Michael Phelps' title of Greatest Olympic Athlete…or is he?

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    Aug 01, 2012 5:01 AM GMT
    So, Michael now, as of this thread, has 19 medals. What a great, great accomplishment.

    I'm not trying to take anything away from him or his accomplishments, but I have difficulty calling him the Greatest Olympic Athlete. He's certainly the greatest Olympic swimmer.

    How many other sports is able to slice and dice their sport into so many different events? How many other athletes have the ability to compete for 8 different medals in any single Games? Track and Field perhaps? Gymnastics, somewhat.

    Thoughts? Do you think he's truly the Greatest Olympic Athlete?
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    Aug 01, 2012 1:56 PM GMT
    Michael Phelps is the most successful at winning in his sport over an extended period of time. He's been winning medals at the Olympics since 2004, has been a world champion in different events since 2001, and holds a bunch of world records.

    It's very difficult to judge whether someone is the Greatest Olympic Athlete without having criteria to assess them. You seem to be dismissing his accomplishments because swimming allows him the ability to compete in multiple events, similar to gymnastics and track&field.

    If winning medals isn't a criterion for judging greatness, then what can be used?

    If Michael Phelps is not the Greatest Olympic Athlete, then who would you say is?
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    Aug 01, 2012 1:58 PM GMT
    yeahim40 said
    If winning medals isn't a criterion for judging greatness, then what can be used?

    If Michael Phelps is not the Greatest Olympic Athlete, then who would you say is?


    Maybe the point is that we shouldn't be trying to judge who the "greatest" olympic athlete is.
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    Aug 01, 2012 2:56 PM GMT
    ECnAZ saidSo, Michael now, as of this thread, has 19 medals. What a great, great accomplishment.

    I'm not trying to take anything away from him or his accomplishments, but I have difficulty calling him the Greatest Olympic Athlete. He's certainly the greatest Olympic swimmer.

    How many other sports is able to slice and dice their sport into so many different events? How many other athletes have the ability to compete for 8 different medals in any single Games? Track and Field perhaps? Gymnastics, somewhat.

    Thoughts? Do you think he's truly the Greatest Olympic Athlete?


    I think it probably has less to do with the question of whether is or is not the "Greatest Olympic Athlete" than with the media's incessant (ridiculous) pre-occupation with naming a "Number One" in everything. This is where I make my rant about the recent ruining of the tradition of the Rose Bowl being a competition between the Pacific Coast universities' representative and from the Mid-West universities' representative by the stupid "false" need to name the #1 collegiate football team for the year, the true "best" team being really impossible to determine given the differences in size, resources, intellectuality of the various American colleges and universities.

    Naming the #1 football team makes about as much sense as calling Phelps the greatest just because he has the most medals. I think he truly deserves the title of having the most medals; I think the whole concept of a "greatest Olympic athlete" itself is absurd.
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    Aug 01, 2012 3:03 PM GMT
    yeahim40 saidMichael Phelps is the most successful at winning in his sport over an extended period of time. ...

    It's very difficult to judge whether someone is the Greatest Olympic Athlete without having criteria to assess them. ...

    If winning medals isn't a criterion for judging greatness, then what can be used?

    If Michael Phelps is not the Greatest Olympic Athlete, then who would you say is?


    Phelps successful -- Yes

    No criteria -- obviously there are no criteria; hence impossible to make a determination.

    Alternative criteria -- neither winning medals or other factors are needed for a determination itself which is not needed.

    Who is the "greatest"? --Who cares? To make such a determination denigrates the remarkable achievements of anyone who wins an Olympic medal.
  • tazzari

    Posts: 2929

    Aug 01, 2012 4:21 PM GMT
    From Wikipedia:

    Bjørn Erlend Dæhlie (born 19 June 1967) is a Norwegian businessman and retired cross-country skier. With 8 olympic gold medals, Dæhlie is the most successful winter olympic champion of all time. With nine gold medals in the Nord World Ski Championships he is in addition the most winning World Champion skier. Dæhlie won a total of 29 medals in the Olympics and World Championships in the period between 1991 and 1999, making Dæhlie the most successful cross-country skier in history.

    During his career, Dæhlie measured the highest Vo2 max ever recorded, at 96 ml/kg/min. Dæhlie's result was achieved out of season, and physiologist Erlend Hem who was responsible for the testing stated that he would not discount the possibility of the skier passing 100 ml/kg/min at his absolute peak[citation needed].

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    Aug 01, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    nevz said
    yeahim40 said
    If winning medals isn't a criterion for judging greatness, then what can be used?

    If Michael Phelps is not the Greatest Olympic Athlete, then who would you say is?


    Maybe the point is that we shouldn't be trying to judge who the "greatest" olympic athlete is.


    Exactly.
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    Aug 01, 2012 7:31 PM GMT
    I agree with the OP's assessment.

    I would go one step further and say that time is another important factor beyond sports category in determining an athlete's greatness.

    For instance swimming was initiated in the Olympics in 1896, however changes in the event over those years may have had impact on Olympic medals won by an individual.
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    Aug 01, 2012 7:40 PM GMT
    phelps-mom.gif

    "no.. he came in second..."
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    Aug 01, 2012 10:43 PM GMT
    Gmack saidphelps-mom.gif

    "no.. he came in second..."

    that's funny
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    Aug 01, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
    Do you think his mom works on her "surprise" faces in the mirror? lol

    It seems like a big comedic factor is showing the parents in the stands these days.
  • ROYCE13

    Posts: 315

    Aug 01, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
    No, nothing against him, that title goes to no one. Only the media comes up with these things. He did hesitate for a long time when asked that question prior to the competition, he said he would answer that question after the games.