waterpolodan
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Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:08 pm

I've been too busy watching the Olympics every second that I'm off work over the past week to spend much time on here, but I've yet to see any threads discussing the actual results of the Olympic events thus far, so I thought I'd start a thread mostly devoted to Michael Phelps, who now holds the title of the most successful Olympic athlete ever, and will soon set the mark of 8 golds in a single olympic games. Obviously he won't ever attempt this program again, but I'd put good money on Phelps getting 3 or 4 more gold medals in London in 4 years, after all, he'll only be 27 and the anchor on that amazing 4X100m relay that got Phelps one of his golds was the 32 year old Lezak, so 27 is still in his prime. Every time he's raced, he's crushed the world records, and although some of this is due to the deeper pool in Bejing and some of it due to the advancing technology of the suits the swimmers wear, there is no denying how good a swimmer he is. It's a pleasure to watch history of this sort being made, and it's also nice to put aside all the other crap about China as the olympic host and poor TV scheduling and whatnot.

Also, obviously I'm a big waterpolo fan and I hope anyone who has never seen the sport has taken the chance to watch some of the games on TV, I've trained with a few of the US national team players and they're a great bunch of guys, though they have their work cut out for them in the next game against an incredibly good Croatian team. The women's team has a better chance of a medal, they won the world championship in '07 and they are into the semifinals with a good shot at making it to the gold medal game.

Finally, it was great to see the 2 US women take 1-2 in the all around gymnastics final last night. Liukin deserved it and luckily the dubiously low scores she received in the first couple rotations (especially in comparison with the Chinese girl) became a non-issue when she aced her last couple events and took the gold. Cool that a former Soviet gold medalist would move to the US with his 2 year old daughter and see her become a gold medalist herself for the country that he probably considered his enemy growing up, must have been some interesting emotions going through his head as she stood on the podium.

[Edited 2008-08-15 14:09:09]
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:47 pm

I think Jesse Owens ranks up there for the things he had to overcome during the times.

Terry Fox and Dick and Rick Hoyt rank up there as being average citizens that went the extra mile.
 
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:11 pm

Jim Thorpe gets my vote!

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QANTAS077
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:17 pm

Paavo Nurmi still the greatest for me...all his golds were individual, Carl Lewis is still above Phelps in my opinion, Lewis won 1 in the relay and the rest were all individual gold.
 
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:26 pm



Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Arise Sir Steve:

Big version: Width: 300 Height: 300 File size: 17kb



5 Olympic golds and 1 bronze in 5 consective games:

Year: 2000
Achievement: Gold Medal Coxless Four

Year: 1996
Achievement: Gold Medal Coxless Pairs

Year: 1992
Achievement: Gold Medal Coxless Pairs

Year: 1988
Achievement: Gold Medal Coxless Pairs

Year: 1984
Achievement: Gold Medal Coxed Four

Year: 1988
Achievement: Bronze Medal Coxed Pair
Time: 7.01,95
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Aeroflot777
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:37 pm



Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Liukin

AMAZING athlete. Feel a sense of pride that she won. She has a great father and coach, and they deserved it both. Her performance was well-done and was definitely better than Johnson's.

Aeroflot777
 
N1120A
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:00 am



Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 3):
Carl Lewis is still above Phelps in my opinion, Lewis won 1 in the relay and the rest were all individual gold.

Lewis won 2 gold medals in the relays, not 1. Plus, relays are an even more important part of swimming, because swimmers often swim a variety of them, not just one. Additionally, Phelps has shown a much greater breadth of skill than Lewis. Lewis was a sprinter and long jumper, and his jumping was fueled by his amazing speed. The thing that is amazing about Phelps is that he can swim every single stroke, which requires completely different skills, at a world class level, not to mention that he has won both endurance and sprint events.

Quoting Aeroflot777 (Reply 5):

AMAZING athlete. Feel a sense of pride that she won. She has a great father and coach, and they deserved it both. Her performance was well-done and was definitely better than Johnson's.

One of the most graceful gymnasts I have ever seen. She combines athleticism and grace in such a way that so few have ever been able. Reminds me in a lot of ways of the perfect combination of the old Romanian and Russian gymnasts with a healthy dose of modern American athleticism. Johnson is a fighter, but her stature just doesn't allow for the kind of grace Liukin has.
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LTU932
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:24 am

You also have to include Sergey Bubka into the list. The greatest pole vault jumper ever. He may have only won gold once, but his performances for the Soviet Union and later the Ukraine are still a benchmark for current and future pole vault jumpers.
 
waterpolodan
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 3:25 am

Add gold number 7 to that list, though he is clearly slipping as he didn't set a world record and only won the race by .01 seconds  Wink
 
corocks
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 4:18 am

To me, to be considered the greatest athlete of all time, you need to be a multi-sport athlete. I feel the term athlete in general means "all-around", not specific to 1 sport. That is why I always put people like Jim Thorpe on the top of my list.

