It was the kind of tweet guaranteed to get a lot of responses:
And the answers contained some obvious choices:
- Roger Bannister (first person to break the 4-minute barrier in the mile
- Cal Ripken (baseball player who played in 2,632 straight games)
- Michael Phelps, swimmer
- Jesse Owen, track and field
- Aleksandr Karelin, a wrestler with 13 year undefeated streak at the world level and a career record of 887-
- Edwin Moses, a runner with 107 consecutive world level wins in the 400m hurdles
- Usain Bolt, runner
- Cael Sanderson, a wrestler who went 159-0 in college
- Serena Williams, tennis
- Wayne Gretzky, ice hockey
- Don Bradman, cricket (this is for Clive)
- Nolan Ryan, pitcher
- Tom Brady, football
One problem with such a list is trying to separate out an amazing single accomplishment (Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in one game vs Bill Russell with multiple NBA championships) vs. a lifetime of excellence in athletic competition,
When I think of the greatest athlete, I try to think of someone who dominates their sport, with no one even a close second. It’s hard to think of such a person. It took awhile, but someone finally lived up to my expectations.
I’ll admit it’s a biased choice because it is a swimmer and she is currently competing, so her accomplishments are fresh in my mind – Katie Ledecky.
In the 800-meter freestyle race at the 2016 Olympics, Katie wan by 11 seconds, a mind-boggling differential. Through the 2016 Olympics, Ledecky has entered and won gold in all 22 individual events she has entered at the Olympics and World Championships. And by margins unheard of.
And while I would not include Secretariat in such a listing as this, some people do. And perhaps it’s because of how much Secretariat dominated the filed at each leg of the Triple Crown.
I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more separation among the top athletes at certain events. Is everyone just so good once they reach the elite level that there is little difference among them. I never thought so; I kept thinking there just had to be athletes out there that are just way ahead of everyone else.
But it took a while to find such an athlete, and then Katie Ledecky came onto the scene, and has dominated her sport, or any sport, like no one ever has..
I wish her he best at the net Olympics, whenever that may be…