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07-31-2014, 05:13 AM
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Location: Malmö
Country: Sweden
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The today v.s. yesterdays athletes, with Usain Bolt and Jesse Owens being just about equals as a part of the argument, is talked about in this great TED-talk. How the records developed in sports often make jumps only when an technololgy changes. Even in a sport where it would seem easy to judge the greatest all time (like 100 m), it ain´t...

And that people think that all time greats wouldn´t hold up today is for me quite unbelievable. Howe had an impact in the NHL from 1946-1980 (last season as an 52 year old...). Raymond Bourque from 1979-2001. Let´s add a player lika Thornton and those three players overlap from 1946-presence. We are not a new species than the players who played 25, 50 or 100 years ago...
With the difference that some eras and rules (DPE for example) favour different kind of bodytypes (some of todays players wouldn´t make it in previous eras, as well as some former wouldn´t make it today...). But the elite talent is always going to be the elite talent. And they are not evenley "produced", in the way that the greatest of every generation got to have someone on the all time greatest list. Stats alone can´t measure such things. But dominace (with % being ONE part of it) over the others playing is one of the most accurate ways of determing ones all time greatness. Add that there is much coincedence to wich, if any, sports a talent like Gretzky/Lemieux/Howe/Jagr/Lindros gets involved in.

To add: A swedish skier, Martin Lundström, who won gold at Sankt Moritz in 1948 in 18 km, actually beat his own time 40 years later. Even that Lundström sure aged better than most athletes and was a great veteran competitor, I can guarantee you that he wasn´t a better skier 1988 than 1948 all things accounted. Wax, clothes and better skies was doing the job. Just as skates, sticks and lighter equipment is doing the job making todays hockeyplayers seem greater than the pasts.

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