View Poll Results: Is Michael Phelps the great Olympic athlete in history?

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  • Yes - He has the most olympic medals

    3 25.00%
  • No

    9 75.00%
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  1. #1
    grem's Avatar
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    Default Is Michael Phelps the greatest Olympic athlete in history?

    Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete in history but do you think he is the greatest? Some argue that swimming has more events than other sports which allows for more medals to be won but does that still take away from Phelps accomplishments?

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    Swimming has the most events so in turn it has the most oppertunity get race for the medals

    Keep in Mind he has made the olympic cut for a few times every four years

    But I think he has proven he is greatest Olympic athlete in history

    and dont forget his younger days when he was caught smoking a little weed


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    No - He's not the greatest Olympic athlete - he's simply won the most swimming medals. Phelps has won an amazing medal total, over 4 different olympics, You can make an argument that he is the "greatest Olympic swimmer" - but can you really compare athletes across different sporting eras ?

    Remove the relay medals (8 of them), remove the individual medley medals (6 of them) and you get a swimmer that has won 8 individual race medals - 6 of them in the butterfly stroke, and only 2 freestyle (1 gold, 1 bronze) ... nearly all in the 200m discipline.

    Michael Phelps is certainly the best Olympic butterfly exponent ever. He's not been the fastest freestyler over 50m or 100m ever, and won the 200m freestyle once. So in every olympics there were swimmers who were faster, or could swim longer.

    The medal total is stunning, but swimming is a discipline that has many races to compete in, with four different strokes, team relays, and combination stroke races, with lots of distances between 50 and 400 metres - meaning that every games seems to have someone collecting FIVE, SIX, SEVEN medals.

    If Athletics had 100m skipping, 100m hopping, 100m running backwards etc, and relays in all that, plus combo events, then you could potentially make a comparison over different sports.
    Last edited by TheGooner; 4 August 2012 at 5:25 pm.

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    Not to mention that in Beijing all medals were won with Speedo LZR™ later banned for its overpowered abilities to make you ultra fast. Basically it was suit -> skill. And let's not forget all of the undetected 'juice' in professional sports.

    While I am not discrediting his achievements, being 'the greatest' is always a matter of time. Technology develops, drugs that give you the advantage and are totally undetectable too.

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    Thats a strong statement "of all time".
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    A swimmer can do the 100m back, 100m free, 200m back, 200m free etc. A runner cannot.

    A decathlete / heptathlete realistically can only compete for one medal. And so on.

    Medal totals between events cannot be compared in isolation.

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    I tend to agree the Caruso logic on this! lol

    That said, Phelps would certainly have to be in the top 5 or 10 ever, so that's not all bad either!

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    Some news sites are calling him the best ever but this is where the argument comes up because this is judgemental and up for debate.

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    For me... I think this guy, Jesse Owens is the greatest Olympic Athlete. It goes beyond just Gold Medals, its the difference he made of the field for doing what he did on the field.




    Wikipedia puts it better than I could

    He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics, a victory more poignant and often noted because Adolf Hitler had intended the 1936 games to showcase his Aryan ideals and prowess.

    Gold 1936 Berlin 100 m
    Gold 1936 Berlin 200 m
    Gold 1936 Berlin 4×100 m relay
    Gold 1936 Berlin Long jump
    And I thought this was pretty impressive...
    Owens's greatest achievement came in a span of 45 minutes on May 25, 1935, during the Big Ten meet at Ferry Field in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he set three world records and tied a fourth. He equaled the world record for the 100 yard dash (9.4 seconds); and set world records in the long jump (26 ft 8 1⁄4 in/8.13 m, a world record that would last 25 years); 220-yard (201.2 m) sprint (20.3 seconds); and 220-yard (201.2m) low hurdles (22.6 seconds, becoming the first to break 23 seconds). In 2005, University of Central Florida professor of sports history Richard C. Crepeau chose these wins on one day as the most impressive athletic achievement since 1850.


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    If Michael Phelps was a country, he would have placed 16th overall in Athens, 10th overall in Beijing, and would be 14th overall in the London olympics so far

    I agree with what others have said, it's very hard to compare between different sports because of the way the events are set up.

    I would probably still vote for him as the greatest though, because it also shows how strong an athlete he is to win that many golds. It's one thing to have a lot of events in swimming, but to actually follow through and win them so consistently is pretty insane.

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    If Michael Phelps was a country - or lived in any other country - then he wouldn't have won any of the relay medals ...
    He needed his almost as quick USA team-mates for that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGooner View Post
    If Michael Phelps was a country - or lived in any other country - then he wouldn't have won any of the relay medals ...
    He needed his almost as quick USA team-mates for that.
    lol good point

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    I think Carl Lews was pretty special - he dominated during his era

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    I used to think Carl Lewis was special but then I heard that he'd failed drug tests ahead of Olympic trial in the 80's and that kind of spoilt it for me.

    Little did any of his know that his greatest crimes were yet to come.....


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    Quote Originally Posted by HodgeyBoy View Post
    I used to think Carl Lewis was special but then I heard that he'd failed drug tests ahead of Olympic trial in the 80's and that kind of spoilt it for me.
    This. In Bigger Stronger Faster, they even showed his drug test in 1988 and that he failed it! Of course with the USA being one of the biggest sponsors, you can get away with stuff. He claimed he was drinking herbal teas and those substances 'accidentally' went in his body *wink* *wink* accidentally .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Caruso View Post
    A swimmer can do the 100m back, 100m free, 200m back, 200m free etc. A runner cannot.
    Carl Lewis won the 100, the 200, the long jump and was on the winning 4x100 in 1984. I know it's been 28 years and track athletes don't tend to cross from track to field and vice versa as much anymore, but that was clearly a remarkable achievement. And in fact, his long jump result would have been one centimeter off the gold this year too, believe it or not. Now that's impressive. Wonder how swimmers from 28 years ago would do against Phelps?

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    Of course then I saw all this other stuff in the rest of the post. Not defending Lewis, just looking at his results.

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    Phelps "the greatest Olympic athlete of all times" I hope not! I hope humanity gets to see more amazing athletes in the future.. But Phelps has without a doubt earn a spot among the greatest and just like others before him he will be remember long after he is gone for his accomplishments.
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    Something interesting worth taking a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of...gold_medalists

    Looking at this, only 4 of the top 25 Olympic athletes in terms of # of gold medals won are swimmers.

    Quite a few of the most successful in terms of gold medals are from Gymnastics as well, which makes sense because they have a lot of events too.

    Some of the guys in Fencing competed for 28 years straight too, that's pretty impressive, and I read that there is a Canadian Equestrian competitor taking part in his 10th olympics in London this year which is the all time record.

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    How about Usain Bolt who just claimed he is the greatest ever

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