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  • Phelps or Bolt

    I know It's early and highly hypothetical as well as a bit premature but if Bolt gets 3 gold and 4 medals ( 4x100 win plus WR and runs the Jamaican 4x400 to a medal in style) he is your greatest athlete of this Olympics.

    3 golds and 3 WR's plus another medal would be on par if not better
    with Phelps and his 8 Gold (3 relays).

    Comments?

  • #2
    I think it's a fair comparison. Swimming offers so many chances for an athlete to swim essentially the same race multiple times. What's so radically different between the 100 freestyle, breast stroke, 'n butterfly? It seems every race is populated by the same athletes There's way too much overlap which renders each event less significant than the differences created by differet distances.

    I compare swimming the same distance using three different "styles" to a guy runnin' the same distance threee different ways. It's like runnin' the hundred in traditional fashion, runnin' backwards, 'n runnin' a thrid race while clapping the hands behind the back. What's t the point?

    Swimming oughtta be raced like track, first to finish. Choose yer style. One race at each distance.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Honusonthesound
      II compare swimming the same distance using three different "styles" to a guy runnin' the same distance threee different ways. It's like runnin' the hundred in traditional fashion, runnin' backwards, 'n runnin' a thrid race while clapping the hands behind the back. What's t the point?
      Bolt already did all of these. Where are his extra medals??!!

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      • #4
        Phelps by a mile...far more difficult schedule...and far more impressive.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Kurt Francis
          Phelps by a mile...far more difficult schedule...and far more impressive.
          Respectfully disagree.

          While Phelps was unquestionably the star in swimming and deservedly so, many World, Olympic and National Records were broken effectively making records a dime a dozen in the pool.

          It's still special and memorable to see a WR in Track broken hence my vote for Bolt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lexvid
            Originally posted by Kurt Francis
            Phelps by a mile...far more difficult schedule...and far more impressive.
            Respectfully disagree.

            While Phelps was unquestionably the star in swimming and deservedly so, many World, Olympic and National Records were broken effectively making records a dime a dozen in the pool.

            It's still special and memorable to see a WR in Track broken hence my vote for Bolt.
            Bolt would have to win the 100, 200, 4x100, 4x400, 110h, and long jump to be on a level with Phelps. Physiologically they are all similar, but technicall all are different. And if you don't think the differences in technique amongst the different swimming strokes are as significant as those in the above mentioned track events, then you don't know much about swimming.

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            • #7
              Phelps or Bolt

              While Phelp's schedule was tough, there is much less CNS fatigue in swimming because of the slower firing patterns. Physiologically it takes longer to recover from a track sprint than a pool sprint because of CNS recovery times.

              Since nearly everyone in the world can run, and significantly lower numbers can swim, or have access to a pool, the #'s game makes the running wins more difficult.

              World records: Swimming still needs some "maturing." World records are broken on a weekly basis. When a sport matures, the records are broken very infrequently. World records in the pool have less significance than those on the track "at this point." (ie, the history of the women's pv) (see excellent article by Tim Layden at SI.com.....26 0f 32 world records have been broken in swimming since Athens 2004....some of them 7 or 8 times)

              No doubt about it, Phelps is the greatest swimmer of all time, and the most decorated Olympian of all time. However, one has to consider the relative size of the population base from which his competitors are drawn.

              I congratulate Phelps on his incredible achievement of 8 golds. But for sheer performance, Bolt gets my vote....he is winning easily and running times that were thought to be nearly unattainable. His margins of victory and complete domination of world class sprinters is a feat the likes of which we have never seen in athletics.

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              • #8
                Has Phelps redefined a not-yet mature sport (and not the marque event)? Has Bolt redefined the highest profile event in the most basic sport in the world?

                To me it is no contest, and I have not yet seen the 4x100. Swimming allows for multiple/multiple races and high-volume training. The WRs in swimming are close to a no-never-mind since the technology played such a large role Note that except for Bolt and Fraser (and Martina) few of the winners are as good as the spectacular marks on other tracks getting here. These are not technology-aided marks.

                Furthermore, while he has two WRs by a mere 0.05 seconds, he slowed in the 100 and had no wind (not too many 0.0 WRs in history) and then had a Headwind in the 200. His combined breakage could have been closer to half a second and that his unbelievable given that one of them was 19.32 and the total time is under 29 seconds. Then, consider the margin of victory -- two-thirds of a second in the 200 and a similar percentage in the 100.

