Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Discuss anything interesting but not remotely Countdown-related here.

Moderator: Jon O'Neill

Greatest Ever Sportsman/woman?

Poll ended at Mon Dec 21, 2009 12:40 pm

Diego Maradona
0
No votes
Pele
2
3%
Alfredo Di Stefano
1
2%
Georgi Kinkladze
2
3%
Johann Cruyff
1
2%
Roger Federer
5
8%
Pete Sampras
0
No votes
Bjorn Borg
0
No votes
Rod Laver
1
2%
Martina Navratilova
1
2%
Steffi Graf
1
2%
Gary Sobers
0
No votes
Brian Lara
0
No votes
WG Grace
1
2%
Don Bradman
5
8%
Lance Armstrong
3
5%
Nadia Comaneci
0
No votes
Muhammed Ali
7
11%
Sugar Ray Robinson
0
No votes
Tiger Woods
3
5%
Jack Nicklaus
0
No votes
Ben Hogan
0
No votes
Joe DiMaggio
0
No votes
Usain Bolt
7
11%
Michael Johnson
1
2%
Jesse Owens
0
No votes
Carl Lewis
1
2%
Michael Jordan
0
No votes
Michael Phelps
1
2%
Mark Spitz
0
No votes
Juan Manguel Fangio
0
No votes
Michael Schumacher
1
2%
Steve Davis
0
No votes
Stephen Hendry
1
2%
Ronnie O'Sullivan
1
2%
Phil Taylor
4
7%
Wayne Gretsky
0
No votes
Mark McGuire
0
No votes
Tony McCoy
0
No votes
Babe Ruth
1
2%
Haille Gebreselassie
1
2%
Steve Redgrave
2
3%
Ed Moses
1
2%
Jim Brown
1
2%
Craig Beevers
5
8%
 
Total votes: 61

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Matt Morrison
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:16 pm

Liam Tiernan wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:Don't be annoying and take me seriously. That's not even slightly appropriate. Boxing isn't a sport, it's a game.
Ufc is not a sport. It's a gimmick. End of.
I'm not carrying on with this because I'm the only guy into MMA here and I don't want to subject everyone to another "darts is a sport" discussion, even in a sports thread.

All I will say is yes, UFC (you'd didn't even use capitals, I imagine you saying 'oofkah' like the guy out of Fonejacker) is not a sport, it's a promotion. The Premiership and Wimbledon are also not sports.
And you're very very wrong about it being a gimmick. Make a note to re-read your comment in five or ten years, TRUST ME.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Liam Tiernan » Sat Dec 12, 2009 10:32 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:
Liam Tiernan wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:Don't be annoying and take me seriously. That's not even slightly appropriate. Boxing isn't a sport, it's a game.
Ufc is not a sport. It's a gimmick. End of.
I'm not carrying on with this because I'm the only guy into MMA here and I don't want to subject everyone to another "darts is a sport" discussion, even in a sports thread.

All I will say is yes, UFC (you'd didn't even use capitals, I imagine you saying 'oofkah' like the guy out of Fonejacker) is not a sport, it's a promotion. The Premiership and Wimbledon are also not sports.
And you're very very wrong about it being a gimmick. Make a note to re-read your comment in five or ten years, TRUST ME.
Actually it sounded more like ufuc.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by David Roe » Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:53 am

Kirk Bevins wrote:I disagree. Assuming you accept darts as a sport (which it is) then you can compare the best sportsman in their respective field to the rest of the field. In darts Phil Taylor is so far ahead of everyone else it's ridiculous. He recently beat Scott Waites in the Grand Slam final 16-2. Ridiculous. He has hit several 9 dart finishes on TV now and is 14 times world champion. With other sportsman is so far ahead of the rest of the pack and has won the world championship numerous times?
Joe Davis won the World Snooker Championship every year it was held from 1927 to 1946 - 15 tournaments in all. He never lost a single match at the World Championships, almost certainly the only man with significant playing time in any sport or game to achieve this. Which means that even if you accept that darts, pool, bar billiards, shove-ha'penny and the rest are sports, then Phil Taylor is still not the world's greatest, because Taylor sometimes loses.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by JimBentley » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:31 am

