History’s 50 Incredible Badasses You Should Know About

1Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay nearly died in 2008 after falling down an 85m cliff in Iceland to icy water below. In 2011, he was doused in gasoline at gunpoint while investigating shark fin trading in Costa Rica.



A Labrador Retriever service dog named Endal once pulled his disabled owner into a recovery position after he was struck unconscious and then covered him with a blanket. He retrieved his mobile and pushed it against his, and only left him to fetch help once he had regained consciousness.

3Claudio Vitale

Claudio Vitale

In 2009, an Italian neurosurgeon named Claudio Vitale had a heart attack while performing surgery on a patient. He powered through it when he realized his patient would never recover if he stopped. Half an hour after finishing the surgery, the doctor underwent an angioplasty.

4Juliane Koepcke

Juliane Koepcke

In 1971, a high school student named Juliane Koepcke was sucked out of an airplane after it was struck by lightning. She fell 3.2 kilometers to the ground still strapped to her chair and lived, only to endure a 9-day walk to the nearest civilization. She was the lone survivor from the crash.

5Poon Lim

Poon Lim

In 1942, a Chinese sailed named Poon Lim survived 133 days alone in a raft in the Atlantic by fishing, drinking bird blood. He once even killed a shark with a jug of water and drank its blood.

6Jamie Hyneman

Jamie Hyneman

Mythbusters co-host Jamie Hyneman ran away from his home at the age of 14 and hitchhiked all over America. Since then, he has worked as a certified dive master, wilderness survival expert, boat captain, linguist, pet shop owner, animal wrangler, machinist, concrete inspector, chef, and television show host.

7Shavarsh Karapetyan

Shavarsh Karapetyan

In 1976, when Armenian finswimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan was finishing a 12-mile run, he heard a bus crash into the water. He dove down 33 feet and rescued 20 people, 1 at a time. He is an 11-time World Record holder, 17-time World Champion, 13-time European Champion, and 7-time USSR Champion. About 10 years later, he ran into a burning hospital to save more people.

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8Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Teddy Roosevelt's son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading the first wave of US Soldiers attacking Utah Beach on D-Day. He volunteered for the assignment and had to walk with a cane due to injuries he sustained during WW1 and a heart condition. He was the oldest man in the first wave at age 56.

9Mr. T

Mr. T

While in the army, Mr. T was given the punishment of chopping down trees. The sergeant didn't tell him how many. He cut down 70 trees in 3 1/2 hours before a shocked major superseded the sergeant and ordered him to stop.

10Bill Millin

Bill Millin

During the Normandy Allied Invasion, a Scottish Piper named Bill Millin played his bagpipes as he walked the beach while the carnage erupted around him. He later asked captured German prisoners why they hadn't shot at him. They said they thought he was on a suicide mission and was clearly mad.

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  1. It’s a shame those who have not killed, mamed, blown up or murdered but instead found ways of peace to resolve conflict (and there are many) are not considered “bad ass.” Although all these men and women were brave and the ones who saved lives rather than just take them truly bad ass it would be refreshing to promote those who chose nonviolence to resolve conflict rather than those who instead chose to kill. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. That’s not fair. Wang Weilin stood up against 4 tanks at 19 years old after watching over 10,000 people, his friends, coworkers, and peaceful protestors, get literally slaughtered in Tiananmen Square. All he was holding was shopping bags, and all he did was talk. No one will ever forget “Tank Man”. He knew he would be killed (no one knows what happened to him), he knew he wouldn’t be able to stop the slaughter. He didn’t even think he’d be remembered considering the Chinese government did everything they could to prevent anyone from ever finding out about him or Tiananmen.

    He’s every bit as badass as these guys, but that doesn’t make them any less badass.

  3. Consider for a moment that three American conscientious objectors have received the Medal of Honor. The movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is about the heroics of one of them, Desmond Doss. The other two conscientious objector Medal of Honor recipients are Thomas W. Bennet and Joseph G. LaPointe. Doss received his award for his actions during World War II; Bennet and LaPointe received their awards for their sacrifices in Vietnam (they both were killed in action). Were they cowards because they refused to fight? On the contrary, they were heroes before their cited heroics as they continued in their faith despite abuse and dedicated their lives to their medical missions.

  4. Men who save lives through peace efforts or prevent future lives from being lost are every bit as “bad asses” as men who killed to save lives. Different methods, same results. You can’t have good without bad, nor bad without good.



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