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                • #9
                  I'm less biased than most people here and while I think it's a close contest, I'd give the edge to Bolt at this point. What both guys have done has been remarkable - I'm not sure why people have to put down either athlete.

                  Phelps' two close finishes have been the most exciting races of the Games. Bolt's two records perhaps have been the most remarkable performances (well the 200 for sure - I'm not as impressed with the 100 because I know he can go much lower.

                  Bolt will win one contest - the appearance fee showdown. What is Bolt's asking price now for every race he runs?

                  Both sports also gain big time from having the stars here. In fact, I wonder if NBC shows more track and field if Bolt is running in the event?

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                  • #10
                    I dont think it is a fair parallel to make that Bolt or any other athlete for that matter would have to do the 110h, 100, 200, 400, relays, long jump to equate to what a Phelps can do in the pool. The talent and technique required to do various track and field disciplines are diverse compared to swimming notwithstanding the variou techniques and styles. Running a 100m flat vs running a 100m hurdles is so vastly different. Plus, it seems that is easier for swimmers (not only Phelps) to recover between races.

                    In my opinion running the 100 and 200 and 400 is equivalent to swimming in all the swimming disciplines that phelps competed in.

                    Track and field asks for agility, strength, endurance, speed, power
                    Swimming asks for strength, endurance, speed, power
                    One up on swimming.

                    P.s. I am open to comments.

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                    • #11
                      if you asked me who the greatest Olympian is I would say Teofilo Stevenson. He won gold at 3 Olympics and never came close to losing.
                      But based on medals won , the greatest Olympian will always be a swimmer. Cross discipline comparisons dont work. Swimming lends itself too well to multiple medals and sports like boxing dont, much less team sorts like rowing.

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                      • #12
                        Imagine if we were to judge the athletic prowess of Macos, Marlins and Penguins (not the sports clubs) based on how well they flattered on a Mundo track compared to what they did in the ocean. Would we use the track times and scores to derive the best ones athletically or would we use their performance in the ocean. I think you all see the point.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kamikaze7
                          if you asked me who the greatest Olympian is I would say Teofilo Stevenson. He won gold at 3 Olympics and never came close to losing.
                          But based on medals won , the greatest Olympian will always be a swimmer. Cross discipline comparisons dont work. Swimming lends itself too well to multiple medals and sports like boxing dont, much less team sorts like rowing.
                          But he was not the best athlete in his sport across that time - the main competition was kept out. He would not even be on my radar. Any cycling road champs prior to 1996 are of secondary importance because the race was not open to the best riders.

                          Is the US womens softball team the best athletic performance ever - not even on the same stage as there is not enough competition.

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                          • #14
                            Bolt's performance is more remarkable. No slightly to Phelps, but as has been stated previously, competing in the same distance using a different stroke is not nearly the same as running a flat race, and running over hurdles. Butterfly Stroke aside, I bet you will find that the top 10 fastest Swimmers at any particular distance using a given stroke, are very similar to the top 10 swimmers at the same distance using a different stroke. There isn't a single Top 10 110m Hurdler who is even remotely close to the top 50 fastest 100m performances of all time. Of the Top 10 400m Hurdlers, the only one who is a top 10 flat 400m runner is Angelo Taylor (give or take, he may be slightly out of the top 10 in either, or, or both).

                            Phelps accomplishment would be more similar to someone winning a 50m dash, 60m dash, 100m dash, 200m dash, 4x100m, 4X200m and 4X400m, since obviously there cannot be similar "strokes" on the track. Would someone winning those events be impressive? Sure. But would it be "surprising" that someone who could win the 50 would also win the 60? Not really. And also as stated, Swimming doesn't put nearly as much pressure on your body, allowing for multiple races in a shorter amount of time, and a more stringent training schedule. I heard that Phelps swims 7 days a week when he trains. Find me a Sprinter who trains 7 days a week on tha track, and I'll show you a sprinter whose muscles are so knotted up in his body that he wouldn't be able to walk straight. And that not taking into account the pressure on the joints etc.

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                            • #15
                              What a joke to mention Phelps in the same breath as Usain Bolt. People all over the world run, regardless of socio-economic level. Everybody runs. By far less people swim. Most people in the world cannot even swim at all. It takes money to swim at the world level. Despite what NBC and Entertainment Tonight say, Usain Bolt has been the star of these games. Not even close.

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