David Roe wrote:
Kirk Bevins wrote:I disagree. Assuming you accept darts as a sport (which it is) then you can compare the best sportsman in their respective field to the rest of the field. In darts Phil Taylor is so far ahead of everyone else it's ridiculous. He recently beat Scott Waites in the Grand Slam final 16-2. Ridiculous. He has hit several 9 dart finishes on TV now and is 14 times world champion. With other sportsman is so far ahead of the rest of the pack and has won the world championship numerous times?
Joe Davis won the World Snooker Championship every year it was held from 1927 to 1946 - 15 tournaments in all. He never lost a single match at the World Championships, almost certainly the only man with significant playing time in any sport or game to achieve this. Which means that even if you accept that darts, pool, bar billiards, shove-ha'penny and the rest are sports, then Phil Taylor is still not the world's greatest, because Taylor sometimes loses.
It's ludicrous to talk about anyone prior to around 1970 being the "greatest" in snooker as the competition was so sparse. There were ten entrants in the first world championships in 1927 and the highest break was 57. There wasn't even a century break until 1935! And the only reason that Joe Davis didn't enter the world championships after 1946 was because he didn't want to lose his unbeaten record (by this point his younger brother Fred was at least as good a player).

As Joe Davis also had - right up until the late 1960s - the somewhat unfair advantage of pretty much controlling which players were allowed to turn professional, nothing he or anyone else did in the early years of competitive snooker is very remarkable. For instance, John Pulman won the world championship every time it was (infrequently) contested in the 1960s, but the most talented player of the time was more likely Patsy Houlihan, who was never allowed to turn professional during this time because Joe Davis considered him "vulgar" for playing money matches in snooker clubs.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Junaid Mubeen » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:35 am

I'm afraid your heart is ruling your head, Kirk. There is absolutely no way Darts can be considered a sport. I say this as a huge Snooker fan. Both are games, and merit much admiration in their own right. I think Ronnie is a genius and I'm sure you can make the same case for Phil Taylor. But sportsmen they are not (although Ronnie is an incredibly capable runner).

As for the greatest, it's always gonna be subjective but I voted Ali. He commanded his sport over a decade, taking down fighters who in any other era would have been considered all-time greats. To beat Foreman at 32 was just staggering. His speed and grace in the ring, his charm and personality outside; love him or hate him, you have to respect a man who continues a fight even after having his jaw broken. He changed his sport, thrusting it onto the world stage and pioneered the pre-fight hype of which today's fighters are weak imitations. The man is, and always will be, a legend.

Bolt is definitely a worthy contender and Federer an obvious candidate. I'm surprised the Footballers haven't received more votes though.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Oliver Garner » Sun Dec 13, 2009 2:17 pm

Junaid Mubeen wrote:(although Ronnie is an incredibly capable runner).
Yeah, top 200 in the South of England is quality, given the high standard.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by James Doohan » Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:01 pm

Junaid Mubeen wrote:I'm afraid your heart is ruling your head, Kirk. There is absolutely no way Darts can be considered a sport. I say this as a huge Snooker fan. Both are games, and merit much admiration in their own right. I think Ronnie is a genius and I'm sure you can make the same case for Phil Taylor. But sportsmen they are not (although Ronnie is an incredibly capable runner).

As for the greatest, it's always gonna be subjective but I voted Ali. He commanded his sport over a decade, taking down fighters who in any other era would have been considered all-time greats. To beat Foreman at 32 was just staggering. His speed and grace in the ring, his charm and personality outside; love him or hate him, you have to respect a man who continues a fight even after having his jaw broken. He changed his sport, thrusting it onto the world stage and pioneered the pre-fight hype of which today's fighters are weak imitations. The man is, and always will be, a legend.

Bolt is definitely a worthy contender and Federer an obvious candidate. I'm surprised the Footballers haven't received more votes though.
Very well said Junaid

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:05 pm

Personally I don't know what purpose is served by this arbitrary separation of sports and games. I'd be all in favour of having chess at the Olympics, it's no more deviant from the Classical Olympics than, say, a velodrome.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:20 pm

Charlie Reams wrote:Personally I don't know what purpose is served by this arbitrary separation of sports and games. I'd be all in favour of having chess at the Olympics, it's no more deviant from the Classical Olympics than, say, a velodrome.
Maybe instead of having a clear yes/no to whether something is a sport, you give it a rating between 0 and 1 and you multiply someone's greatness in their field by the sports factor of that particular competition. ;)

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Matthew Green » Sun Dec 13, 2009 4:35 pm

They should just fuck off the Olympics altogether and throw in another World Cup.
If I suddenly have a squirming baby on my lap it probably means that I should start paying it some attention and stop wasting my time messing around on a Countdown forum

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Craig Beevers » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:49 pm

Lose all respect for anyone who says Muhammed Ali. The guy lost 5 times and not all of those you can excuse by saying he was getting on a bit. The only reason people mention is because he could bullshit better than anyone else and because of all the other stuff surrounding him with changing his name, draft dodging and that particular era being well remembered for lots of reasons, some of them nothing to do with boxing.

