It was in the cave of Hira that the prophet Muhammad received the first revelation of the Quran. For rugby's original wild child Sonny Bill Williams, meeting a Tunisian family who lived with their five children in a one-bedroom flat in the south of France proved pivotal to his conversion to Islam.
New Zealand's Sonny Bill Williams on staying in shape and the proudest moment of his career.
Casually warming up on the mat, Yana Kudryavtseva slips into a pose that would leave a contortionist gasping in admiration.
Human to Hero meets 16-year-old Yana Kudryavtseva who can handle a hoop, ball or ribbon while performing complex turns.
If England's netballers are going to realize their goal of becoming the world's finest team, they're going to have to get nasty.
Human to Hero meets England's national netball team as they take down South Africa at London's Wembley Arena.
Bones and Mammoth. They're quite a team -- and they love a beach party.
Human to Hero meets Emanuel Rego, one of the most successful players in the history of beach volleyball.
Human to Hero meets Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen, an Olympic silver medal-winning badminton team.
Mathias Boe is smiling, like a lot of people do when he explains that badminton is his full-time job.
Nicknamed "The Duke," 39-year-old Colombian Orlando Duque is considered one of the world's best cliff divers.
"The Duke" knows within a split second if something is awry. The trouble is, he only has two further seconds to put it right.
Your city is Maxime Charveron's blank canvas, and it's no longer spray cans he is painting with.
Maxime Charveron tells CNN how a brush with the law propelled him into freestyle BMX.
A "miracle" journey has propelled Gael Bigirimana from war-torn Burundi to soccer stardom in the English Premier League with Newcastle United.
Human to Hero meets Burundian-born Gael Bigirimana, who plays for Newcastle United and the England under-20 team.
She was dubbed "The Assassin" after winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics, but Kaori Matsumoto prefers to be known as "Beast."
Human to Hero meets Kaori "The Assassin" Matsumoto, the first Japanese woman to win Olympic gold in the 57kg weight category.
Some people take many years to find their calling in life -- but for Adam van Koeverden, it was right in front of him in black and white.
2-time world Kayak champion Adam Van Koeverden talks to CNN about his journey into water sports and his daily training.
Human to Hero meets 23-year-old Ona Carbonell, a double Olympic medalist in synchronized swimming who loves life underwater.
With a first name that means "wave" in Catalan, perhaps Ona Carbonell was destined to pursue a career in water sports.
World number five Cyril Moussilmani and twin brothers Benoit and Sylvain want to turn windsurfing into a must-watch sport.
Where there's wind and water in Marseille, you are likely to find "Les Mouss."
Winters can be depressingly long in Sweden but when it comes to sports played in those chillier months, curling usually isn't the first choice for youngsters in the Scandinavian nation.
Human to Hero meets Swedish curling captain Niklas Edin who is aiming for gold in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
North Korea is one of the world's most mysterious and secretive states, regarded as a political pariah and at bitter loggerheads with its neighbor South Korea.
Ryang Yong-Gi is the Japan-born captain of Vegalta Sendai who also plays for North Korea's national team.
Scoobers, hammers and laying out - it's the "ultimate" flying saucer attack. And if Mark Poole is right, his sport could soon be coming to an Olympics near you.
Human to Hero meets Mark Poole, a champion in the world of ultimate which he says has Olympic potential.
For the son of a math teacher, rallying legend Sebastien Loeb is not too concerned by numbers.
Human to Hero meets French rally legend Sebastien Loeb, who has been called the greatest driver in motorsport
Rowie Webster, Australia's top scorer during the London Games, opens up about her love for the sport and dirty tactics.
On the surface, water polo appears an elegant pursuit played by extremely polished performers.
For Kei Nishikori, "Project 45" has transformed into "Project 10."
Grand Slam hopeful Kei Nishikori is one of the hottest tickets on the ATP tour and the number one tennis player in Asia.
When a marriage ends up in court it usually means the end -- but for Todd Rogers it was just the beginning.
U.S. pro beach volleyball star Todd Rogers on hunting down the perfect on-court partner in Ryan Doherty.
The fastest man in Nigeria, Obinna Metu, on his routine and being trained by icons Haile Gebrselassie and Usain Bolt.
