Greatest Sportsperson?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Anno Draconis, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Who would you say is the greatest sportman/woman ever? And why? How would you even decide something like this?! Discuss.....;)

    Here's a few to kick off:

    Martina Navratilova: In an era when we get giddy if a brit gets to the 2nd week of Wimbledon, we forget that Martina has won TWENTY titles there, including the women's singles an astonishing 9 times. She has won 18 grand slam singles titles and an astonishing 41 grand slam doubles titles. That's proper tournaments like the US Open, not the Pontefract Invitational that we get excited about brits winning. Her 59th grand slam win came only last year when, at the age of 50, she won the US Open Mixed Doubles with Bob Bryan. She is only the 3rd woman in history to have won the "boxed set" - singles, womens doubles and mixed doubles at every grand slam. Awesome.

    Ed Moses: An American 400m hurdler, whose first international event was the 1976 olympics, which he won in a world record time. The following year, having broken his own world record he lost four consecutive races, and vowed not to repeat the experience. He didn't, for nearly 10 years. From August 1977 to June 1987 Ed Moses won 122 consecutive races. He lost one race in June 87 and then won the next 10, finally retiring after getting a "mere" bronze at the Seoul olympics. In that 10 years he broke the world record on 2 more occasions, won 3 world cup titles, 2 world championships, olympic gold in LA and would almost certainly have won gold in Moscow but for the US boycott.

    Any more?
  2. AndyCat

    AndyCat Active Member

    Tiger Woods - and plenty left yet, he's still not reached his best.
  3. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

  4. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    So why is Ali often regarded as "The Greatest"? Was he really a better technical, pound-for-pound boxer than Foreman, or Sugar Ray Robinson, or even Marciano? After all, Marciano retired undefeated, Ali didn't. There's also arguably a case to be made for Chavez or Roy Jones Jr. Is it Ali's charisma that makes him the best? I never saw him fight so this is a genuine question?

    The 2 examples I gave were simply two people at the very, very top of their sport for a sustained period. There's more to Ali than that; is that what it takes to be the greatest?
  5. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    Very, very difficult question Andy. In fact, I am not sure I can answer that - there are so many great sportsmen, sportswomen and teams out there each with their very own unique set of accomplishments, achievements and talents.

    Redgrave, Torville & Dean, Seb Coe, Ali, Jahangir Khan, Kano, Borg (Star Trek... errrm.. sorry.. Bjorn), Steve Davies, Pelé, Spitz, Daley T., Nadia Kominec - there are so many excellent calibre sportsmen that to choose just one who shines above the rest would be an insult to the others. Personally I don't believe it can be done - it is simply too subjective.

    Interesting discussion base though, looking forward to seeing who people nominate. Maybe we could at some point turn this into a poll?
  6. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's a difficult one to answer as we don't tend to know much about sports other than what is in the media. Ali was voted recently as the greatest sportsperson and Tiger Woods in future times may assume that title but Michael Schumacher has broken virtually every record in F1 and must be a serious candidate.
  7. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

  8. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    What about the chap that won the world championship on both 2 and 4 wheels? was if Fangio?

    Then there was the boxer who won world titles at, I think, 4 different weights, was that Duran?

    Sorry for the vagueness, but it is early and I have just finished marking 2 sets of yr 9 work :oops: :oops:
  9. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    Redgrave has got to be up there. An awesome achievement.
    Michael Johnson? World records at 200 and 400 that nobody has got close to.
  10. Maestro

    Maestro Active Member

    Jesse Owens
  11. Darth_Tuba

    Darth_Tuba Active Member

    I'll go along with Tiger Woods. Not just on his trophys (in what is one of the most unpredictable sports around) and his natural ability, but mainly on the fact that he has opened up his sport to a whole new audience. Not only has he made himself a fortune but he's probably increased the earnings of everyone in proffessional golf one way or another. Like Andy said, his isn't even halfway finished yet. And I don't even particularly like golf! :-?
  12. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    John Surtees won the F1 World Championship and the 500cc Motorcycle World Chapionship. IIRC he's the only person to do this.

    This is probably nigh on impossible to sort out once and for all, but it's a great topic for conversation though.

    In terms of pure perfromances you'd have to put Schumacher up there, whether you would call him a sportsman in the truest sense is open to opinion though (and that could be as subjective a debate as this one will be!!). Moving over to the muddier side of motorsport, Seb Loeb looks pretty unbeatable, and if he continues driving as he currently is, in a few years time he should almost certainly match Schumachers' achievements. You'd also have to shout out to Rossi as he has totally dominated MotoGP, and is capable of showing a lot of speed on four wheels too. The first person to win bike GP and WRC World Championships? Others? Fangio? Agostini? Doohan? - who nearly lost his leg but still recovered to win multiple World Championships. But motorsprot is littered with names of people who should've been great, but their career was sadly cut short: Gilles Villeneuve, Henri Toivenen, even Senna.

