• Due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software, some users were "banned" when they tried to change their passwords at the end of February. This does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you were affected by this, please contact us.

The greatest sports person ever

gerhard dengler

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
46,739
One of the eternal questions for lovers of sport, who is the greatest of them all?

As a student of several sports, and more widely a follower of many many sports, the question of who is the greatest of all time (GOAT) remains.

I guess sport being team-based and individual based, is one criteria which has to be taken in to account.
Individuals in team sports is one issue (Pele in a great Brazilian team, George Best in an average Northern Ireland team).

Then you have sports in which individuals only participate such swimming, tennis, track and field.

The quality of the opposition in individuals sports and in team sports is a factor also.

Take Cricket. The argument that Jack Hobbs (who scored the most runs in first class) is a worthy candidate for GOAT in cricket, but Don Bradman had by far the highest test average (and first class) average - but who played far fewer first class games than Hobbs. Or take Frank Woolley who's all round figures for batting and bowling make him statistically the greatest all round player, was he better than Gary Sobers? Debates like these are endless and probably unresolvable.

But there are standout careers across various codes in which the GOAT is clear : Lindrum in Billiards, Merckx in Cycling,
Nicklaus in Golf, Khan in Squash, Phelps in Swimming.

Who is the greatest of the great?
 


CatullusV

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
4,433
Bradman by a country mile. He averaged 99.94 in test cricket. The closest career average at that level is under 62.

His achievements are outstanding.

There's a story which goes that during the eighties, when the West Indies were just about still in their pomp, the Aussie captain Steve Waugh averaged 65. Bradman visited the dressing room at the end of the last day. Waugh asked him whether he himself would have managed that average. Bradman replied that he would have struggled to average 65. As Waugh beamed around the dressing room in pride, Bradman slayed him by adding:

"But you must remember that I am 85."

Bradman was also an excellent tennis player and played golf off scratch.

He was also an excellent ballroom dancer (as were Hobbs and Hutton) and reckoned that it was a huge aid in footwork.

He'd be my nomination.
 

gerhard dengler

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
46,739
It's difficult.

For example New Zealand have had three teams which won the Grand Slam by beating all the home nations in Europe (1978, 2005 and 2008) on tour.
Would '78 team beat '08 team? Who knows.

1984 Wallabies did the Grand Slam too. Is this team better than the New Zealand grand slam winning team(s). Who knows.

And is winning a grand slam a measure of greatness? Is NZ winning a grand slam better than England or France winning a championship grand slam?
 

johnnypockets

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
14,936
Nearly impossible to pick just one. Nearly impossible to pick one for each sport. Think the most dominant e ER was a woman in the women’s wheelchair tennis. May have been dutch
 

gerhard dengler

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
46,739
Nearly impossible to pick just one. Nearly impossible to pick one for each sport. Think the most dominant e ER was a woman in the women’s wheelchair tennis. May have been dutch
I wouldn't say it is impossible to select the GOAT within a sport. For example, Phelps record in swimming clearly shows that he is the greatest swimmer of all time, in my opinion.

I do accept that there are few clearcut GOAT within many sports. One could debate who is the GOAT in tennis (Serena Williams?, Federer?, Laver? Borg?.....................) forever probably.

And is the GOAT in one code, better or worse than the GOAT in a different code?
 

johnnypockets

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 30, 2010
Messages
14,936
I wouldn't say it is impossible to select the GOAT within a sport. For example, Phelps record in swimming clearly shows that he is the greatest swimmer of all time, in my opinion.

I do accept that there are few clearcut GOAT within many sports. One could debate who is the GOAT in tennis (Serena Williams?, Federer?, Laver? Borg?.....................) forever probably.

And is the GOAT in one code, better or worse than the GOAT in a different code?
Navratilova in the tennis, as much as I love federer
 

gooner

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
1,865
Phelps is mentioned but it is a bit easier to accumulate a high medal count in swimming. For instance Dressel got 7 golds in the worlds last year with 4 of those in relays. It's not taking anything away from Phelps as he is streaks ahead of any swimmer in terms of gold medals. It's just taking into context how it's hard to pick one as the GOAT comparing different sports.

I do think in time Ledecky could be up there as she has a good chance of ending her career as the woman with most golds in Olympics history. To dominate 400m, 800m, 1500m as long distance events with WRs is one thing, to go down to 200m and beat someone as good as Sjostrom in Rio in a more sprint event was something else. Not to mention her Kazan performances in 2015.

Without Phelps and Bolt for Tokyo, she will be the stand out athlete for those Games and I think she deserves more recognition for her achievements. Just recently broke the 1500m again.

It's a worthwhile discussion but whenever it's brought up it's as ever hard to pick one.

I have huge admiration for Federer maintaining those high standards today and that hunger to still succeed at 37.
 

cropbeye

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
921
Cuchulainn and I would give a special mention to Achilles.
 

gerhard dengler

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
46,739
Personally I'm more inclined to nominate someone who's record has stood for years, decades.

On that criteria Eddy Merckx record is simply phenomenal. Nicklaus too.

Federer supplanted Sampras, but what is Federer's record relative to Navratilova or Serena Williams or even Steffi Graff.
 

gooner

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 24, 2018
Messages
1,865
Personally I'm more inclined to nominate someone who's record has stood for years, decades.

On that criteria Eddy Merckx record is simply phenomenal. Nicklaus too.

Federer supplanted Sampras, but what is Federer's record relative to Navratilova or Serena Williams or even Steffi Graff.
Wouldn't doping be an issue with Merckx?

On his palmares, it is indeed phenomenal to dominate GTs with winning the monuments across all parcours. That wouldn't be in question and is deserving of putting him right up there for consideration.

It's the doping reservation I would have. The only thing I would say it was well before the blood doping era and talent still mostly reigned supreme at the time even with the substances in use.

Once we got to transfusion/EPO, that just distorted all things out of proportion.
 

toughbutfair

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
9,748
Football is by far the most popular sport so the greatest footballer ever has a strong argument. Now that starts another debate , I’d lean towards Pele but it’s a tough call with Maradona and di Stefano both having good calls.
 

toughbutfair

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
9,748
Wouldn't doping be an issue with Merckx?

On his palmares, it is indeed phenomenal to dominate GTs with winning the monuments across all parcours. That wouldn't be in question and is deserving of putting him right up there for consideration.

It's the doping reservation I would have. The only thing I would say it was well before the blood doping era and talent still mostly reigned supreme at the time even with the substances in use.

Once we got to transfusion/EPO, that just distorted all things out of proportion.
Ignore the drugs, everybody uses.
 

toughbutfair

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2009
Messages
9,748
Personally I'm more inclined to nominate someone who's record has stood for years, decades.

On that criteria Eddy Merckx record is simply phenomenal. Nicklaus too.

Federer supplanted Sampras, but what is Federer's record relative to Navratilova or Serena Williams or even Steffi Graff.
Will federar’s récord even be bettered by his rivals? I think djorkovic will beat his total. Nadal might too.
 


New Threads

Popular Threads

Most Replies

Top