When Haile Gebrselassie speaks people listen.
At long last, Maria Toorpakai Wazir can indulge her life's greatest love without fear of persecution.
Pakistani squash player Maria Toorpakai Wazir opens up about her love for the sport and supporting women's rights.
Hannah Whiteley laughs in the face of danger -- at least she does now.
Britain's Hannah Whiteley talks about returning to the sport after a 5 year break and wanting more women to take her lead.
It can appear to the naked eye as a blur; a frenzied whirlwind of arms and legs, but for Ancient Greece it epitomized an intoxicating marriage of harmony and balance.
Melina Robert-Michon talks about competing for France at London 2012 and how the sport's image has changed.
She's a perfect 10; the surfer that other professionals will drag themselves out of the water to watch.
Human to Hero meets Brazilian elite surfer Silvana Lima, the first woman ever to score a perfect ten in competition.
He's broken every record in the book and won a glut of Olympic and world titles, but even at the age of 40, Haile Gebrselassie has no intention of resting on his laurels.
Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie talks to CNN about his 4 World Championship wins and 27 world records.
Ruta Meilutyte's initial brush with swimming as a seven-year-old in Lithuania could never have foretold her success in the pool.
The youngest Lithuanian to win Olympic gold, Ruta Meilutyte talks about being a full-time student with a sporting career.
Amid all the noise and chaos of a short-track speed skating final, there is one voice in the crowd Charles Hamelin can hear as clear as a bell.
Canada's Charles Hamelin, who will defend his Olympic titles at Sochi 2014, reveals how he has mastered the ice sport.
Zoe Smith's petite frame should fool nobody -- she's a weightlifting warrior.
Gymnast turned Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith is the first Englishwoman to win a Commonwealth Games weightlifting medal.
"A must-have quality for figure skaters is, I think, gorgeousness."
Japan's figure skating champion Daisuke Takahashi on why he loves the adoration of the crowd and his hopes for Sochi 2014.
At an age when most pensioners are winding down their lives, Fauja Singh began a new one.
102-year-old retired marathon runner Fauja Singh reveals how he stays fitter than most people half his age.
As a shivering and nervous new recruit to the British Army in 2007 -- wearing three layers just to keep warm -- Semesa Rokoduguni began to seriously question why he had left the tropical Pacific Island of Fiji.
Human to Hero meets Semesa Rokoduguni, a Fijian soldier who is one of the rising stars of rugby union.
British sailor Ben Ainslie on preparing for the America's Cup and common misconceptions about his sport.
Ben Ainslie lives for sailing. He grew up near the sea, and he wants to retire on the ocean wave.
As driving snow enveloped him and the temperature sank towards zero, Songezo Jim must have wondered if all that hard graft to realize his dream was worth it.
Part of Africa's first ever cycling team, 22-year old Songezo Jim is hoping to qualify for the 2015 Tour de France.
Forget Point Break's party animals, modern surfing is more about professionalism.
Human to Hero meets reigning 5-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore on the Gold Coast of Australia.
As cricket grows in popularity in Afghanistan, captain Mohammad Nabi says the team dreams of hosting a match in Kabul.
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, and Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil hopes the game he learned as a war refugee will play a big part in uniting his country.
The only tinge of regret Alison Yu Chui Yee has from another prodigious Paralympic campaign is that she didn't take a leaf out of Usain Bolt's book.
Seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Alison Yu Chui Yee tells CNN about the strength needed to compete from a wheelchair.
Seven-time Paralympic gold medalist Alison Yu Chui Yee tells CNN about the strength needed to compete from a wheelchair.
The Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui crafts waste material from the streets into masterpieces.
Human to Hero meets Charlotte Dujardin and her horse Valegro who won two gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.
With a straight face and a shrug, world motorcycling champion Jorge Lorenzo details the danger involved in reaching the sport's dizzying pinnacle: "I had my first injury at age seven."
World MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo on growing up in the world of motorsport and his hopes for the new MotoGP season.
Standing 2.3m tall, French judoka Teddy Riner is a five-time world champion and an Olympic gold medalist.
Inspirational music has long served to focus the mind of some of the world's greatest sporting stars.
