Burning Out V Fading Away

Burning Out V Fading Away

Nico Rosberg's retirement reminds me a little of my Words With Friends career. Only I didn't bow out at the right time. 'Quarry' on a triple word and I should have been out of there. It was a freak score. A whopping 127 points. I inevitably lost the re-match, and the next one. Regret looms large.

But not for Nico who, with his F1 championship win, joins a long line of sports stars who managed to put legacy ahead of buzz chasing. Here's some others who bowed out on top of the mountain. 

Eric Cantona

King Eric will possibly always be remembered for fly-kicking that fan in the tits.
But when the talismanic Frenchman announced his retirement at 30, he did so after winning a fourth league title in five years.
For all the talk that he would end up at Real Zaragoza, Cantona stayed true to his word in ending his career at United. 

‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude

Operating during WWF's 'golden age' - Rick Rude certainly knew his worth: “What I’d like to have right now, is for all you fat, ugly inner-city sweathogs to keep the noise down while I take my robe off and show the ladies what a real sexy man looks like…”

Despite never capturing the World Championship in WWE, Rude won the top prize in WCW on three occasions. However, in a match against Sting, Rude injured his back and was forced into retirement. This unplanned exit may problematise his inclusion here, but as far as we're concerned the rude one departed a champion. 

Rocky Marciano

Deemed too weak by the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Rocky Marciano took his chances as a boxer. And despite his short reach, the heavyweight was crowned champion of the world from 1952 to 1956. 

Thought to be one of the greatest boxers of all time, Marciano ended his career with an impressive 49 wins and no defeats - fighting some of the greatest boxers across different weight classes including the great Joe Louis who came out from retirement for the bout.

Pete Sampras

The self appointed king of swing retired from tennis in 2003 after winning a fifth US Open. In 2007, four years after his retirement, Sampras was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. 

Steffi Graf

Graf won the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era (22) and was the first and only tennis player, male or female, to achieve the Calendar Year Golden Slam. 

However, injuries meant in 1997 she lost her number one ranking to Martina Hingis. Then - in the 1999 French Open final, Graf defeated the top-ranked Hingis in three sets to claim her 22nd Grand Slam singles title, announcing: “I have done everything I wanted to do in tennis. I feel I have nothing left to accomplish.”

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