Base the decision on anything other than hype and it's impossible to even include him as a possibility.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Charlie Reams » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:07 pm

Craig Beevers wrote:Lose all respect for anyone who says Muhammed Ali.
That really hurts me, Craig :( :( :(

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Junaid Mubeen » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:09 pm

Craig Beevers wrote:Lose all respect for anyone who says Muhammed Ali. The guy lost 5 times and not all of those you can excuse by saying he was getting on a bit. The only reason people mention is because he could bullshit better than anyone else and because of all the other stuff surrounding him with changing his name, draft dodging and that particular era being well remembered for lots of reasons, some of them nothing to do with boxing.

Base the decision on anything other than hype and it's impossible to even include him as a possibility.
"Bullshit"? The man predicted the rounds he'd knock his opponents out in and stayed true to his word more often than not. And I do think he chatted a lot of crap about most things, but that doesn't make him any less compelling to watch.

As for the era, if you deny it heralded three of the all-time great boxers in Liston, Frazier and Foreman, well then you're just an idiot. By the way, I'd like to see you (being forced to) take a 4 year break from Scrabble and return at the top of your game.

Let's assess the 5 defeats:

1) Joe Frazier - "The Fight Of The Century", to just survive 15 rounds was impressive. He then avenged Frazier twice, including another epic in Manilla.

2) Ken Norton - boxed the last few rounds with a broken jaw. Avenged within 6 months.

3) Leon Spinks - split decision, avenged within a year.

4) and 5) - the last two fights of his career, at a point where he was already suffering from brain damage.

The only point that can be made about these final defeats is that he didn't retire gracefully. Except, I think a man willing to put himself in the ring purely for his addiction to the game (and not money), despite knowing the huge risks, deserves more credit.

As for the other defeats, they only attest to his inexhaustable drive; he made a point of chasing down everyone who bested him. Whilst they were still in their prime.

Once again, you chat shit Beevers. And I really couldn't give a toss if I have your respect. You are quite a hateful guy and I don't really like you very much.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Junaid Mubeen wrote:Once again, you chat shit Beevers. And I really couldn't give a toss if I have your respect. You are quite a hateful guy and I don't really like you very much.
High five Mubeen for making the same post in different threads simultaneously! Though you were a little more honest perhaps.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Junaid Mubeen » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:16 pm

Matt Morrison wrote:
Junaid Mubeen wrote:Once again, you chat shit Beevers. And I really couldn't give a toss if I have your respect. You are quite a hateful guy and I don't really like you very much.
High five Mubeen for making the same post in different threads simultaneously! Though you were a little more honest perhaps.
Well I did tone down the end of that statement somewhat. But yes, I'm bored even of the anti-Liverpool rhetoric in the other thread.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:18 pm

Junaid Mubeen wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:
Junaid Mubeen wrote:Once again, you chat shit Beevers. And I really couldn't give a toss if I have your respect. You are quite a hateful guy and I don't really like you very much.
High five Mubeen for making the same post in different threads simultaneously! Though you were a little more honest perhaps.
Well I did tone down the end of that statement somewhat. But yes, I'm bored even of the anti-Liverpool rhetoric in the other thread.
Yup, the fact I'm virtually high fiving you right now and you're an Arsenal fan says everything about Beevers.
oh hang on, it's United isn't it? still, same sentiment

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Craig Beevers » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:51 pm

Junaid Mubeen wrote:
Craig Beevers wrote:Lose all respect for anyone who says Muhammed Ali. The guy lost 5 times and not all of those you can excuse by saying he was getting on a bit. The only reason people mention is because he could bullshit better than anyone else and because of all the other stuff surrounding him with changing his name, draft dodging and that particular era being well remembered for lots of reasons, some of them nothing to do with boxing.

