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  • #61
    Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

    Originally posted by noone
    The list is far too USA-centric.

    Do Americans know about Asians who starred in badminton AND taekwando, about Brazilians who were soccer and swimming greats, the Latvian who threw the javelin AND played on the national team handball team? By their standards those athletes were as amazing as Bo Jackson or jackie Robinson , who THEY never heard of either.
    I just assumed people were really talking about the greatest USA athletes of all time. But I would like to know more about the athletes you mention.


    • #62
      Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

      Sam was indeed well like and respected - as an individual and a coach.

      One more deal and I'll quit here. I can't remember how it happened but Fred LaPlante of (Eastern Michigan notoriety-and later a prominent sprint coach) hooked up with me and we became room-mates in the Isla Vista adventures. His girlfriend had remained in Michigan, much to his dismay.

      They eventually agreed that she move out and move in. - She was a trackster too. I remember him telling me she was awful good - and had some wheels. I had been training for the mile - and was in very good shape - so I agreed to do some speed work - 110s - accelerating. So we started and as we accelerated - it became HER moving ahead. I couldn't believe it. I had pretty decent 440 speed - for a miler - but thought that would suffice. It didn't

      His girlfriend was a hurdler named Deby Lansky - later to become an Olympian and American record holder - primarily because she had run those 110s with me. She later married Fred and they later got divorce - don't know when.


      • #63
        Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

        Originally posted by dbirds
        Originally posted by scottmitchell74
        Not much agility or hand-eye coordination? How does one high hurdle, pole vault, throw a spear hundreds of feet and shot put without these skills? That's not mentioning the other events.

        I mean decathletes dont change direction like football, soccer and basketball players. If you've seen Bryan Clay in the SPARQ test, he does great at everything except the agility test.

        The decathlon itself doesnt test ball/bat skills like swinging a baseball bat, tennis racquet, golf club. etc. Not to mention cycling, swimming or any kind of contact like mma, wrestling, football hits, etc.

        I still think decathlon is the best test of all-around athleticism but I think it doesn't cover everything!
        I am sorry but he did just fine in that test - just not as dominant as his others which ended in him having the best score ever.

        Let's not forget that these other sports guys practice these tests since freaking H.S. - Clay comes in there RAW as $hit and blows everyone away. At that level and that depth there is no way you should be saying that he has no agility or hand eye co-ordination as the others.

        As to some other thoughts - These lists are alwyas Americanized and American. Go figure! The media does alot of PR and hyperbole regarding the athletes they promote in order to generate $$$. Most of the public including some sports writers know $hit about actually pushing your body to the limits in sports.

        Furthermore, this whole being able to dunk crap is overrated. It really takes no skill to jump up and put a ball into a freaking whole when you have no defenders and you're 6 1/2 feet tall and where born with a 30-40 inch vertical. I am 5'11 never ever played but two games of B-ball and I could grab the rim - not dunk - my hand was just a tad small to control the ball and my vert just shy. But what the hell I never practiced that anyway. I only mention this because the #1 pick for the contemporary section of the list mentions dunking. Now in the Slam dunk comps that's a diffrent level beacuse of the tricks as well as in games with defenders - but just being able to jump takes nothing really special nor any training - you're just born with the ability to jump up. The placement of the rim is also arbitrary so that some one who is say 5 1/2 feet tall and has the rim at 9 feet instead of 10 would and could be just as athletic as anyone else - yet if they were not able to do it at 10 - they suck and are not a good athlete - LMAO. I have seen some small, quick, agile, ball handling mo-foes. Most of them will never play at the Pro level though - but I say they are way more athletic that a 7 foot dope like Shaq whose only attribute was that he was big as $hit and forced his way to the basket. Given a chance to make a basket from the free throw - you think after years of practice and all that money - he'd be able to make something. Gosh Darnit!

        I have a feeling alot of these lists are based on the emotional hype of the American Sports Indtrustrial Complex. No Decathletes, Triathletes, no foreigners, hardly any woman, and mostly NFL, NBA, and MLB. Yes alot are worthy of mention but dam it they leave so much out it is not worth considering or taking seriously.


