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Is Michael Phelps the most dominant athlete of the last 20 years?

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08-03-2012, 05:21 AM
  #51
Richie10
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There is a tremendous amount of ignorance in this thread. The layman looks at all the events in swimming and thinks, "well, no wonder Phelps has all those medals" without realizing how different each race really is. As it has already been pointed out, some of the best swimmers train their entire lives in one stroke to qualify for the Olympics and compete for a medal. Phelps versatility is exactly WHY he must be considered as one of the most dominant athletes of all time.

Phelps winning gold medals and setting records in so many different strokes is like a hockey player winning the Rocket Richard, Hart, Selke, Norris, and Vezina. Phelps winning 8 gold medals in one Olympics is like a hockey player winning all of the above trophies in one freaking season. Yes, that is an appropriate analogy, and yes the butterfly is as different from the backstroke and freestyle as goaltending is from defense and forward.

I understand Phelps is a polarizing figure for some and haters are gonna hate, but the man is a phenomenal athlete and just as dominant in his sport than Bolt is in track or Gretzky was in hockey. Respect.

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08-03-2012, 05:26 AM
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie10 View Post
There is a tremendous amount of ignorance in this thread. The layman looks at all the events in swimming and thinks, "well, no wonder Phelps has all those medals" without realizing how different each race really is. As it has already been pointed out, some of the best swimmers train their entire lives in one stroke to qualify for the Olympics and compete for a medal. Phelps versatility is exactly WHY he must be considered as one of the most dominant athletes of all time.

Phelps winning gold medals and setting records in so many different strokes is like a hockey player winning the Rocket Richard, Hart, Selke, Norris, and Vezina. Phelps winning 8 gold medals in one Olympics is like a hockey player winning all of the above trophies in one freaking season. Yes, that is an appropriate analogy, and yes the butterfly is as different from the backstroke and freestyle as goaltending is from defense and forward.

I understand Phelps is a polarizing figure for some and haters are gonna hate, but the man is a phenomenal athlete and just as dominant in his sport than Bolt is in track or Gretzky was in hockey. Respect.
Phelps is a phenom and one of the greatest but it still stands that he CAN participate in many disciplines that give out medals.

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08-03-2012, 05:35 AM
  #53
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This is the first year that i've watched the summer olympics in a handful of years, i've heard of Phelps but never saw him compete until a few days ago. The fascinating thing i've noticed about him is that he seems to almost be able to propel himself upwards out of the pool as if he's standing on solid ground right under his feet. Its almost as if he's figured out a way to 'push off' the water as if its solid ground.

Don't let the medals get in the way of what your eyes see. As great as Phelps is, Bolt doesnt even look human when he's running, he looks like a video game.

When you see a human being do something that makes you say "that looks like a video game" than that human is probably the most dominant.

Does Phelps look like a video game? If you think he does, than he's right in the conversation with Bolt.

Lots of great candidates, but i'm going to go with U-SANE-ity.

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08-03-2012, 05:42 AM
  #54
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Originally Posted by Avs_19 View Post
Tiger Woods with his 14 majors, 16 world golf championships, and 41 other PGA tour wins in the last 16 years has to put him on the shortlist.

He hasn't been dominant lately but I would still put him #1 on my list.

As would I.

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08-03-2012, 05:46 AM
  #55
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Golf is not athletic.

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08-03-2012, 06:05 AM
  #56
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Originally Posted by Paranoid Android View Post
I admit I don't know anything on the subject, but I have to agree his medal count is very misleading. They really need to trim back the medals in swimming instead of handing them out like candy.

I'd be curious to see what his winning percentage is.

I'll throw a name out there though, May/Walsh. Undefeated in all Olympic matches.
Phelps qualified for 8 events in Beijing. He won 8 golds.
I think in the 22+ events he qualified in the Olympics, he only didn't medal in 2. 16 golds, 2 silver, 2 bronze.

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08-03-2012, 06:11 AM
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
Phelps is a phenom and one of the greatest but it still stands that he CAN participate in many disciplines that give out medals.
Usain Bolt could also participate in the 400m, 800m, hurdles, etc.

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08-03-2012, 06:28 AM
  #58
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Originally Posted by Brad Tolliver View Post
You have no idea what you are talking about if you are lumping NASCAR with F1 and Indycars. If you aren't a professional racing driver chances are the g-forces in a F1 car will be too much for your neck muscles even over a single lap. Now imagine doing while keeping concentration for multiple hours. Even racing around in a go-kart is more physical than sports like baseball.