Base the decision on anything other than hype and it's impossible to even include him as a possibility.
"Bullshit"? The man predicted the rounds he'd knock his opponents out in and stayed true to his word more often than not. And I do think he chatted a lot of crap about most things, but that doesn't make him any less compelling to watch.

As for the era, if you deny it heralded three of the all-time great boxers in Liston, Frazier and Foreman, well then you're just an idiot. By the way, I'd like to see you (being forced to) take a 4 year break from Scrabble and return at the top of your game.

Let's assess the 5 defeats:

1) Joe Frazier - "The Fight Of The Century", to just survive 15 rounds was impressive. He then avenged Frazier twice, including another epic in Manilla.

2) Ken Norton - boxed the last few rounds with a broken jaw. Avenged within 6 months.

3) Leon Spinks - split decision, avenged within a year.

4) and 5) - the last two fights of his career, at a point where he was already suffering from brain damage.

The only point that can be made about these final defeats is that he didn't retire gracefully. Except, I think a man willing to put himself in the ring purely for his addiction to the game (and not money), despite knowing the huge risks, deserves more credit.

As for the other defeats, they only attest to his inexhaustable drive; he made a point of chasing down everyone who bested him. Whilst they were still in their prime.

Once again, you chat shit Beevers. And I really couldn't give a toss if I have your respect. You are quite a hateful guy and I don't really like you very much.
It is very much a stretch to say he's even the greatest boxer, one of the greatest at best. There were periods when he was the best boxer same as plenty of others, but the rest of his 'greatness' is hype and things that have happened outside of the ring. Yet you're quite happy to rate him as greatest ever sportsman.

Oh and yea I do piss people off sometimes. It is amazing how quickly some people can justify petty vindictive behaviour. Have a nice life.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Richard Brittain » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:09 pm

I do think Craig makes some valid points. Ali is a little bit overrated. Definitely a contender for the greatest boxer ever; definitely not the greatest sportsman ever.

On the subject of boxing, I'm a big fan of Mike Tyson. In his early years, he was incredible to watch, explosive and ferocious, all-mighty. An interesting character too; a humble and honest man in a world of hypocrites.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:22 pm

I don't know much about boxing but what about Rocky Marciano (for best boxer anyway)?

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Matt Morrison » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:29 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:I don't know much about boxing but what about Rocky Marciano (for best boxer anyway)?
"In late July 1969, shortly before his death, Marciano participated in the filming of the fantasy, The Superfight: Marciano vs. Ali. The two boxers were filmed sparring, then the film was edited to match a computer simulation of a hypothetical fight between them, each in their prime. It aired on January 20, 1970, with Marciano winning by knockout in 13."

Interesting. Probably not interesting enough for me to go and seek out the video on the Internet, but interesting nonetheless.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Dec 13, 2009 10:53 pm

Boxing's a bit like Countdown. In any other sport, losing is part of it. You win, you lose. But in Countdown and boxing, any loss counts against you in terms of all-time greatness. The only real difference between the two is that boxing doesn't give 18 points for 9-letter words. It's no coincidence that the Countdown grand final used to be held on the day before Boxing Day. Anyway, since Craig missed the CofC, he and Junaid have both agreed to take each other on in a boxing match instead. Good luck guys!

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Liam Tiernan » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:30 pm

Craig Beevers wrote:Lose all respect for anyone who says Muhammed Ali. The guy lost 5 times and not all of those you can excuse by saying he was getting on a bit. The only reason people mention is because he could bullshit better than anyone else and because of all the other stuff surrounding him with changing his name, draft dodging and that particular era being well remembered for lots of reasons, some of them nothing to do with boxing.