What do you do if you're a "crazy kid" growing up in Utah? You clip on your skis and go downhill fast -- very fast -- that's what.
CNN talks to Olympic gold medalist and World Champion. "Super" Ted Ligety.
Brazil's Terezinha Guilhermina won gold in London and wants to become the world's fastest Paralympian.
Born into grinding poverty and with a degenerative eye condition which left her almost totally blind, Terezinha Guilhermina first became aware of her athletic abilities when fleeing a school bully in her home city of Betim in Brazil.
Human to Hero meets David Clarke, who is battling to restore Britain's ice hockey glory days.
Great Britain can legitimately claim to have invented ice hockey, and even won gold at the 1936 Winter Olympics -- but its modern-day heroes are struggling to uphold that heritage in the face of adversity.
'The Flying Dutchman' is known for his daredevil high-bar routine which saw him take gold at London 2012 Olympics.
It was a "crazy" high-stakes routine that risked everything in the pursuit of gold.
Human to Hero meets 23-year-old Julius Yego, Kenya's first javelin thrower to compete in the Olympics.
He is self coached, he relies on YouTube videos to hone his technique -- and in running-mad Kenya, he had to plead with officials to win selection for the track and field team as a javelin thrower.
Standing tall in a sport once dubbed "boxing with rackets," Nicol David has a better analogy to define the particular rigors of squash.
Seven-time world squash champion Nicol David talks to CNN about her introduction to the sport.
Jose Mourinho might be feeling the pressure at Real Madrid, but the world's most famous soccer coach has taken time out to help a man from a tiny island nation who fully understands the importance of high-intensity decision-making.
First time African Cup of Nations qualifier Cape Verde will face off with South Africa this week.
Real Madrid player Rudy Fernandez on his time with the NBA and why he decided to return to Europe.
It's the dream of millions of basketball fans around the world -- to be an NBA star.
Human to Hero meets Thomas Florschutz and Kevin Kuske from the German bobsleigh team.
It could be the spartan living environment, or perhaps growing up in the thin air nearly 3,000 meters above sea level -- or maybe it's the influence of a legendary local coach.
Three-time Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba reveals how Ethiopia breeds some of the world's best long distance runners.
He can legitimately claim to be the fastest man on ice, and Kevin Kuske could even give Usain Bolt a run for his money in a foot race over 30 meters.
New Zealand All Blacks captain Richie McCaw talks to CNN about his journey into professional rugby.
It's not easy carrying the burden of a sports-mad nation's lofty expectations of world-beating dominance on your shoulders, especially on home soil, but Richie McCaw did it -- with a broken foot.
Zeinab Alhashemi wants to change how Middle Eastern art is perceived by using traditional materials in new ways.
If you look at Dubai, there is the modern side and the traditional side, but they all interact with each other. If I'm in the car, I can go from one place to another and see different backgrounds, different people and different surrounding -- and for me this is always interesting to show in my work.
It may not be as high-profile as football, but for Pedro Gil, captain of the Spanish team, roller hockey is everything.
It may not attract the TV audiences, armchair pundits and tasty endorsement deals that football does, but for Pedro Gil, roller hockey is everything.
Human to Hero meets Takehiko Inoue, one of Japan's most successful manga artists.
To many Westerners, Manga is synonymous with fantasy -- its glossy lines, popping color palettes and fanciful scenarios are an escapist's delight.
It was a shimmering metal wall hanging fashioned from thousands of bottle tops that won El Anatsui international acclaim.
South African captain Jean de Villiers reveals what it takes to achieve victory on and off the pitch.
I made my debut for South Africa at the age of 21. It was a very special day in my life being able to represent my country, but unfortunately it ended after seven minutes when I tore a ligament in my knee. It wasn't a great start to my international career, although I returned after nine months of rehabilitation.
Jason Griffin straps his right arm in bandages, preparing himself to grip the reins of a wildly bucking bronco. Tall, broad-shouldered, with a rough beard, he steps into his cowboy boots, fits a Stetson hat and heads out to meet his mount in the rodeo arena.
Human to Hero meets Chinese sculptor Xiang Jing as she shapes plaster and clay into masterpieces.
