Describe a Sportsperson you Admire

Here’s a common question from IELTS Speaking Part 2:

Describe a sportsperson you admire.
You should say:

  • who the person is
  • what sport he or she does
  • when did you first hear about this person

and why you admire him or her.

Hopefully everyone reading this is at least familiar with some famous sports stars. You don’t need to be a fanatic to answer this question well… but it might help! You just need to be able to think of a person, describe what he or she does, when and where you first encountered this person, and give some reasons why you admire them.

As always, you should be writing some short notes in preparation, rather than any sentences. Mark down any vocabulary that comes to mind and which you think will help. But mostly write down words that will help you to structure your speech – this makes your words sound more natural.

See our article on how to improve your IELTS speaking.

Here are my notes:

Leo Messi

Argentina-> Barcelona



10 years ago


These are obviously very basic, but by looking at them I can speak confidently without missing any of the points from the cue card. There are two useful words of vocabulary – disability and perseverance. These words, if properly used, sound impressive and add meaningfully to the speaking task.

Sample answer

I have highlighted some useful constructions for describing a famous person. These are useful for describing Leo Messi but of course can be adapted to other people. Some are quite basic – like “some would say” – while others are more complex, such as “his inspiring story of perseverance.”

So here is my answer to the cue card above:

My favourite sports person is Leo Messi. He’s a famous football player, and some would say he’s the best football player in the world. He started his career in Argentina, where he was born, but moved to Barcelona, in Spain, when he was a teenager. He had a disability, for which the Spanish team agreed to pay his medical bills. Despite his health problems, Messi developed into a modern legend. He has won numerous trophies over the course of his career, including five “world footballer of the year” awards – which is a world record. I remember first hearing about him about ten years ago, when he was first making headlines.  I admire him because of his triumph over adversity. I think that his inspiring story of perseverance is a lesson for us all.

If anyone is interested in having me record this or has any further questions, let me know in the comment section below. 🙂

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the ‘Weird Cult’ and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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  1. Hello David,

    Many thanks for your valuable contributions by sharing some useful tips and training material for the hard IELTS exam.

    Please, Could you share your recording regards to the above speaking description of Leo Messi ?

    Please, keep doing such amazing job ! I am supporting you !

    Thank you !

    Post a Reply
    • Sorry for the slow reply. I was away on holiday for a week. I’ll post my recording to YouTube soon and then add it here.

      Thanks, Allison!

      Post a Reply
  2. Hello David,

    Very thanks for giving such an useful information about Leo Messi. Because of the Complex words and good content and language , I got full marks in my speech

    Please, keep doing these type of things. I am supporting you too !
    Thank you !

    Post a Reply


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