It’s no secret that Essex is home to some magnificent sporting talent.

From football legends, to tennis stars, people from the region have some seriously impressive sporting accolades behind their name.

Here are some of the biggest sports stars that hail from the county:

Mark Foster - Swimmer

Echo: Mark Foster with the Olympic torch

Mark Foster with the olympic torch in 2012.

Olympic swimmer Mark Foster hails from Billericay.

The former competitive swimmer represented Great Britain in the Olympics, world championships and swam for England in the Commonwealth Games.

Foster is a former world champion and won multiple medals during his long career competing primarily in butterfly and freestyle at 50 metres.

He is amongst the most successful British swimmers of all time and was the fastest swimmer in the country by the age of 15.

He made a comeback at the national championships in July 2007 winning both events he competed in after barely training.

He has six World Championship titles, two Commonwealth titles and eleven European titles to his name.

Ross McGowan - Golfer


(Tim Goode/PA)

Basildon born Ross  McGowan is a professional golfer. He has won twice on the European Tour, the 2009 Madrid Masters and the 2020 Italian Open.

With the assistance of College Prospects of America, he went to university in the United States and played collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee. McGowan won the 2006 English Amateur, where he defeated Oliver Fisher in the final by the score of five and four. Shortly after that he turned professional.

Scott Hann - Gymnast coach

Echo: 26/08/2016                Maxine Clarke.Double gold medalist Max Whitlock returns a hero to Basildon Sporting Village and South Essex Gymnastics Club. PIC- L-R Coach Scott Hann, Max Whitlock and Brinn Bevan.

(L-R Coach Scott Hann, Max Whitlock and Brinn Bevan)

Scott Hann, MBE is a famous gymnastics coach, currently serving as the Director of Coaching for the South Essex Gymnastics Club in Basildon.

Most notably, he has coached 2012 Olympian, 2016 double Olympic Champion, and World Champion Max Whitlock, and World Medalist and Olympic team member Brinn Bevan, Jamaican team member Reiss Beckford and elite Jay Thompson. Also 2016 Olympic Bronze medallist Amy Tinkler.

Hann was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to gymnastics.

Hannah Stodel - Sailor

Echo: Looking for a medal - Hannah Stodel is aiming for success in Miami. Picture: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Picture: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Stodel has represented Great Britain at three Summer Paralympics and with her colleagues John Robertson and Stephen Thomas winning multiple medals in the Mixed Sonar class at the Disabled Sailing World Championships, including gold in 2005 and 2006.

She grew up in the coastal village of West Mersea and was matriculated to Loughborough University where she studied Sport & Exercise Science.

Saskia Clark - Sailor 

Echo: 2016 Olympic Gold Medallist Saskia Clark .Open day at Marconi Sailing Club, Stansgate Road, Steeple, Essex..

Olympic gold medalist Saskia Clark at the Marconi Sailing Club in 2017.

Saskia Clark, MBE is an olympic sailor from Colchester. She competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics and was selected, along with Hannah Mills, to sail in the 470 Women's class for Team GB in the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics. They went on to win Silver at the 2012 games, before taking a dominant gold medal at the following games.

She started sailing at Dabchicks Sailing Club in an Optimist when she was just 8 years old.

Clark was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to sailing.

Fatima Whitbread - Javellin thrower


Fatima Whitbread MBE  is a former javelin thrower who spent her teenage years in Chadwell St Mary.

She won the 1986 European Championships in Stuttgart, having broken the world record with a throw of 77.44 metres in the qualifying round the previous day. She went on to win the 1987 World Championships in Rome.

She is also a two-time Olympic medallist, winning bronze at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and silver at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

Her former world record throw makes her one of only two women in history to have thrown the javelin over 75 metres.

Sir Alastair Cook - Cricketer 


Sir Alastair Cook (right) -  (Steven Paston/PA)

Sir Alastair Cook CBE plays for Essex County Cricket Club, and formerly for England in all international formats.

A former captain of the England Test and One-Day International (ODI) teams, he holds a number of English and international records. He is one of the most prolific batsmen  and the fifth highest Test run scorer of all time.

Cook is England's most-capped player and has captained the team in an English record 59 Tests and 69 ODIs

 He is the leading run-scorer in Test matches for England, and the youngest player to complete 12,000 Test runs.

Cook played for Essex's Academy and made his debut for the first XI in 2003. He played in several of England's youth teams from 2000 until his call up to the Test side in 2006. 

Have you watched any of these sporting icons live? Let us know in the comments.