As the year comes to an end, it’s time to look back at the stars that have joined our Hall of Fame for Guinness World Records 2023.
As the theme of the 2023 edition was ‘space’, we can certainly say that the sky is the limit for these inspirational personalities: from incredible sport results to rocking the music industry, to body transformations to achieving lifelong dreams, these record breakers are the perfect embodiment of the Guinness World Records values of respect, integrity and fun.
Our inductees have proved to be pioneers in their fields and to be beacons of change, excellence and skills.
Without further ado, let’s meet our Hall of Famers!
Cristiano Ronaldo: Most goals in men’s internationals
Scoring 118 goals for his country’s national team, Portugal, Ronaldo maintained his previous record for most goals scored in international football matches (male) and broke several new ones during the World Cup.
Some of them are game-changing in sports, like being the first player to score in five different World Cups (male), while others reflect his ever-growing fame and saw him become the firstperson with 500 million followers on Instagram.
Back in 2003, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson reportedly said: “Ronaldo is one of the most exciting young players I’ve ever seen".
Top-scoring player and Instagram sensation (his account broke two records and is followed by 514M people and counting), after 196 matches with the Portugal team, Ronaldo continues to be a true MVP and has no intention of stopping.
As he reaches unimaginable heights and keeps aiming higher, we can’t wait to see what new records await him in 2023.
Wally Funk: oldest woman in space
Since the theme of Guinness World Records 2023 is indeed space we couldn’t but raise our eyes to the sky, searching for the brightest stars in the galaxy.
Wally Funk (USA), astronaut, teacher and pioneer, is indeed one of them.
Born in 1939, Wally has shaped generations of pilots and would grow to be the oldest woman to ever fly into space, realizing her dream at over 80 years old.
A promising pilot in the 60s, despite the outstanding results she achieved during training Wally soon faced the gender discrimination of her times – and, although women couldn’t become astronauts, they would still play a pivotal role behind the scenes. That was the case of Wally.
Wally graduated top of her class and powered through her studies, becoming an officer at the renewed “Flying Aggies” aviation club and being awarded with several accolades - “Outstanding Female Pilot” among them.
However, the route of a pilot was a male-only career choice. Without the possibility of entering the Air Force and with no intention of renouncing her passion, Wally became a civilian flight instructor at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
Wally’s role was to train male Air Force candidates despite the impossibility of joining the Air Force herself. She was also part of the female-only “Mercury 13” program. But passing all her tests with flying colours and out-performing male pilots and astronauts never changed one fact: her gender, and its social limitations.
“I will fly ‘til I die” – Wally Funk
After a lifetime devoted to space and flying, albeit behind the scenes, in 2021 Wally finally realized her lifelong dream of going into space.
She became the oldest person to fly to space at 82 years 169 days old when she was invited by American entrepreneur Jeff Bezos to be part of a suborbital spaceflight mission aboard the Blue Origin NS-16.
“No one has waited longer,” Bezos, owner of Blue Origin, told her. “It’s time.”
Beyoncé: Queen of Femme Pop
Who runs the world?
We may not have an answer to that (although we are sure ‘girls!’ came to mind, echoing a certain chart-topping 2011 song), it’s undoubted that very few artists can say to have reached the fame of Beyoncé Knowles.
Often dubbed queen of pop, she keeps inspiring awe with her deep notes and impeccable style.
The Texas-born singer holds a total of 20 record titles to her name, as well as an unparalleled importance in modern music history.
Although her career took off as part of the female powerhouse trio Destiny’s Child, the performer decided to fly solo in 2003.
As of June 2021, Beyoncé is (among other titles) the record holder for the most BET Awards won by an individual title, with 32 BET awards achieved between 2001 and 2021.
With viral hits like "Single Ladies" going viral or deeply intimate releases, like "Lemonade" in 2016, and starting a true Beynassance after the 2022 release of her seventh studio album Renaissance, in more ways than one Queen Bey has shaped (and keeps doing so) the contemporary music industry.
From her efforts in promoting female empowerment to her game-changing music to the continuous chart-toppers and record titles collected throughout the year, Beyoncé's star shines bright in the 2023 Hall of Fame.
And, if you think you’re a true Beyoncé fan, maybe you would like to challenge Clara Amfo’s record.
The radio broadcaster from the UK broke the record for most Beyoncé songs identified from their lyrics in one minute during a BBC Radio 1 event that happened in March 2021, encouraging donations for Comic Relief.
In just one minute, Clara identified a total of 12 songs!
Ellie Simmonds: Youngest recipient of an MBE
Either on the dancefloor or inside a pool, Ellie Simmonds keeps winning.
Her list successes and records goes on and on, in and out of the pool, and spans several world championships and three Olympic Games (London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020).
But how much do you truly know about Ellie’s records?
Born Eleanor May Simmonds, at 14 she made history by becoming the youngest recipient of an MBE (being awarded with a Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) in history, in light of her "services to disabled sport".
She swam on to break more records in the S6 category, such as the fastest swim short course 400 m freestyle - S6 (female).
No matter the swimming style, Ellie ruled over the pool and kept bagging new successes.
Even though she called time on her Paralympic career in 2021, just after the Tokyo games, Ellie’s wins, her TV apparitions and her lovable, positive attitude have stemmed a newfound interest on paralympic disciplines while the entire Great Britain cheered for her.
More recently, the former professional swimmer has taken the dancefloor by storm at Strictly Come Dancing.
After establishing herself as a fierce competitor, she was the 6th star to leave the competition. However, she won over the hearts of the audience, judges and fellow contestants.