Base the decision on anything other than hype and it's impossible to even include him as a possibility.
Let's get one thing straight. He didn't "dodge" the draft.He turned up at the induction centre on the day and refused to step forward when his name was called.
He made that decision for several reasons, well aware of the consequences. Not just the loss of his title, but the real possibility of 5 years in prison.
Throughout his career and life, Ali has always professed to want to help other black Americans--and he has, time and time again. When he returned from Italy, having just won an Olympic gold medal, he was so proud of his trophy that he wore it day and night and showed it to everyone, whether they wanted to see it or not. In the Philadelphia Inquirer Ali's first wife remembered him saying "I was young, black Cassius Marcellus Clay, who had won a gold medal for his country. I went to downtown Louisville to a five-and-dime store that had a soda fountain. I sat down at the counter to order a burger and soda pop. The waitress looked at me.... 'Sorry, we don't serve coloreds,' she said. I was furious. I went all the way to Italy to represent my country, won a gold medal, and now I come back to America and can't even get served at a five-and-dime store. I went to a bridge, tore the medal off my neck and threw it into the river. That gold medal didn't mean a thing to me if my black brothers and sisters were treated wrong in a country I was supposed to represent."
"I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong, anyway. They never called me nigger,"
The draft has been perceived by some as unfairly targeting the poor and lower middle classes. Because of college deferments, children of wealthy and upper middle class families that could afford to send them to college could avoid the draft..........Conversely the poor and uneducated were often conscripted without any understanding of how to escape the system
That strength of character alone is what puts him at the top of the list, as far as I'm concerned.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Ian Volante » Sun Dec 13, 2009 11:44 pm

Liam Tiernan wrote:That strength of character alone is what puts him at the top of the list, as far as I'm concerned.
Strength of character may make him a great man, not necessarily a great sportsman.

My top pick was either Ed Moses or Don Bradman, both utterly dominant in their fields over a long period of time, and in a historical context.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:40 am

Ali may be thw greatest heavyweight of all time but both Sugar Ray Robinson and sugar Ray Leonard were better.
My faxourite was Thomas Hearns who won titles at 5 different weights and was involved in some of the best fights ever.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:38 pm

Ian Volante wrote:My top pick was either Ed Moses or Don Bradman, both utterly dominant in their fields over a long period of time, and in a historical context.
But 400-metre hurdles though?

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Ian Volante » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:52 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Ian Volante wrote:My top pick was either Ed Moses or Don Bradman, both utterly dominant in their fields over a long period of time, and in a historical context.
But 400-metre hurdles though?
Ten years unbeaten against some other very good athletes! It's not like they didn't test him...
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by JimBentley » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:01 pm

Ian Volante wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Ian Volante wrote:My top pick was either Ed Moses or Don Bradman, both utterly dominant in their fields over a long period of time, and in a historical context.
But 400-metre hurdles though?
Ten years unbeaten against some other very good athletes! It's not like they didn't test him...
Aye, but I think you need more. Sergei Bubka was probably as dominant as Ed Moses, but in the pole vault, also a bit of a niche event. Despite Gavin's "multi-event athletes are failed single-event athletes" assertion, I'm always more impressed by athletes with a wide range of awesomeness.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Dec 14, 2009 10:17 pm

JimBentley wrote:Aye, but I think you need more. Sergei Bubka was probably as dominant as Ed Moses, but in the pole vault, also a bit of a niche event. Despite Gavin's "multi-event athletes are failed single-event athletes" assertion, I'm always more impressed by athletes with a wide range of awesomeness.
I'd say Bubka was more dominant. I think he still has the world record and used to add a centimetre on at will. And while the pole vault may be a niche event, it is at least an event different enough from the others so that you don't think "Hmm, is he just in that for an easy ride?" I've seen many a runner in the 400m hurdles where the commentator has said that they are crap technically but make up for it with good flat speed. I think the event is for failed 400m runners. Sally Gunnell apparently came to it from 100m hurdles, but either way it's because she couldn't run fast enough. But far more so than with the 100/110m hurdles, I think world-class 400m runner could easily become the best 400m hurdle runner if they devoted themselves to it.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Jon Corby » Tue Dec 15, 2009 8:17 am

Pole Vault is actually a really, really bizarre event when you stop and think about it.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Kai Laddiman » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:07 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Pole Vault is actually a really, really bizarre event when you stop and think about it.
Well if you stop and think about it there's no way you're going to get the momentum to be able to vault it.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Alec Rivers » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:47 pm

Jon Corby wrote:Pole Vault is actually a really, really bizarre event when you stop and think about it.
I'm with you on this. (And lol, Kai.)

