I realize I don’t write about sports as much as I had originally envisioned, but I am a HUGE sports fan. I check out multiple blogs and sports related websites daily, follow “my” teams, and am generally up on the latest sports news, even on sports I’m not technically a fan of. That said, the biggest sports meme around currently is proclaiming Michael Phelps as the greatest Olympian and/or athlete ever (or currently).
While I am in absolute awe of what he has done (I’ve watched live while has has picked up 14 Olympic gold’s in the last 4 years) I want to make one small point. Yes, he probably is the best swimmer in history (perhaps you have your favorite and thing that so-and-so was better, but I really don’t care about that specific). But greatest athlete ever? Please!!!
My criteria is a simple one, if you put a group of athletes in some sport they’ve never played (at least not on a “real” level) how would they fare against each other. Names that come to mind as being that versatile would include Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders (as much as i despise the man), Micheal Jordan, etc…
But I’ll make it even simpler than that… The greatest athlete of all time is the reigning decathlon champion. Any year, any time, the best athlete in the world is the one who’s ALREADY shown the ability to be versatile enough to win a gold medal across 10 divergent events.
On a final note, I don’t want anybody to interprete what I have said as dissing, Phelps, or diminishing his accomplishments, so to put into perspective what Micheal Phelps has done over the last couple of weeks, I’d like to quote Gary Cole from the movie Dodgeball.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to the Great Wall of China, I have seen the Pyramids of Egypt, I’ve even witnessed a grown man satisfy a camel. But never in all my years as a sportscaster have I witnessed something as improbable, as impossible, as what we’ve witnessed here today!