Rumeysa Gelgi: the tallest woman living
Officially the tallest woman living standing at 215.16 cm (7ft 0.7in), Rumeysa is a never-ending source of inspiration, an advocate for positivity and a divulgator.Confirmed as the tallest teenager living in 2014, today Rumeysa is also the record holder for several other body records:
- Longest finger on a living person (female): 11.2 cm (4.40 in)
- Largest hands on a living person (female): her right hand measures 24.93 cm (9.81 in), while the left one measures 24.26 cm (9.55 in)
- Longest back on a living person (female): 59.90 cm (23.58 in)
Now working as a self-taught front-end developer, Rumeysa’s incredible height is due to her condition, a rare genetic condition called Weaver Syndrome (also referred to as WS).
Weaver Syndrome is normally easy to spot during the pregnancy and is of hereditary nature. The uncontrolled growth is caused by mutations in a specific gene that overlooks many aspects of the correct functionality of other genes, explaining why Weaver Syndrome impacted so severely Rumeysa’s height.
Although her journey hasn’t always been easy and her childhood was punctuated by several surgeries, and she sadly encountered some negativity growing up, Rumeysa is incredibly dedicated and continuously uses her platform to spread awareness and be a voice for positivity.
“Living with some severe diagnoses for my life inspired me to raise awareness and help to get treatment options further and empower other individuals who are in similar situations,” she said.
Max Park: the fastest average time to solve a rotating puzzle cube one-handed
When it comes to cubing, Max Park – a young speedcuber from California, USA - has no competition.
While many talented people participate in speedcubing competitions all around the world every year, Max has continuously trained and honed his skills to become one of the best in the world. Scrambling is almost like second nature for him now, and his timings are almost unbelievable.
Max, of Korean American heritage, has always dedicated himself to Rubik’s cubes.
After being diagnosed with autism at the age of two, Max found a true passion for scrambling and it became his favourite activity, as well as something that would keep him active and that would help him socialize. With the support of his parents, he has grown to be a cubing prodigy.
“Cubing has proved to be a good therapy for Max to socialize and strengthen his skills,” they said about Max’s love for speedcubing.
In 2018, he earned himself the record for the fastest average time to solve a rotating puzzle cube one-handed with an incredible time of only 9.42 seconds.
Find out more about the largest collection of rotating puzzles in the world!
Max’s records are many -- almost too many to count -- and one more jaw-dropping than the other, spanning across different speedcubing disciplines and tournaments.
This continuous success, as well as his ability to better his previous bests, has earned him a spot in the 2023 Hall of Fame.
Both his parents are beyond proud of Max’s accomplishments, and look forward to his new successes.
About his son’s results, Max’s father has commented: “Max is incredibly happy to be featured in the Guinness World Records book because his whole life is about being the best and that being quantifiable. To see his name in the ranks of the best is going to be just amazing for him. His motto is ‘don’t think, just solve’.”
Lucky Diamond Rich: Most tattooed man living
Originally from Queensland, Australia, Lucky Diamond Rich is a walking work of art.
Born Greg Paul McLaren, after spending over 1,000 hours having his body modified by tattoo artists, Lucky has been officially recognized as the most tattooed man on Earth.
Lucky got his first tattoo when he was only 16, in the 80s: he started with a small black-and-white design, a juggling club placed on his hip.
He also made sure that the tiny design would be easy to hide from his mother, who might have disapproved.
Fast forward a few years and an incredible amount of hours modifying his skin later, Lucky has over 200% of his body covered in ink and boasts a unique appearance that has earned him a coveted spot in the Guinness World Records 2023 Hall of Fame.
Some areas of his body have over three layers of ink, with new tattoos layered over older ones.
He also sports tattoos on his eyelids, in the delicate skin between the toes and in the upper part of the ear canals. Even his gums are tattooed.
But how did he get there?
"Just one tattoo at a time I guess, that’s how everyone does it," he said.
Now working as a construction worker, Lucky has lived first-hand the stigma against tattoos and body mods. Although now society’s degree of acceptance towards tattooed bodies is better than it used to be, he still faces some backlash due to his appearance.
Today, Lucky feels the need to remark that under all those eye-catching layers of ink he’s exactly like everybody else.
He still bleeds, suffers and feels like every other person and, although he’s proud of his tattoos, he’s also happy to live an ordinary life.
“I’m no different to anyone else, I’m just heavily tattooed.” - Lucky Diamond Rich
David Aguilar: first functional foot-controlled LEGO® prosthetic arm
Who hasn’t played with LEGO® at least once in their life?
From simple houses to models of spaceships, there’s nothing you can’t build with the popular toy and loads of imagination.
Record holder and inventor David “Hand Solo” Aguilar, from Andorra, has been known for challenging the limits of the famous bricks at a tender age.
Due to Poland Syndrome, a congenital disease that can cause underdeveloped muscles in the subject's limbs, David was born without a fully developed right forearm. However, that didn’t stop him: on the contrary, it encouraged David to create prosthetic arms out of LEGO® bricks.
At 9, David was already testing new inventions and ways to build himself a fully-functioning prosthetic arm.
When he was only 18, the outstanding bioengineering student created the world’s first functional LEGO® prosthetic arm and he broke his first world record.
Now, he is considered a real-life Tony Stark thanks to his creations using LEGO® Technic – a stronger, more durable type of LEGO bricks.
When he’s not studying or developing new LEGO bricks creations, David is a writer and an advocate for inclusion.
He is also reaching out to help others through his creations, with affordable, high-functioning prosthesis models.
That’s the case of the record for the first functional foot-controlled LEGO® prosthetic arm, a title that David achieved when he created a custom prosthetic arm for eight-year-old young Beknur Bektemissova (Kazakhstan).