MANILA, Philippines - TIME released its 2012 edition of the 100 Most Influential People in the World, Thursday, April 19 (April 18 in the US) with six athletes landing in the prestigious list.
Lin made a splash in the sports universe earlier this year following a string of stellar performances in the NBA that resulted in a 7-game winning streak for the New York Knicks while his celebrated teammates Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony were out on injuries.
"Jeremy, 23, is no overnight sensation," writes US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on TIME. "He achieved success the old-fashioned way: he earned it. He worked hard and stayed humble. He lives the right way; he plays the right way," adds Duncan.
'Linsanity' played well until suffering a knee injury. He is likely done for the current NBA Season unless the Knicks make deep into the playoffs.
Tebow who was recently acquired by the New York Jets is an American Football quarterback that was originally drafted by the Denver Broncos. He led the Broncos' in several come-from-behind victories but it is his efforts off the football field that separates him from the rest of the pack.
"Tim, 24, embodies in his life off the field that truly set him apart. He is unashamed of his convictions and faith, and he lives a life that consistently reflects his values, day in and day out," writes New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin on TIME.
Tebow, born in Makati City, Philippines, is a child of American Baptist missionaries at the time of his birth.
Djokovic is currently ranked World No. 1 by the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). He is only the 6th male player in history to bag three Majors in a year winning the 2011 Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
"No one has a more lethal backhand down the line," writes TIME Sports Editor Bill Saparito. "He started 2012 by beating [Rafael] Nadal in a five-set, nearly six-hour epic for the Australian Title," Saparito adds.
At 24 years old, Djokovic is considered a national hero in his homeland Serbia.
Messi made history by scoring five goals in one match for a 7-1 victory for FC Barcelona. He has five La Liga titles and three Champions League titles to his name.
"Messi, 24, is unbelievably talented and incredibly humble. He makes you hold your breath every time he touches the ball," writes 2-tome FIFA world player of the year Mia Hamm on TIME. "Clearly he plays because he loves it [football], and shows it every time he takes the field," she adds.
In April 2011, Messi created a Facebook page that garnered over six million fans in a matter of hours. His page has 33 million fans as of March 2012.
Currently ranked number 1 in the Women's World Golf Rankings, Tseng is the youngest player ever to win five major championships. She did all this at 23.
"Yani's infectious smile and genuine enthusiasm for golf create an aura that grabs the attention of galleries and living rooms, captivating even casual sports fans. People know they're witnessing greatness," writes golf Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstram.
Tseng is taking the golfing world by storm and many believe her best years are yet to come.
Pistorius is inspiration personified. He is a South American amputee sprinter who holds the world record in the 100, 200, and 400 meter runs in the Paralympics T44 Class. He runs on Cheetah Flex-foot carbon fibre transmittal artificial limbs.
"Even when the running establishment -- convinced his blades provided an advantage -- tired to confine Pistorius to the Paralympics, he kept pushing his limits and the limits of the human body. Now he's won the right to compete against the world's best," writes TIME sports columnist Sean Gregory.
The 'Blade Runner' was born with congenital absence of the fibula in both legs and his legs were amputated when he was only 11 months old.
These young sports prodigies are the embodiment of faith, hard work , and inspiration -- traits that make them more than worthy of the TIME 100 list. - Rappler.com