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Michael Phelps: Greatest athlete ever?

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Poll: with his 19 medals (most ever earned), is he the greatest Olympic athlete ever? (7 member(s) have cast votes)

with 15 GOLD medals (19 total), is Phelps the best athlete ever?

  1. yes (0 votes [0.00%])

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  2. no (7 votes [100.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 100.00%

  3. not sure (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  4. not even (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

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#1 slice slice baby

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 06:12 PM

Thoughts... why or why not?
what constitutes a 'best athlete ever'?
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#2 ADog

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Posted 01 August 2012 - 08:18 PM

No, and the reason I say that is I do not feel you can give that title to anyone. Greatest athlete of these times?, yea I would probably agree with that. I really don't think you can accurately compare athletes of different eras. By saying Phelps is the greatest athlete of all time, that means you would be eliminating people like Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens, Mohammed (sp?) Ali, Michael Jordon and so on. Each of the athletes I named were agruably the best athlete of their time ( and not really sold on saying Ali was), but again, were they better than Phelps, or Phelps better than they? Not sure if I can honestly say that either way

#3 Duh Huh Dull Sucks

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Posted 02 August 2012 - 06:48 PM

What qualifies a person as "athletic"? You have to consider that Phelps is excelling at this one sport. Would he beat Jordan at basketball? Doubtful. Would Jordan beat him at swimming? Doubtful as well. I think it becomes impossible to label a specific athlete as the most athletic ever. Especially an athlete who plays or played one sport. I don't really see that "medals won" make any particular athlete more athletic than another.

#4 Pulitzer

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 01:58 AM

Calling him the greatest swimmer of all time, especially since he's won at multple distances in multiple strokes, is entirely plausible. I would argue that a top-flight decathlete is a greater all-around athlete. Granted, they don't swim.

Yeah, it's hard to put a label on "best athlete ever." I think a prime Bo Jackson could have given Thorpe or Owens a run for their money. And who's to say that Phelps, with a couple years of full training, wouldn't have made a good decathlete? And who knows what Thorpe, given modern training and nutrition, could have done. It's certainly fun to discuss it, and really there's no right or wrong answer.

#5 ADog

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 04:49 PM

Never thought about Bo, but have to agree...he definitely was a hellava athlete.............Damn shame he got injuried when he did...would have been fun to see what he could have done in both sports over alonger period

#6 Common Sense

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 11:03 PM

Absolutely not, and there are several reasons for that. Best Olympic swimmer, yes. Best athlete? Can't say that. Nothing against swimmers, but swimmers aren't your typical all around athletes. I typically see most kids start with the "major" sports, football, basketball and baseball. When those don't work out, you see kids migrate to golf, swimming, track and field and other sports. I don't know Phelps at all, but if he was a standout football or basketball player growing up, we may have never seen him in a pool.

#7 Mo-Problems

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:59 AM

Not sure I'd even call him the best Olympian, let alone greatest athlete. Carl Lewis still gets my nod for that.

In swimming, you have medalists as young as 16 and as old as 40. That means you don't have to be in top physical form (usually age 24-30) to win a medal in swimming. In Track, you get about two Olympics to prove what you can do. If you're real good, you might be able to eek out another.
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#8 fortfan

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Posted 13 August 2012 - 07:20 AM

I think you can say "Greatest Olympian" and "Greatest Swimmer". Probaly not even close to "Greatest Athlete".

#9 Hagen

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 08:19 AM

Gotta give props to Bo Jax and even Dion Sanders of recent memory. To play two different sports at the highest of levels for several years, that's impressive.
Current "greatest athlete" may be LBJ. Like him or not, he is a physical specimen. No denying that. Others to ponder: Tebow, RG3, Vernon Davis, Gronk, Dwight Howard and Mike Trout may surprise as well.
Of historical perspective, can't deny throwing in MJ, Thorpe and Ali. Outside of running, Idk how good Owens was (Usain Bolt/Michael Johnson theory). Enlighten me if he did do something else though.
What would be a genius idea would be to get a major sponsor to hold a decathlon for 5-10 athletes of multiple professional sports. Not like the olympics though, I want to see ping-pong, swimming, golf and hockey along with running, jumping, throwing, etc thrown in. To me, that'd be must-watch TV and would make a marketing career for someone. Pay all $500K to show up. Another $500K for the winner and match the $1mil to a charity.

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