Nicole Cook, from the world of cycling and Andy Priaulx, a champion in motor sport, are the first to spring to mind.
Both compete in disciplines that are only sporadically covered by the mainstream media, and the specialist press is not a lot better. Motor sport, well, Formula One gets plenty of column inches, with headlines and front covers regularly devoted to Jenson Button - who as I write has won but a single race. Road cycling has writers slavering over the Tour de France or a drugs scandal. Outside this, there is little coverage for sports in which competitors from the UK have a long and illustrious history of success.
During the ludicrous contest that was the BBC: "Sports Personality of the Year" , Andy Priaulx did not even make it to the short-list despite being a double World Champion. Nicole Cook was made to look insipid during the interviews because the BBC didn't bother to provide an interviewer who knew or cared anything about her sport.
Bradley Wiggins is an international success as a track and road cyclist, the first Englishman since Chris Boardman to finish a Tour de France and yet is virtually unknown here in the UK. Mark Cavendish, a World and European Champion in Track Cycling in 2005 when a mere 20 year old, has been signed by one of the most successful teams on the Pro-Tour. When did you last hear of him?
It is, in some ways, a complete farce because of all the sports this country ploughs lottery money into, the one that is outstandingly successful is cycling. Recently we won World Medals across the board and yet there was virtually no press coverage. Pages and pages are devoted every week to football: the Premiership, Champions League, UEFA Cup and yet we are far more likely to succeed in world terms in cycling than we are even to qualify for Euro 2008.
I realise that we are dealing with a chicken and egg situation: the public thirsts for stories of footballers and other high-profile sports people, on and off the pitch, court or park. The press has to take note of the demand and feed the fever. It is not the responsibility of the journalists to encourage support for lesser-publicised sports, but, if these sports get no coverage, how can the public begin to appreciate and enjoy the success this country has and will go on, producing?
I've only looked at two disciplines here: cycling and a small part of the world of motor-sport but I've been able to find World Champions aplenty. I could cast my net further and find champions in at least 5 other sports.
Do we, here at home, only take note of winners when they get column inches? Surely medals and wins are what should count?