I think either sports illustrated or ESPN did a segment on the greatest athlete of all time and they listed Mohamed Ali as #1. While a great athlete, it was a stretch for me to call him the greatest of all time.
 
don81603
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:51 am

Nah, my vote goes to the UK ski jumper Eddie the Eagle.  Wink

Seriously, though... For the obstacles they had to overcome, I think the Jamaican bobsled team is tops.
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HAWK21M
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 5:30 pm

How does Phelps get so successfull/
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David_itl
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 6:58 pm

I believe Usain Bolt is going to be the greatest sprinter of all time. Imagine what time he wpuld run if he actually ran the complete 100 metres instead of just 80! Completey dominated the final, winning by around 2 metres and breaking his own world record by 0.03 seconds. The potnential is there for 9.5 seconds to be achieved which no-one (including those on drugs!) is going to touch for plenty of years. Next up for him is the 200m.

For multiple skills, why not Daley Thompson, double Olympic decathlon champion.

Other than that, I'll second

Quoting BristolFlyer (Reply 4):


Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Arise Sir Steve:

 
waterpolodan
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 7:14 pm



Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 11):
How does Phelps get so successfull/

2 things- His natural talent, which is largely due to his physique which happens to be perfect for swimming (Huge wingspan, extra long torso, giant flipper like feet), and his incredible training regime and commitment. He spends 5 or 6 hours in the pool every day, swimming continuously. He's also very, very focused mentally, which allows him to block out everything else and put all of his energy and concentration into being the best swimmer of all time, which he most certainly is. People like Lochte have nearly as much or maybe even more natural ability and talent, but they can't hold a candle to Phelps' training and focus, so they win but not nearly as consistently and with the same level of dominance as Phelps.
 
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:42 pm



Quoting Waterpolodan (Reply 8):
Add gold number 7 to that list, though he is clearly slipping as he didn't set a world record and only won the race by .01 seconds

Holy crap, that was unbelievable! Rowdy Gaines said coming into the Games that he thought Phelps could win 8 golds, but that it would take a miracle. Well, I think the 4X100 freestyle relay and the 100m butterfly bore out that statement. It takes an incredible amount of skill and a little bit of luck, too.
 
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 9:50 pm



Quoting David_itl (Reply 12):
For multiple skills, why not Daley Thompson, double Olympic decathlon champion.

This.

Or pretty much any athlete who is able to compete in top level heptathlon, as none of the 7 events have much in common, so competitors have to be pretty damn good all-rounders.

As much respect I have for swimmers like Michael Phelps, you have to admit that most of the events he's participating in is pretty much the same.

Quoting BristolFlyer (Reply 4):
Arise Sir Steve:

He's going to face competition soon, at least if Eskild Ebbesen takes on London 2012 as well. So far he's won 6 world cups, 2 olympic gold medals and a olympic bronze medal in the mens lightweight coxless fours. And if all goes to plan, he'll add another olympic gold medal to his tally tomorrow  Wink
 
bravo45
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:51 pm

Not just Olympics, I doubt anyone has ever matched this guy's record domination.


Jahangir's playing record stands by itself: 10 British Opens, a five-and-a half year unbeaten streak, countless titles.




In his own words:

'It wasn't my plan to create such a record. All I did was put in the effort to win every match I played and it went on for weeks, months and years until my defeat to Ross Norman (of New Zealand) in Toulouse in 1986.

The pressure began to mount as I kept winning every time and people were anxious to see if I could be beaten. In that World Open final, Ross got me. It was exactly five years and eight months. I was unbeaten for another nine months after that defeat.'

Source: http://www.squashtalk.com/featuredplayer/playersept2001.htm
 
QANTAS077
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:28 pm



Quoting David_itl (Reply 12):
I believe Usain Bolt is going to be the greatest sprinter of all time.

what you reckon will happen to Johnson's 200m record this week? that run last night was awesome, so awesome I'm saving for a trip to London in 2012 just so I can watch him run.
 
huskyaviation
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Sun Aug 17, 2008 12:07 am



Quoting Bravo45 (Reply 16):
Not just Olympics, I doubt anyone has ever matched this guy's record domination.

Impressive, but I would submit for sheer domination, it has to be Alexander Karelin. The guy went 13 years undefeated, and didn't even give up a point for 6 years. Pretty incredible.
 
misbeehavin
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:43 am



Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Michael Phelps, who now holds the title of the most successful Olympic athlete ever, and will soon set the mark of 8 golds in a single olympic games

Yes, but then swimming awards 96 of the 302 total medals in Beijing... That's almost a third! Whereas in a sport like tennis, the most medals one person can possibly win is 2.
 
corocks
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:13 pm



Quoting Bravo45 (Reply 16):
Not just Olympics, I doubt anyone has ever matched this guy's record domination.



Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 18):
Impressive, but I would submit for sheer domination, it has to be Alexander Karelin. The guy went 13 years undefeated, and didn't even give up a point for 6 years. Pretty incredible.

I think Edwin Moses has to be in this discussion as well. 10 years undefeated, 122 wins in a row.
 
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EA CO AS
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:33 pm



Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Greatest Athlete Of All Time

That's easy - Frank the Tank!

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ndebelebev
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:36 pm

I used to like watching Haile Gebrselassie... The great Ethiopian long distance runner...
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ER757
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:02 pm



Quoting COrocks (Reply 9):
To me, to be considered the greatest athlete of all time, you need to be a multi-sport athlete. I feel the term athlete in general means "all-around", not specific to 1 sport. That is why I always put people like Jim Thorpe on the top of my list.

I'll agree with this - there are other great multi-sport athletes as well such as Dave Winfield, who although he made his name in baseball, he was highly sought after as a football and basketball player. Then there was Dave Bebusshier (probably mis-spelled) who pitched in major leaugue baseball and was an NBA basketball star. There was Deion Sanders who was an all-star in both baseball and football - and of course we can't forget Bo Jackson. Had he not gotten hurt, we would probably have gotten my vote as best ever.
If you're talking greatest single-sport athlete of all time, it begins and ends with Lance Armstrong IMHO.
 
N1120A
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:14 pm



Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 17):

what you reckon will happen to Johnson's 200m record this week?

That is a very different race and a very different record. Bolt himself hasn't come within more than .35 of Johnson, and Tyson Gay is the second best at .30 short of Johnson. Running that turn and maintaining that speed is incredibly difficult.

Quoting HuskyAviation (Reply 18):

Impressive, but I would submit for sheer domination, it has to be Alexander Karelin. The guy went 13 years undefeated, and didn't even give up a point for 6 years. Pretty incredible.

Karelin is up there, and his training methods suggest even greater athleticism. That said, he probably should have stayed undefeated in that cheap victory by Gardner.

Quoting ER757 (Reply 23):

I'll agree with this - there are other great multi-sport athletes

I think Jim Brown's multi-sport abilities are often overlooked. Not only was he one of the greatest football players of all time, he was one of the greatest lacrosse players of all time.

Quoting ER757 (Reply 23):

If you're talking greatest single-sport athlete of all time, it begins and ends with Lance Armstrong IMHO.

I have to disagree. Armstrong was, and is, great, but he was still kind of a specialized guy within his sport. Phelps, on the other hand, swims every single stroke at a world class level.
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:18 pm

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ER757
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:32 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 24):
Quoting ER757 (Reply 23):

If you're talking greatest single-sport athlete of all time, it begins and ends with Lance Armstrong IMHO.


I have to disagree. Armstrong was, and is, great, but he was still kind of a specialized guy within his sport. Phelps, on the other hand, swims every single stroke at a world class level.

Good point.....that is certainly something to consider. Phelps has certainly proved to be able to perform at an incredidbly high level in a variety of events.
 
QANTAS077
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:27 pm



Quoting ER757 (Reply 23):
If you're talking greatest single-sport athlete of all time, it begins and ends with Lance Armstrong IMHO.

Eddy Merckx is all over Armstrong any day of the year...Lance prepared for 1 race a year only where Eddie won TDF, Giro and Vuelta plus the World cycling championship 3 times.
 
navymmw
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Tue Aug 19, 2008 4:54 am

I'm only 16 so I dont really know many of the older Great athletes so I'm going to have to go with Phelps. Also about Armstrong, even though he may not be the greatest athlete he is one of the most inspiring athletes.
 
David_itl
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Tue Aug 19, 2008 1:02 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 24):
Quoting QANTAS077 (Reply 17):

what you reckon will happen to Johnson's 200m record this week?

That is a very different race and a very different record. Bolt himself hasn't come within more than .35 of Johnson, and Tyson Gay is the second best at .30 short of Johnson. Running that turn and maintaining that speed is incredibly difficult.

did you see him doing his leisurely stroll for the last 20 to 25 metres in his 2nd round, having barely sprinted the previous 25m? There is scope for his time be really close to 19.32s. What would you give for a Johnson v. Bolt run-off!
 
N1120A
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:31 am



Quoting David_itl (Reply 29):
What would you give for a Johnson v. Bolt run-off!

Unfortunately, Johnson is 41 years old now.
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David_itl
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:42 pm



Quoting N1120A (Reply 30):
Johnson is 41 years old now.

I know he's that old, forgot to put "if both were at the peak of their powers".
 
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Dreadnought
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RE: Greatest Athlete Of All Time

Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:46 pm



Quoting Waterpolodan (Thread starter):
Also, obviously I'm a big waterpolo fan

What a terrible sport! It's extremely cruel to the horses  Wink

Seriously, I don't think anyone can hold a candle to Phelps, and probably won't for a long time to come.
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