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How to determine all time best?

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  • How to determine all time best?

    I was having a discussion with someone about how to determine the best alltime performer in a sport.

    Should it be based on # of major titles/championships, best performance, consistency, or something else. I think track lends itself to this kind of discussion.
    Cheers

  • #2
    Re: How to determine all time best?

    Whatever criterium you use, the debate could go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, etc.....

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    • #3
      Re: How to determine all time best?

      Why would you use a bicycle race to determine the best track athlete?

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      • #4
        Re: How to determine all time best?

        i've thought about this quite a bit. There are a lot of different variables, especially when you consider athletes now vs 80 years ago.

        I think the best way is to look at consistency over time. Who was ranked #1 or in the top 3 in their event the most times?

        I think we can find these answers somewhere on this site.
        H

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        • #5
          Re: How to determine all time best?

          I compiled a spreadsheet with the top-10 800-10000 runners since 1968 and with a few equations arrived at a ranking of the best. The equation was based on the number of times ranked in the top-10 minus the average ranking. Thus the best by this definition would be someone who was ranked in the top-10 at different distances, ideally #1.

          Using this definition the top 10 (well 11, 10th is a tie) are as follows:

          Geb - 20.2
          Aouita - 14.1
          Coe - 14.0
          Morceli - 13.2
          Komen - 9.3
          El G - 9.3
          Ovett - 9.0
          Tergat - 8.3
          Cram - 7.7
          Yifter - 7.0
          Ondieki - 7.0

          Geb's being #1 is due to being ranked in the top-10 at 3 different distances for a total of 22 top-10 rankings and an average ranking of 1.8. Aouita is close behind with an average of 1.9 but was only ranked in the top-10 16 times. What is impressive about Aouita is that he was ranked in the top-10 in a 5 distances.

          Kevin

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          • #6
            Re: How to determine all time best?

            For my project I saw no reason to reinvent the wheel. I took T&FN's world ranking criteria and adapted it to an all-time setting.

            http://personal.bgsu.edu/~jsquire/intro.pdf

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