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Thread: Greatest Sportsperson?

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    tMP Friend for Life Anno Draconis's Avatar
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    Greatest Sportsperson?

    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?
    Andrew Baker

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    tMP Prime Friend AndyCat's Avatar
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    Tiger Woods - and plenty left yet, he's still not reached his best.
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    tMP Master Friend iggmeister's Avatar
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    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/boxing/6267397.stm

    He told us he was the greatest! I need say no more.

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    tMP Friend for Life Anno Draconis's Avatar
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    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?
    Andrew Baker

  5. #5
    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. #6
    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.
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    Super Moderator Jan H's Avatar
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    Eddy Merckx - no question about it.

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    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
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    tMP Prime Friend Pythagoras's Avatar
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    Redgrave has got to be up there. An awesome achievement.
    Michael Johnson? World records at 200 and 400 that nobody has got close to.
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    Jesse Owens
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  11. #11
    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!
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    Administrator WoodenFlugel's Avatar
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    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!
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    tMP Friend for Life Will the Sec's Avatar
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    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.
    Will Elsom

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    tMP Prime Friend johnmartin's Avatar
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    Woods, Nicklaus or Ali. I wouldn't like to have to pick a winner from that trio.
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    Super Moderator brasscrest's Avatar
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    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.
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