Contemporary fascination with sports champions is the subject of many sociological and psychological analyses. The article complements this multi-level perspective with philosophical analyses in the field of the history of ideas and rhetorical communication. It presents the idea of sports heroism as a historically developing form of communication discourse. The premise is the thesis that the figure of a sports hero is each time a creation of a communication context, i.e. a message and interpretation using axio-normative, appealing and persuasive rhetorical means. In this rhetoric, objective and measurable sports mastery is strengthened and transformed into a communicative image enriched with moral, social, aesthetic, ludic-hedonistic and marketing meanings. The article is located in the humanistic area of the history of culture, and its reflection, which is the fruit of desk research, is developed in relation to the existing thematic literature using the hermeneutic principle of the fusion of interpretative horizons. The aim is to show the spectrum of meaning pertaining to the sports hero’s character components, starting from Greek athletics, through the discourse of ancient philosophers (developed by Coubertin) to the media fame of today’s sports champions. The rhetoric and practice of sporting mastery are two sides of the sporting coin.