Few female Chinese artists have attained the level of international recognition that sculptor Xiang Jing enjoys.
For Alex Zanardi, losing both legs in a life-threatening crash was only the beginning of a new chapter.
Alex Zanardi talks about his transition from Formula 1 driver to Paralympic Gold medalist.
Now in modern China all the constructions have become modern, everywhere is concrete and concrete in China means cheap.
Pritzker Prize winning architect ,Wang Shu describes how the rural Chinese landscape inspires his design.
A friend of mine told me (when) I was 17 years old (that) I should sing opera because I had an interesting voice. I said: "Oh my gosh, No! These fat ladies singing on stage!"
Young Romanian opera star Anita Hartig makes her debut at world-renowned Milan opera house La Scala.
Lydia Maurer, Artistic Director at Paco Rabanne, talks about the challenges of being in the cutthroat fashion industry.
Making it to the top in one of the toughest and most fickle industries in the world, that of fashion design, requires a careful balance of knowing your own essence and giving the public what they expect.
Everyone thinks I'm a woman in a man's world, but to me I'm just a boxer doing the sport I love.
Boxer Nicola Adams talks to CNN about her journey to Olympic gold at the London 2012 games.
Making it to the top as a prima ballerina takes a lot of work, strength and time -- and, says, Svetlana Zakharova, "a lot of emotions."
Svetlana Zakharova is more than just the principal dancer for the Bolshoi Ballet. She is a brand in her own right.
Heston Blumenthal, whose restaurant, The Fat Duck, has three Michelin stars, explains his obsession with food.
Think about the most memorable meal you ever had. Was it just the taste you remember, or everything else around it?
Barely out of his teens, Britain's Benjamin Grosvenor is already seen as one of the finest pianists working today.
At an age when most of us were still mastering how to tie our shoelaces, Benjamin Grosvenor was working on his piano arpeggios and legato fingers.
Benjamin Grosvenor, who played at the BBC Proms 2012 is the youngest ever musician to be signed up to Decca Records
Amputee archer Gao Fangxia targets gold at the 2012 Paralympics in London.
Neil Leifer talks about how technology has impacted sports photography over the years.
Sports Illustrated's Steve Fine on his most memorable moments and the secrets behind great sports photography.
CNN's Don Riddell speaks with photographer Heinz Kluetmeier about the most memorable images from the London Olympics.
Photographer Neil Leifer talks about his iconic photo of gymnast Nadia Comaneci in the 1976 Montreal Games
CNN chats with British heptathlete Jessica Ennis ahead of the 2012 Olympics in London.
What makes an iconic sports image? CNN's Don Riddell visits Sports Illustrated to find out.
Sports Illustrated photographer Heinz Kluetmeier captured Michael Phelp's photo finish win in Beijing.
The Olympic Games have produced some of the greatest sports moments in history. And to go along with the great moments, there are often great photos: images that craft our memory of these moments.
Sports photographers from all over will descend on London for the 2012 Olympics to capture some of the world's best athletes in the heat of competition. You may not be headed to the games, but that doesn't mean you can't join in the fun! Welcome to the CNN iReport sports photography master class.
Japanese Marathon runner Naoko Takahashi won Olympic gold at the 2000 Sydney games.
Team Rwanda cyclist, Adrien Niyonshuti talks to CNN about the inspirational figures that helped him achieve his dream
Decathlete Bryan Clay talks to CNN about his journey to the Olympics and about the legacy the Games have.
Stephanie Rice talks to CNN about the obstacles she has had to overcome to represent Australia at the 2012 Olympics.
Sports stars love their routines. Some, like tennis champion Rafael Nadal, take it to extremes.
When Bryan Clay was growing up, it seemed very unlikely he would one day assume the mantle of "the greatest athlete in the world."
Team USA diver Brittany Viola talks to CNN about her inspirational father and training for Olympic success.
CNN talks to Sushil Kumar about his preparations for the London Olympics and his lifestyle in India.
Four-time Olympic gold medalist Matthew Pinsent talks about success and his formidable partnership with Steve Redgrave.
A century after her childhood inspiration Jim Thorpe won two gold medals at the Stockholm Olympics, synchronized swimmer Mary Killman will be competing in her first Games in London this year.