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Ian Volante » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:52 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Ian Volante wrote:
Gavin Chipper wrote:
But 400-metre hurdles though?
Ten years unbeaten against some other very good athletes! It's not like they didn't test him...
Aye, but I think you need more. Sergei Bubka was probably as dominant as Ed Moses, but in the pole vault, also a bit of a niche event. Despite Gavin's "multi-event athletes are failed single-event athletes" assertion, I'm always more impressed by athletes with a wide range of awesomeness.
I suppose so, decathletes are bloody amazing, but they usually get fucked within a coupole of years of peak success so it's hard to judge them as objectively as someone like Merlene Ottey who was still world-class in her forties.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:04 am

Just reading this thread again. I was thinking about boxing - it doesn't have proper tournaments. It's just a challenge thing, which doesn't cut it. You remain champion until some opponent (sometimes arguably picked for non-merit reasons) beats you. And people refer to Ali as a three-time champion (or however many it is) because he lost his title twice and regained it again twice. So apparently remaining unbeaten would apparently mean you weren't as good. It's hard to rank boxers at the top until the sport is run properly. It's similar to F1 in that respect.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:07 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Matt Morrison wrote:Mentioning Silva's boxing record as if it somehow disproves how good he is in a proper fighting sport is like saying Usain Bolt is a shit runner because sometimes when he's competing in three-legged races he falls over, or that O'Sullivan is shit at snooker because he's not yet proved himself at those silly little miniature snooker games they sell as 'executive stress relief toys'.
Just checked out your Wikipedia link. Middleweight champion - so he's effectively top novice.
This was a serious point by the way. He's lucky to be in a sport that has such categories. I wouldn't call someone the greatest high-jumper in the world if they topped the ranking for people under 5 foot 5 every year for a decade. When does a handicap count as one where you let them off and don't count it against them?

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Mark James » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:44 pm

I wonder how the three people who picked Lance Armstrong feel now.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sat Oct 20, 2018 8:54 pm

David Williams wrote:
Fri Dec 11, 2009 11:17 pm
David Roe wrote:Fair point in its way, but then if you only include sports that all the world plays, are you left with anything but athletics and football? And possibly not even football, given the almost total lack of interest in China and India?
You've reminded me of something I saw ages ago. Someone (in America I think) had analysed individual and collective performances in many sports mathematically in an attempt to identify the greatest sportsman - probably the one who was the greatest outlier* in the statistical distribution. If they were doing it properly they surely would have had to make allowance in some way for the number of participants. And although I can't remember the methodology I do remember that there was a clear winner - Don Bradman.

*Note real life usage of a Countdown favourite.
I think this post probably contributes the most to this thread.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Fred Mumford » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:31 pm

The one potentially valid argument against Bradman is that he only dominated one aspect of his sport - he was not outstanding as a bowler or fielder.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Ian Volante » Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:39 pm

I concur again with Bradman. And witha few more years of dominance to add in, I'll say Hakuho is also a contender.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Paul Worsley » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:25 am

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:04 am
Just reading this thread again. I was thinking about boxing - it doesn't have proper tournaments. It's just a challenge thing, which doesn't cut it. You remain champion until some opponent (sometimes arguably picked for non-merit reasons) beats you. And people refer to Ali as a three-time champion (or however many it is) because he lost his title twice and regained it again twice. So apparently remaining unbeaten would apparently mean you weren't as good. It's hard to rank boxers at the top until the sport is run properly. It's similar to F1 in that respect.
I stopped watching boxing years ago for this reason. However, back in the Ali era this was not the case. Ali never ducked a fight, and faced some fearsome opponents. I still remember watching the fight against George Foreman live, (no pay-per-view in 1974) and it remains one of my favourite sporting memories.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Paul Worsley » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:45 am

Although not a contender for "Greatest Sportsman", the US discus thrower, Al Oerter, deserves an honorary mention. In 1968 he became the first person to win a fourth consecutive gold in the same event, a feat only equalled by Carl Lewis (long jump) and Michael Phelps (200m individual medley).

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Zarte Siempre » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:50 am

Jeeze, how did none of you cretins manage to mention Jahangir Khan?!

Disgusted.
Possibly the first contestant to accelerate with a mic clipped...

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:20 pm

No Rocky Marciano, no Tefeleo Stevenson.
Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton should be added too.
Jahanagar Khan is a good call for a non global sport though.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Paul Worsley » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:54 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:20 pm
No Rocky Marciano, no Tefeleo Stevenson.
Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton should be added too.
Jahanagar Khan is a good call for a non global sport though.
Mo Farah's Olympic feats were surpassed by both Lasse Viren and Emil Zatopek. Stevenson was never tested, as he never turned professional. Fangio is more iconic than Hamilton.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Thomas Carey » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:16 am

