic Games.

8. Jan Ullrich
He became the first German to win the world's most gruelling cycling race - the Tour de France - in 1997.

9. Adrian Moorhouse

Adrian Moorhouse clinched Olympic gold
Adrian Moorhouse clinched Olympic gold

The British swimmer was crowned Olympic champion in the 100m breaststroke at Seoul in 1988.

10. Amy Van Dyken
No American had ever won four golds at a single Olympic Games before her.

She took gold in the 50m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle and 4x50m medley in the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta - even though her asthma limited her to about 65 per cent of normal lung capacity.

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What is asthma?
Steven's story
Athletes with asthma


Jackie Joyner-Kersee
Olympic heptathlete

I never looked at asthma as being a handicap. My attitude was to beat asthma, I wasn't going to allow asthma to get the best of me.


Paul Scholes was diagnosed with asthma at 21
Paul Scholes
Manchester United and England

I have never encountered any barriers in my career because of my asthma and hopefully I never will do so.

Open Quote
If you learn to manage your asthma and take the correct medication there's no reason why you shouldn't be the best.
Close Quote
Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe
World marathon record holder

National Asthma Campaign
Tel: 0845 7 01 02 03

:: Find out about asthma

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