From footballers to cyclists and sailors, Dorset has its fair share of sporting heroes.

The county is home to lots of famous faces including actors and musicians.

But did you know that Dorset has been the home of sporting legends and olympians? 

Holly Neill - Athlete

Bournemouth Echo:

Holly Neill comes from Chantmarle near Dorchester and started her career competing in para-equestrian dressage before her focus turned to athletics.

As a field athlete she competes in category F41 throwing events including discus, javelin and shot put. 

Neill has represented Great Britain in the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in the discus throw, finishing third.

She also acheieved one of her dreams by representing GB at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She competes in the Les Autres Paralympic category as an athlete with dwarfism.

Gary Paul Emerson - Golfer

Bournemouth Echo:

Gary Emerson - Bournemouth Echo

Born in Bournemouth, Emerson turned professional in 1982 and after regular trips to qualifying school finally made it onto the European Tour in 1995.

He finished as joint runner-up at the British Masters in 2006 on his way to 76th place on that seasons money list, but his form fell away after that and he lost his European Tour card at the end of 2007.

Virginia Wade - Tennis player

Bournemouth Echo:

Virginia Wade (PA)

Sarah Virginia Wade, OBE is a former professional tennis player from Bournemouth.

She won three Major tennis singles championships and four Major doubles championships. She is the only British woman in history to have won titles at all four Majors.

She was ranked as high as number two in the world in singles and number one in the world in doubles.

Paul Blake - Athlete

Bournemouth Echo:

Paul Blake (PA)

Paul John Blake MBE is an athlete from Dorchester who competes in T36 middle distance events.

Blake competed at the 2012 Summer Paralympics where he won a silver and bronze medal. 

He followed this with two gold medals at the 2013 and 2015 World Championships, both in his favoured 800m event.

Born in Dorchester, Blake developed cerebral palsy after being deprived of blood in the womb.

His father, also called Paul, is an actor, best known for playing the bounty hunter Greedo in Star Wars, while his mother Kate is a former ballet dancer with the Royal Ballet.

John Henry Dixon - Cricketer

First-class cricketer, John Henry Dixon, played for Gloucestershire, Oxford University and Wiltshire.

Born in Westbourne, Bournemouth he was an active cricketer between 1973 and 1988. 

He appeared in 16 first-class matches as a right-handed batsman who bowled right arm medium-fast pace.

He scored 77 runs with a highest score of 13* and held six catches.

Dixon is the great-nephew of Gee Langdon and became a publisher and author.

Shaun Wallace - Cyclist 

Shaun Wallace is a former professional cyclist who competed in two Olympic and three Commonwealth Games.

Wallace represented England and won a silver medal in the individual pursuit and a bronze medal in the team pursuit, at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

In 1994 he won another silver medal at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.

Four years later in 1998 he won another silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He also rode for multiple American-based teams.

Melissa Courtney Bryant  - Runner

Melissa Courtney-Bryant is a middle-distance runner who competes in the 1500 metres and 5000m. She holds personal bests of 4:01.81 minutes for the 1500m and 14:53.82 for the 5000m.

Born in Poole, Dorset, she initially focused on swimming but later switched to running.

She joined Poole Athletic Club (Poole AC) and worked under coach Mark Pauley from the age of twelve, as well as her father Mark as more runners joined the club.

Kate MacGregor - Sailor 

Kate MacGregor is a sailor from Poole, where she is a member at Poole Yacht Club and is coached by Maurice Paardenkooper.

She studied for a Business degree at Southampton Solent University but put her studies on hold to focus on her sailing career.

She won a gold medal at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival held in Sydney, Australia.

In 2010 MacGregor teamed up with her older sister Lucy MacGregor, Annie Lush and Mary Rook to win gold at the ISAF women's match racing World Championship in Newport, Rhode Island, United States. The British crew won the final 3–2 over an American team helmed by two-time world title-winner Sally Barkow.

At the 2011 Sailing World Championships in Perth, Australia, MacGregor reached the final of the match-racing event, as part of a crew with Lush and Lucy MacGregor, where they were beaten 4–0 by the United States boat skippered by Anna Tunnicliffe.

The three won a gold medal at the 2011 World Cup event in Hyères, France.

Jamie Redknapp - Footballer

Bournemouth Echo:

Jamie Redknapp(Ian West/PA)

Jamie Redknapp, son of Harry, is a retired professional footballer and sports pundit. 

He began his footballing career in 1989, aged 16, at AFC Bournemouth.

He attended Twynham School in Christchurch.

Speaking to the Bournemouth Daily Echo back in 2016, Jamie said: “Twynham was a lovely school but I had the attention span of a gnat when it came to academic studies.

“But I had two teachers, Mr Jackson and Mr Broadwell, who were as big a help as anyone in my career and it’s only now I realise it.

"We’d spend hours playing badminton and lots of other sports that helped me with my sharpness and my feet and I loved it.”

Here are some other famous faces from Bournemouth.