Rip Mo Farah. Gone too soon </3
cheers maus

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 7:31 am

Paul Worsley wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:54 pm
Marc Meakin wrote:
Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:20 pm
No Rocky Marciano, no Tefeleo Stevenson.
Mo Farah and Lewis Hamilton should be added too.
Jahanagar Khan is a good call for a non global sport though.
Mo Farah's Olympic feats were surpassed by both Lasse Viren and Emil Zatopek. Stevenson was never tested, as he never turned professional. Fangio is more iconic than Hamilton.
Mo Farah's career isn't over yet, plus he also won World titles too.
Hamilton will win ten world motor racing titles by the time he retires, you may change your opinion then.
Stevenson's boxing Olympic record will never be beaten and I don't think any pro heavyweight in his era would have beaten him IMHO.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Paul Worsley » Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:41 am

I agree that both Farah and Hamilton could win more titles, but Stevenson would have been turning professional in a golden era for Heavyweight boxing. It's impossible to say how he would have fared.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:01 pm

Paul Worsley wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:41 am
I agree that both Farah and Hamilton could win more titles, but Stevenson would have been turning professional in a golden era for Heavyweight boxing. It's impossible to say how he would have fared.
It certainly was a golden era for heavyweight boxing and Muhammad Ali in the mid seventies was a very good boxer .
But most of the other fighters like Foreman, Norton,Joe Frazier were sluggers and I think as Ali proved a good boxer should always have a better chance than a slugger.
Tyson is the exception but he was a freak and an animal, but he was a nineties boxer and would never have met Stevenson .
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:00 pm

Mo Farah has a very good championship record at 5000m and 10000m but what holds him back is his lack of top times.

Hamilton wouldn't probably come top in most people's list of all-time F1 drivers, let alone all sports.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Noel Mc » Mon Oct 22, 2018 4:11 pm

Just as a side note, Pele has 2 votes, Maradona 0.

I think Maradona > Pele.

Id also put Messi as (probably) the best footballer ever though, so what do I know.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:59 pm

[q awuote="Noel Mc" post_id=179330 time=1540224697 user_id=89682]
Just as a side note, Pele has 2 votes, Maradona 0.

I think Maradona > Pele.

Id also put Messi as (probably) the best footballer ever though, so what do I know.
[/quote]

Best footballer of this generation for sure although history will be unkind to him as he never won a major international title
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Paul Worsley » Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:14 am

Marc Meakin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:01 pm
Paul Worsley wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:41 am
I agree that both Farah and Hamilton could win more titles, but Stevenson would have been turning professional in a golden era for Heavyweight boxing. It's impossible to say how he would have fared.
It certainly was a golden era for heavyweight boxing and Muhammad Ali in the mid seventies was a very good boxer .
But most of the other fighters like Foreman, Norton,Joe Frazier were sluggers and I think as Ali proved a good boxer should always have a better chance than a slugger.
Tyson is the exception but he was a freak and an animal, but he was a nineties boxer and would never have met Stevenson .
Foreman was the Tyson of his day, and a better boxer. To call Joe Frazier a slugger is doing him a disservice.

Had he turned professional in 1972 I think there's a good chance that Stevenson would have gone on to be a World Champion, but to say he would have been better than, or beaten, Ali/Frasier/Foreman is just speculation.

Tyson was a badass, but overrated.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Tue Oct 23, 2018 5:54 am

Paul Worsley wrote:
Tue Oct 23, 2018 12:14 am
Marc Meakin wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 2:01 pm
Paul Worsley wrote:
Mon Oct 22, 2018 8:41 am
I agree that both Farah and Hamilton could win more titles, but Stevenson would have been turning professional in a golden era for Heavyweight boxing. It's impossible to say how he would have fared.
It certainly was a golden era for heavyweight boxing and Muhammad Ali in the mid seventies was a very good boxer .
But most of the other fighters like Foreman, Norton,Joe Frazier were sluggers and I think as Ali proved a good boxer should always have a better chance than a slugger.
Tyson is the exception but he was a freak and an animal, but he was a nineties boxer and would never have met Stevenson .
Foreman was the Tyson of his day, and a better boxer. To call Joe Frazier a slugger is doing him a disservice.

Had he turned professional in 1972 I think there's a good chance that Stevenson would have gone on to be a World Champion, but to say he would have been better than, or beaten, Ali/Frasier/Foreman is just speculation.

