Who is the Greatest Olympian of All Time?

Phelps has been tagged the greatest Olympian of all time. I am not a swimmer but I do understand that what he accomplished is next to impossible by a single person in a single Olympic games. I appreciate what Phelps has done and it may never be repeated. One of the reasons 8 golds in one Olympics may never be repeated is because 99% of athletes cannot qualify for more than 2 or 3 events in a single Olympics. A fencer cannot win 8 golds unless they qualify in multiple sports. A track and field athlete could win the 100m, 200m, long jump, and the 4X100m relay in a single Olympics = 4 golds. It is just not feasible for someone to win the 100m and the 800m which limits the amount of events a track and field athlete can qualify for, which limits the number of medals they can win. I just don’t see how hardly any other sports would even allow someone to have a shot at 8 different events/gold medals. Swimming allows that.

So what makes the greatest Olympian? If it is sheer medal count then the swimmers will always be the greatest Olympians. But the Olympics are more than swimming. There are many other great athletes in many other sports that have no possibility of qualifying for 8 events in one games.

Who is the greatest Olympian? How about Jesse Owens and what he accomplished athletically, politically, and racially at the 1936 games in Berlin?

Who do you think is the greatest Olympian of all time?

0 Responses to Who is the Greatest Olympian of All Time?

  1. The multiple events aspect is one thing that makes this so amazing. Most people pour all of their being into a single race. If that is what it takes to win, I would be totally spent. Phelps (and others) are able to do this back to back to back… That is what amazes me. They have enough in the tank to win and the endurance to be ready to do it again. Doing grueling races an hour apart would obliterate me.

  2. mattdabbs says:

    That is a really good point. It amazed me that Phelps was beating people where it was their only race.

  3. Just Matt says:

    Tim Tebow (right Jordan?)- because as a friend recently reminded me – “Tim Tebow doesn’t swim in the pool. He stands still and the pool moves back and forth under him.” : )

    and THAT my friend is Great!

  4. Philip III says:

    See, Matty, and I thought you were going to say Kurt Angle. Now THAT is a real American hero

    😉

  5. Just Matt says:

    III – How could I forget Kurt Angle! Man what a loser I am.

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