        • #64
          Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

          CookyMonzta wrote:

          I'm surprised no one mentioned Jackie Joyner-Kersee's credentials in basketball (UCLA). If I'm not mistaken, she played in the defunct ABL, although by that time (1996) she was rusty from having been away from the court for so long. Of course, there are her marks: 22.30, 12.61H, 55.10H, 1.93 and 7.49, all of which would have made the finals of many big meets, and probably won medals, in the years since her 2000 retirement.

          It's a primary reason she was among Brown, Robinson and Rafer on my own list. She not only starred in T & F, but played a team sport on a very high level, as did Rafer and Jackie.
          Brown rates because he was, for decades, generally considered the greatest athlete ever in two different team sports. Not a bad hoopster at the 'cuse either.


          • #65
            Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

            Here are a couple of two-sports athletes no one has mentioned yet.

            Jaroslav Drobny won World Chapmpionships Olympic silver medal as a member of Czechoslovakia's national ice hockey team, and then went on to win French Championships and Wimbledon as a tennis player.

            Natalie Williams was a NCAA Player of the Year in volleyball (twice NCAA Champion with UCLA), and later won Olympic gold medal in basketball.


            • #66
              Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

              Basketball-volleyball doubles are not uncommon. Mike Whitemarsh nearly made the Minnesota Timberwolves, and there were Laker Keith Erickson, and Flo Hyman.
              Sheila Young was a world champion speed skater who become America's best competiton cyclist at her distances. Olympic speed skater Beth Heiden took some cycling crowns as well.

              Bob Gibson, a wire service athlete of the year in baseball, played w/ the Harlem Globetrotters, and was a college all-star basketball player at Creighton.

              Utah State basketball All-American Cornell Green, who never played college football, became an All-Pro safety w/ the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys' roster read like a two-sport Who's Who, what with Savannah State basketball star Rayfield Wright, World's Fastest Human Bob Hayes, and Michigan State hoopster (no college football background) Pete Gent.

              DB Lonnie Wright played in the ABA and AFL.


              • #67
                Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

                Originally posted by Bijan
                Olympic speed skater Beth Heiden took some cycling crowns as well.
                Some cycling crowns would include the 1980 World Championship road race. She also won the Tour of Fitchburg and the Coors Classic in 1980, 2 of the 3 biggest American races in that era. After her cycling and speed skating careers ended, she went to the Univ of Vermont, where she would eventually get a PhD in mathematics. While at Vermont, she took up cross-country skiing, and was 1983 NCAA champion in that sport.

                Similarly, Connie Carpenter-Phinney was the first woman to win an Olympic cycling gold medal when she won the 1984 road race. She also competed in the 1972 Winter Olympics as a speed skater (at age 15). In between she attended Cal Berkeley and was on the crew teams, winning the coxless four NCAA title in 1980. She married Davis Phinney, an American cycling legend who has probably won more races than any other American cyclist, because of his sprinting ability. Phinney later developed Parkinson's Disease but has helped start funding for a lot of research into the disease. Their son, Taylor Phinney, cycles professionally, starting out as a track race, and was world elite champion in the 4,000 metre individual pursuit in 2009 and 2010. He rode in 2011 for BMC Racing, Cadel Evans' team, but Taylor Phinney did not ride the Tour de France - he's still only 21 yo.


                • #68
                  Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

                  And if you want another woman, and go outside the US, and go way back, we must mention Lottie Dod (GBR). She was a silver medalist in archery at the 1908 Olympics. She was a 5-time singles champion at Wimbledon. In 1903 she won the British Ladies' Amateur golf championship. And she played for the British ladies' hockey (field) team.


                  • #69
                    Re: greatest all-around athlete ever?

                    The discussion of skating-cycling combo would be incomplete without Christa Luding Rothenburger. A four-time Olympic medalist (two golds) and two-time world sprint champion in speed skating took a world gold and a silver in track cycling, and an became the first athlete to win Olympic medals in winter and summer games in the same year with a silver medal.

                    Clara Hughes was the first (and so far only) athelte to win multiple medals in both cycling (two bronze) and speedskating (a gold, a sliver and two bronzes).