Michael Phelps has won his 7th gold and 21st medal overall...Is he the greatest Olympian ever? I know people say that because of the number of events he swims, his medal count is overinflated. I think it will be a long time before anybody comes close to winning 17 gold medals. Not saying it can't be done, but it will be extremely difficult. I dunno if Phelps is the greates Olympian of all time, but most definitely top 3.
17th gold, not 7th.
Back in 776, Koriobos (from Elis, Greece) was a humble baker who participated in the first ever Olympic Games. Koribos ran in the stadion (running) race, the first Games's only event. The distance was about 210 yards, and Koribos finished first making him THE VERY FIRST OLYMPIC CHAMPION IN HISTORY.
All of your arguements are invalid.
i have no idea, but alexander karelin deserves mention. He was a russian greco roman wrestler. He went undefeated and won gold in the 1988, 92 and 96 olympics and took silver in the 2000 olympics. Also during that time span, he wrestled in 9 world championships and another 12 european championships from 1988-2000, and he took gold in all 21 of those events. Nobody &$#%#&@!ed with that dude on the mat.
won 18 medals for the Soviet Union in gymnastics.
I just think its weird how one person (Phelps) can win 21 medals over a span of 3 Olympics but a whole basketball team would probably have to win like 5,6 or 7 games (Not sure how many games you have to win to make to the championship )just to win one medal in one Olympic year.So a whole team of 12 player could win 3 Olympic gold medals, and that all it would say in the medal count.The same goes for soccer.
not to knock phelps achievments, but you cant really just compare medal count. I mean he has like 10 shots at medal every olympics. Some athletes have one shot and that involves beating multiple people/teams to get it. Swimming has a handful of variations each with a medal, and then different distances, and then with teams.
you guys make good points about teams having to win 5 or 6 games just to mwin one medal. Swimming medals are inflated because there are so many events one swimmer can swim in and can get a gold in each event. Maybe swimmers should be limited to a certain numbers of events they can swim.
Carl Lewis he won track gold in 4 straight olympics will never be matched
Carl Lewis was phenominal and as a former track and feild athlete a hero of mine.
Carl Lewis was drafted by the NFL and NBA. Won Gold medals in 4 Olympics, including the long jump in Atlanta at age 35. 9 Gold 1 Silver, during a 12 year span and winning a track gold, sprints and jumping events are a young man's game, at age 35 is freaking amazing.
It's hard to argue against Michael Phelps, but Lewis has a case, IMO.
I'm losing points for highlighting Carl Lewis' career? This is a guy who would have medaled in the 1980 Olympics too, if not for the protest. If Lewis doesn't have a CASE (all I said) as one of the great Olympians, I would love to hear an arguement as to why.
might be in the conversation if he participates again in the next olympics and usa wuns gold again
Phelps has broken world records 27 times including being the youngest male ever to break a record shortly before turning 16 years old.
He competed in the 2000 Olympic games which most people forget but that's bc he didn't medal. Still, making it at 15 is remarkable for men's swimming. It's much more common in females swimming.
Including world championships and pan pacific championships he has 70 medals. 56 of them are gold, 11 are silver, and only 3 are bronze. He has only failed to medal two times in his career. Earlier in these games when he got fourth in an event he hadn't been training for and in 2000 when he got fifth at 15 years old.
In 2008 alone he won 8 gold medals in all 8 events he was in. 7 of those he set world records and the one that wasn't was still an Olympic record.
He has completely dominated an entire sport for the majority of his 12 year career. I think some people have forgotten how dominant he really has been just bc he has looked so beatable in these Olympics. But that's what makes his career so much better. People specialize in every type of swimming and at every distance as well and he has gone up against and defeated basically everyone at what they do best. Who else can say that?
For all you guys saying that Phelps has ten shots, bear in mind he has to qualify for all those events first. Plus, he has to complete most of those events and qualifiers in the span of a single week, which I'm sure is very taxing. The fact that he could perform well enough to win eight different events in Beijing is impressive.
@NYcrealdeal: LeBron will never in consideration for the greatest olympian. The U.S. men's basketball team doesn't need him to win gold. What he does individually in the Olympics doesn't match up with what athletes like Michael Phelps or Carl Lewis or Jesse Owens or Greg Lougainis or Natalie Coughlin have done.
the points being made about how many events hes in isnt valid imo he still has too medal in them phelps has dominated swimming for 8 years now
To my previous post, I meant eight shots. Still is a lot of events.
Jesse Owens did it in front of and showed up the Nazis. That is the most important modern day Olympian.
