Ah, Movember. The one month of the year when moustaches are socially (and quite rightly) acceptable in public. There is of course a rich history of sporting moustaches, and BeardWatch profiles the best.
Let’s start with Formula 1, where no moustachioed gentleman has been world champion in over 20 years. The last, in 1992, was Nigel Mansell.
The travesty of Formula 1 is that you have to go all the way back to 1968 to find another Mo, and it is perhaps one of the most iconic in sport beard history, Graham Hill.
A manicured masterpiece worthy of the big screen. The long flowing hair and bushy sideburns really make this an awe-inspiring moustache. Graham Hill was the first champion to have a top lip warmer in 1962, which he followed up in 1968.
Onto athletics where, like motor racing, iconic moustaches are a bit thin on the ground. However, there is the man who promised to win the 1976 10,000m (and didn’t) and whose image was ripped off (allegedly) for the 118 188 adverts, Dave Bedford.
The trademark handlebar stays with him to this day. Another man who has sensibly kept the ‘tache is double Decathlon champion Daley Thompson.
Winning 10 events in 2 days in the 1980 and 1984 Olympics have made him a legend and widely regarded as one of the best decathletes of all time, and those guys are pretty hardcore. The moustache kept an even keel on a whirlwind career, helping him to break the world record four times.
Staying on a “greatest ever Olympian” theme, Mark Spitz surely deserves a mention.
This moustache has its own Wikipedia section, that’s what a big deal it is. Mark the Shark grew it because his coach said he couldn’t, which is probably the best reason to do anything. It obviously didn’t cause much drag in the water as he won 9 Olympic golds, 7 of them in Munich 1972 where he also set World Records in every event, something no one else has done.
The United States has a decent tradition of moustaches, and now is the time to celebrate the best of the best. Sorry to use the word iconic again, but it must apply to probably the largest owner of a moustache on this page, Hulk Hogan.
It’s just always been there, always a part of the look every time he’s reinvented himself. The man’s been wrestling since 1977 for goodness sake, and even in his 60s still pops up with his moustache to kick some ass.
In the world of Baseball, one name has stood out in my research. This is partly because the name is bizarre, but also because he’s a legend of the game – Rollie Fingers.
And that really is his name! Well, it’s Roland, but with those twirly ‘tache tips, Rollie seems far more appropriate. Originally grown to win $300, he eventually turned down the chance to play for the Cincinnati Reds because of their ‘clean-shaven’ policy. Top man.
One of the all time great AFL/NFL moustaches belonged to Ben Davidson.
This fine figure of a man came to American Football late in his teens as, at 6’8″, he preferred basketball. He was an AFL all-star three times, and it’s poignant to point out that he died on 2012 from Prostate Cancer, and Movember is carried out for people like Ben and his family to change the face of men’s health.
In Ice Hockey, one of the great moustache mavericks is George Parros.
He may look mean, but that moustache and hair cover his warm and cuddly side. ‘George Parros Mustaches’ are sold by his former team the Anaheim Ducks, with proceeds going to charity. Parros also had a line of apparel called “Stache Gear” that benefited the ‘Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids’ Foundation. If that weren’t enough, he cuts his hair once a year and donates it to a charity that makes wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to a medical condition. Badass, but in a totally different and amazing way.
Back in Europe, football is still a pretty big deal. In England, the golden moustache age was the 80s and 90s with many great examples such as Graeme Souness and Brian Kilcline typical of the shaggy haired, hirsute, halcyon days.While Souness continues a living legend in Liverpool, Kilcine’s career never quite reached the same heights. He’s pictured above in an England tracksuit, but only played twice for the Under 21s. Meaning he must have been under 21 in that photo. Good lord…
If there are ever mavericks in a football team, you can be sure it’ll probably be the goalkeeper, and as such, there’s a fine tradition of ‘stached stoppers.
Two of the finest examples are David Seaman and Bruce Grobelaar. Seaman was the Arsenal and England number one for over a decade and the trademark tache and flowing locks were ever present, but often played second fiddle to some horrendous 90s kits. Bruce ‘Spaghetti Legs’ Grobelaar had a long career spanning Liverpool’s 80s dominance and the Zimbabwean always sported his moustache proudly.
Possibly the greatest ever football moustache belonged to the little known Dutch captain Ronald Spelbos.For sheer commitment to the moustache, this has to be up there with the greatest ever.
Football’s been getting on board with Movember in recent years, and whilst Joey Barton often gets the attention, I believe the greatest one month moustache belonged to Grant Holt.
The Norwich City legend grew this in the season they returned to Premier League football in 2011. A true captain’s effort.
In terms of girth and manliness, we finish with cricket. Don’t believe me? Check these out:
Some classic Graham Gooch, England captain, their all time record run scorer and one of the greatest cricketers in history. His incredible career was accompanied by this mighty mo.
But it’s to Australia we finish our top lip tickling tour. David Boon batted for Australia for 11 years, and has become something of an Aussie cult figure, no doubt in part to this magnificent droopy little number.
In the same Australian side that the ingeniously nicknamed ‘Boony’ played in, another even greater moustache featured. Merv Hughes was always a big man, despite his lengthy and somewhat ‘mincing’ bowling run ups. Regardless, his humongous handlebar made ‘Merv the Swerve’ unmissable. His other nickname, incidentally, was ‘Fruitfly’ which was eventually explained as a reference to “Australia’s greatest national pest”, due to his colourful language addressing the opposition on the field.
And there we have the greatest moustaches in world sport. If you know of a greater moustache that deserves a mention, leave a comment or tweet @SportBeardWatch