    Other sports? Well its funny how, whenever someone asks this question Ali's name is often the first thing most people say. Maybe it's because he used the "greatest" tag so often it became synonimous with him? You could also include:

    Football: Pele? Eusabio?
    Golf: Woods, Nicklaus
    Rugby union? Interesting...Martin Johnson? David Campese? Zinzan Brooke?
    Tennis: Borg? McEnroe?

    In short I don't know, but I'm looking forward to seeing who gets a shout on here and agreeing / arguing with the choices!
  13. Will the Sec

    Will the Sec Active Member

    Bradman. I think it would be difficult to show that play by play anyone in any other sport has been so far ahead of everybody else.
  14. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Woods, Nicklaus or Ali. I wouldn't like to have to pick a winner from that trio.
  15. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    For a single sport, Wayne Gretzky, especially for offense - his all-time scoring record is literally double that of the nearest competitor.

    For all-around athletics, Jim Thorpe. Starred in both American football and baseball (which require very different skills) and won an Olympic decathalon.
  16. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Having had no clue who Jahangir Khan is, I Googled him and found his Wikipedia entry:

    Jahangir Khan (born December 10, 1963, sometimes spelled "Jehangir Khan") is a former World No. 1 professional squash player from Pakistan, who is considered by many to be the greatest player in the history of the game. During his career he won the World Open six times and the British Open a record ten times. Between 1981 and 1986, he was unbeaten in competitive play for five years. During that time he won 555 matches consecutively. This was not only the longest winning streak in squash history, but also one of longest unbeaten runs by any athlete in top-level professional sport.

    This is precisely what I was hoping for - people who are not usually mentioned in TV polls, but who have been consistently at the pinnacle of achievement. I know everyone automatically thinks of Ali but is that because of his high media profile?

    What about Alfredo di Stefano? - Real Madrid player who won 5 consecutive European Cups with the great 1950s side and until recently held the European Champions Cup/Champions League scoring record and was only surpassed because the top clubs now play far more games to win the Champions League.

    I'd tend to agree that a definitive answer on this topic is impossible, but I'd love to hear opinions.
  17. iggmeister

    iggmeister Member

    It is difficult to say why he is the greatest although by the words you used, his name immediately springs to mind, even if only because he did say he was the greatest.

    I am not really a boxing fan. Its a bit like a car crash - you know you shouldn't look but sometimes you cant help looking. Personally, if you want to be involved in a sport which involves beating each other up then you must be a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

    However, they are great sportsmen. They train as if its their religion and show great dedication. At the time of the Rumble in the Jungle et al, Ali was watched by millions at a time when there were not so many people who had access to a TV. In today's society I understand the equivalent viewing figures would be much higher than those that our current best achieve. My Dad said that my Grandad detested boxing but would always watch and listen to what Ali had to say - he had that effect upon people who had no interest in his sport. Just like Tiger does now with golf, he made people take an interest in what he was doing.

    Perhaps some will say he was just the greatest sports personality, but that is part of being the greatest sportsman. there are so many automatons out there today. We need characters. Tiger is a great sportsman, but not that entertaining (its his focus and determination that draws me to watch him, as it is inspiring). People like Phil Tufnell, Ally McCoist, Frankie Detori have great personalities and (with the exception of Detori) were hardly at the top of their profession.

    Ali beat the best. I am not a boxing expert, but am told by my friends who are very much into boxing that Ali fought some of the best fighters of all time and beat them. At his best, he was the greatest and beat others who, but for the fact that Ali beat them, could also have claimed to be the greatest. In that sense the likes of Borg must be up there as he competed against some of the greatest ever peers in his chosen sport.

  18. jmb83

    jmb83 Member

    In motorsports Valentino Rossi has got to be up there pretty high too.
    Has won 7 world championships in GP motorcyles. 1 in 125cc 1 in 250cc and 5 in MOTOGP (1000cc). Each time he moved up through the catagories it took just one year to get settled and he won in the second.

    One four wheels there's obviously the legend that is Michael Schumacher.
    Like him or loathe him, he was without doubt the greatest during his time.
    He did a few dubious moves, but then so did everyone else. Aus '94, Jerez '97 and 'parking gate' Monaco last year are the only truely illegal moves he made. Yet Senna drove Prost off the track 2 years running in Japan 90/91 to settle the championship and everyone thought it was fair?!!?!!??!!??!!!

    Then there's greats like Fangio. Gilles Villeneuve and Stirling Moss were probably the greatest drivers never to be Formula One world champions.
  19. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    My favourite Ali quote:- "I'm so fast that last night when I went to bed I switched off the light and was in bed before it got dark"
  20. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    1 guess which is the sport I play then Andy...?

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