Phelps has a huge medal count and also dominated the field in two Olympics. But I've always felt that there are just too many events in swimming. Since the great swimmers seem to be really good in many of these events, it really seems a lot like these are the same athletic tests. While the Butterfly and Freestyle look completely different, it does seem that if you are good at one you are good at the other. But maybe I'm influenced by Phelps in that he dominates both for so long.
Also the relay events really don't give the rest of the world much of a chance. In any event where teams have to field four swimmers, it is easy for the US to field four world class athelets to get us through the preliminaries and then field some fresh guys for the finals. Other teams aren't nearly deep enough. So in every Olympics the US team is really only competeing against four or five other teams in the various relay events. The other teams aren't competitive. About a third of those gold medals are relay events.
The ability to be in four Olympics is both good luck (Phelps qualified as a 15-year old, but if he had been born a year later, he would never have made it as a 14-year old, though on the flip side this year he would be one year younger and closer to his prime), but it is also a testiment to his incredible skill at swimming. He certainly is the greatest swimmer ever.
He went 8 for 8 for 8 golds in one olympics, He won 6 golds when he was 19. He had a three peat of golds in 2 events. For him to win that much when the competion is so tough and he had a small margin of error. Every single swimmer was training to beat him. He had a ton of chances, but he took advantage of all of those chances, a lot of people have those chances but they cant qualify for the olympics, they cant make it to the finals in all of those events. The fact he had so many chances shows that he is well rounded and was able to train for that many events and be the best in the world at them. And then a long with all of that he set so many world records in a variety of events.
Phelps is easily the greatest swimmer of all time.. And it's unlikely anyone will ever come close to being so dominant.. As a swimmer myself the task of qualifying, then semifinals then be able to get to another gear during finals is so grueling that even for one event it takes so much out of you. For that reason in my opinion Phelps' Beijing olympics was one of the greatest physical feats ever accomplished..
So far as greatest olympian, I'm not so sure.. There are so many different sports and incredible athletes in all of them. They are all the best in the world at what they do, I don't think it needs to go further than that..
@NYCrealdeal.. No, Lebron will never be the greatest olympian of all time. He isn't even playing like the best player on his own team this year. He's only been to two olympics so far.. Just no.. Like B-Ball fan pointed out.. It doesn't compare.
The Olympics more than any other World Event,can have an Impact on Generations..Some foreign Countries that have never won any medals will consider a person a hero if they finally win a bronze medal..
Jesse Owens winning the Gold in 1936 has inspired generations and changed the way we view other races..Owens might be considered the best Olympian by alot of people...
I think Micheal Phelps having more medals than anyone else,puts him in the conversation as the best ever,but like Bill Russell who has more nba titles than anyone..When Russell retired people were saying he was the best ever...But now years after his retirement..Nobody is saying he's the best...But Russell's having more titles, and Phelps having more medals, puts them in the conversation as the best in their fields......................
Phelps is the most decorated ever. He's had more chances than anyone, and taken advantage of most of them.
Not sure how big gymnastics was in the '50s and '60s, but Latynina getting 6 medals in three straight games is very impressive.
To me the greatest Olympian is Carl Lewis. The 100/200 dual is very tough. Then add in the relays. To throw in long jumping sends him over the top. Then add his longevity.
Other names I've heard mentioned in this conversation include Jim Thorpe and "The Greatest", Muhammad Ali.
Well, a guy you gotta put in the to 50 is Manu, he's arguably the greatest basketball olympian, he was the leader on that Argentenian team that handed Team USA it's first loss in the Dream Team era, and the first team other than team USA to win a gold medal in the Dream Team era, he was the cadilist to the to those Argentinian teams who were so close together. You gotta have him up there.
Does Team USA count as a unit? If so, they have got to be mentioned as one of the greatest Olympians.
JESSE OWENS case closed , HE went into ( what he had thought beforehand) a hostile environment. HE was actually accepted by the fans with cheers and open arms. In his biography he stated that he was treated BETTER by the Germans than he was treaty by Americans where he had to sit in the back of the bus. This is why you cant believe propaganda.
Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens are 1 and 2 in any order in my opinion. But Jessee Owens went into Germany in 1936. A black guy in Germany in 1936! Imagine all the racism and nasty things being shouted at him walking onto the field, and he absolutly dominated the games. He was so good he had Hitler yelling at him Germans because they couldn't beat him.
Sir Steve Redgrave won golds at 5 successive games from 1984 to 2000 and others won at 6 or 7 games in none endurance events.
Edwin Moses would have won at Moscow in 1980 and was unbeaten in over 100 races so if we mention people missing out in 1980, he is a prime case. Also with the Eastern Bloc boycott in 1984, those two games perhaps lessened a few achivements.
I think of Ali as the greatest sportsman ever to win an Olympic Gold.
funny how nobody is mentioning phelps inhaling that bong anymore