Swimming legend Adam Peaty has made a huge splash after been named one of the UK's most-influential sportsmen.

The Uttoxeter-born Olympic champ came third in a new league table of British athletes who inspire people to engage with sport.

Peaty was only bettered by England and Leicester City footballer Jamie Vardy and Welsh rugby captain Sam Warburton.

The 22-year-old often speaks of his ambition to inspire the next generation of UK swimmers.

And barber Al Harvey, who has cut Peaty's hair since he was a lad, says the swimmer's tough journey to the top has helped him get his message across.

Adam Peaty in action at the Rio Olympics

Mr Harvey, who runs Al's Barbers, in Church Street, Uttoxeter, said: "Swimming's been Adam's life ever since he was a small boy.

"He realises what it's like to be a young lad trying to make it and related to those people who are just starting out.

"Adam's always been the type of person to set an example by doing rather than talking.

"He was a very quiet, unassuming lad when he first came into the shop.

"Now he speaks so confidently and eloquently, but has never forgotten where he's come from."

Peaty, who was born and grew up in Byrds Lane, had a high-profile 2017, picking up an MBE and coming fifth in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year contest.

This helped him finish near the top of the new league collated by communications agency Exposure.

The group's study found sportsmen involved in athletics and swimming were as influential as high-profile footballers.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 07: Adam Peaty of Great Britain celebrates winning gold and setting a new world record in the Men's 100m Breaststroke Final on Day 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Olympic Aquatics Stadium on August 7, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Adam Peaty after winning gold at the World Aquatics Championships

Other prominent names to feature were Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, who came seventh, and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who was 10th.

But the list was not confined to professional athletes, with celebrity fitness coach Joe Wicks coming 12th and YouTube channel Copa90 ranked 11th.

Exposure's research examined athletes' online influence through social media platforms, appearances in books, newspapers and on TV.

Their personal "brand values" were determined based on their level of public interest, any recent scandals and their charity involvement.

Andy Jephson, head of sport and culture at Exposure, said: "Some of the 'traditional' big names of UK sport have been surpassed by players who fans have a closer connection to.

"From Jamie Vardy’s rise from the lower leagues to the emergence of young British stars like Marcus Rashford, our research suggests that football fans are looking for players who are authentic and real."

Peaty's involvement involvement in a Quorn advertising campaign and charity work for Perfect Day Foundation will have counted in his favour.

The former St Josephs Catholic Primary School and Painsley Catholic College student also has 125,000 Twitter followers.

The Top 20 most influential figures in UK sport

Name Name Sport/Role Position
Sam Warburton Rugby 1=
Jamie Vardy Football 1=
Adam Peaty Swimming 3
Owen Farrell Rugby 4
Gareth Thomas Rugby presenter 5
Tom Daley Diving 6
Dame Jessica Ennis Athletics commentator 7
Marcus Rashford Football 8
Dame Katherine Grainger Chair, UK Sport 9
Gary Lineker BBC Sports presenter 10
Copa90 YouTube 11
Joe Wicks Social media influencer 12
Spencer FC YouTube 13
Harry Kane Football 14
Ian Ritchie Rugby – CEO of RFU 15
Andy Murray Tennis 16
Gareth Bale Football 17
Baroness Grey-Thompson Member of the House of Lords, Board Member of London Legacy Development Corporation 18
Justin Rose Golf 19
Martin Glenn Football – CEO of FA 20

Peaty's unbelievable sporting success

To date, Peaty has won three Commonwealth Games, nine World Championship and two Olympic medals.

He has also contributed the fastest-ever 100m breaststroke relay leg, which was achieved in the medley relay in the Rio pool, where Team GB won a silver medal behind their American counterparts.

His proudest moment came when he won the 100m breaststroke gold medal at the same games.

Peaty, who was educated at Painsley Catholic College, in Cheadle, was the first man to swim the 50m breaststroke quicker than 26 seconds.

He swam 25.95 seconds on his way to retaining the world championships in Budapest this year.

He has swum the five fastest 50m breaststroke times ever recorded - as well as the five fastest 100m breaststroke times.

His 100m breaststroke world record stands at 57.55 seconds and was set at the Rio Olympics.