Tyson was a badass, but overrated.
Obviously speculation.
Heavyweight boxing in the mid seventies to late eighties would be my Mastermind subject although I much preferred watching Middleweights in the eighties.
You are right about Tyson, many boxers were just scared of him.
His fight against Trevor Burbeck being a case in point.

I think if you look at heavyweight boxers who had a good amateur career they usually are quite successful when they turn pro, once they have built up their stamina.
Ali ( or Clay as he was known back then ) ,and Lennox Lewis are good examples of this
Had Stevenson been British or American he probably would have turned pro and as you say in 1972 Ali was only recently back to his pre exile best so he probably wouldnt necessarily have been a shoe in to win the title. But I do believe he would have been good enough to win it
How long he would have kept it , who knows.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Noel Mc » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:52 pm

I feel the need to add Simone Biles to this.
Yes she's only 21 and still competing, but y'know, she's awesome.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by JimBentley » Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:39 pm

Ian Volante wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:39 pm
I concur again with Bradman.
I find this weird. I don't think I could say who the greatest ever sportsman would be, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't choose a cricketer. Cricket doesn't test athletic abilities in any meaningful way and one person's influence over the team performance is only ever going to be limited at best. So I can't understand why anybody would choose a cricketer as "greatest ever sportsman". I mean, it's barely even a sport. Mike Gatting used to play it when he was basically just a barrel of lard and didn't do too badly, that's got to say something.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:30 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:39 pm
Ian Volante wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 11:39 pm
I concur again with Bradman.
I find this weird. I don't think I could say who the greatest ever sportsman would be, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't choose a cricketer. Cricket doesn't test athletic abilities in any meaningful way and one person's influence over the team performance is only ever going to be limited at best. So I can't understand why anybody would choose a cricketer as "greatest ever sportsman". I mean, it's barely even a sport. Mike Gatting used to play it when he was basically just a barrel of lard and didn't do too badly, that's got to say something.
Good point, but I think the statistical point made by David Williams is a good one. Obviously it can be combined with other factors, so it doesn't have to be Don Bradman.

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Peter Mabey » Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:59 pm

I don't have a nomination, but am protesting against the inclusion of boxers - whose objective is to inflict brain injury - the one part of the body which never heals. (They even wear padded gloves to protect themselves against injuring themselves in doing so.) :(

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:27 pm

Peter Mabey wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:59 pm
I don't have a nomination, but am protesting against the inclusion of boxers - whose objective is to inflict brain injury - the one part of the body which never heals. (They even wear padded gloves to protect themselves against injuring themselves in doing so.) :(
I don't think their purpose is to inflict brain injury.
If you are a good exponent of the sport a hit to the chin will knock them out
If you are going to call out sportsman for damage done.
Then Jockeys should be excluded too .
Motor racing drivers.
All contact sport has a level of risk to injury.
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by JimBentley » Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:49 pm

Marc Meakin wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:27 pm
Peter Mabey wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:59 pm
I don't have a nomination, but am protesting against the inclusion of boxers - whose objective is to inflict brain injury - the one part of the body which never heals. (They even wear padded gloves to protect themselves against injuring themselves in doing so.) :(
I don't think their purpose is to inflict brain injury.
If you are a good exponent of the sport a hit to the chin will knock them out
Yeah, but not because they've been hit on the chin! It's because the force of the blow moves the brain within the skull to a sufficient degree to cause a minor concussion. It's the only way you can get a knockout (barring the odd occasion when someone gets exhausted and effectively just passes out).

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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:03 am

I've seen many a stoppage caused by a good body shot
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Re: Greatest Ever Sportsman?

Post by Peter Mabey » Fri Nov 09, 2018 2:24 pm

JimBentley wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:49 pm
Marc Meakin wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:27 pm
Peter Mabey wrote:
Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:59 pm
I don't have a nomination, but am protesting against the inclusion of boxers - whose objective is to inflict brain injury - the one part of the body which never heals. (They even wear padded gloves to protect themselves against injuring themselves in doing so.) :(
I don't think their purpose is to inflict brain injury.
If you are a good exponent of the sport a hit to the chin will knock them out
Yeah, but not because they've been hit on the chin! It's because the force of the blow moves the brain within the skull to a sufficient degree to cause a minor concussion. It's the only way you can get a knockout (barring the odd occasion when someone gets exhausted and effectively just passes out).
Yes - the only way to avoid brain damage would be to make a blow to the head a foul and a disqualification,

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