If it wasn't that difficult then the best drivers in the world wouldn't make more money in a year than most swimmers will in their lifetime.
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Originally Posted by SirKillalot View Post
F1 is a really hard sport. They get several G's in a lot of turns. These guys are well trained athletes. They need a very good core strength to do what they do. Remember Schumacher had a pretty solid training schedule. F1 is much more difficult than NASCAR.
I have no doubt that drivers are fit, but that doesn't make the event they participate in a sport. At the end of the day, they're still driving a vehicle around a track for x amount of laps and whoever finishes first is the winner. NONE of that racing is under their own physical power.

Also how can you consider F1, Indy etc 'sports' when so much of a driver's success depends on the quality and reliablity of his car? You can say Michael Schumacher is the best most skilled driver in the world, but without a quality car, HE IS NOTHING. All his driving skill becomes meaningless. To me its not a true sport when not only everything you accomplish is within a motor vehicle and not under your own power, but also if that vehicle is crap your results are also crap.

You take Sidney Crosby to your local Canadian Tire and buy all his gear there, he'll still be a great player despite the average hockey equipment. You can't say the same for Schumacher. Again you give him an unreliable, crap car, all his fitness and driving skill becomes USELESS and he would NEVER be as successful as he is today.

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08-03-2012, 06:32 AM
  #59
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08-03-2012, 06:51 AM
  #60
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Originally Posted by WTFetus View Post
Usain Bolt could also participate in the 400m, 800m, hurdles, etc.
then why do swimmers start a lot more in numerous events that any other athlete?
It seems more possible.

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08-03-2012, 10:06 AM
  #61
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GQS View Post
I have no doubt that drivers are fit, but that doesn't make the event they participate in a sport. At the end of the day, they're still driving a vehicle around a track for x amount of laps and whoever finishes first is the winner. NONE of that racing is under their own physical power.

Also how can you consider F1, Indy etc 'sports' when so much of a driver's success depends on the quality and reliablity of his car? You can say Michael Schumacher is the best most skilled driver in the world, but without a quality car, HE IS NOTHING. All his driving skill becomes meaningless. To me its not a true sport when not only everything you accomplish is within a motor vehicle and not under your own power, but also if that vehicle is crap your results are also crap.

You take Sidney Crosby to your local Canadian Tire and buy all his gear there, he'll still be a great player despite the average hockey equipment. You can't say the same for Schumacher. Again you give him an unreliable, crap car, all his fitness and driving skill becomes USELESS and he would NEVER be as successful as he is today.
Not true. The great drivers find a way to win in a crap car. In 1994 and 1995, Schumacher took a Benetton car that was technologically inferior to the top teams like Williams and McLaren and won two championships. Ayrton Senna was competitive and won races in both the Toleman and Lotus cars, which were HORRIBLE rides. Giles Villeneuve was able to squeeze everything out of his crapball Ferrari in the early 80's.

The greats, in any sport, find ways to win in spite of adversity.

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08-03-2012, 10:11 AM
  #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eisen View Post
then why do swimmers start a lot more in numerous events that any other athlete?
It seems more possible.
Why are people completely ignoring gymnastics in this discussion?

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08-03-2012, 10:48 AM
  #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richie10 View Post
There is a tremendous amount of ignorance in this thread. The layman looks at all the events in swimming and thinks, "well, no wonder Phelps has all those medals" without realizing how different each race really is. As it has already been pointed out, some of the best swimmers train their entire lives in one stroke to qualify for the Olympics and compete for a medal. Phelps versatility is exactly WHY he must be considered as one of the most dominant athletes of all time.

Phelps winning gold medals and setting records in so many different strokes is like a hockey player winning the Rocket Richard, Hart, Selke, Norris, and Vezina. Phelps winning 8 gold medals in one Olympics is like a hockey player winning all of the above trophies in one freaking season. Yes, that is an appropriate analogy, and yes the butterfly is as different from the backstroke and freestyle as goaltending is from defense and forward.

I understand Phelps is a polarizing figure for some and haters are gonna hate, but the man is a phenomenal athlete and just as dominant in his sport than Bolt is in track or Gretzky was in hockey. Respect.
I don't really keep up with pop culture, but why is he polarizing?

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08-03-2012, 11:35 AM
  #64
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Originally Posted by kingsholygrail View Post
Why are people completely ignoring gymnastics in this discussion?
Still only 6 medals max. And more restrictions for starters as well.

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08-03-2012, 11:40 AM
  #65
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Well, not really. It is not very clever to just look at the medal count when comparing olympians in different sports. As said before, in swimming, opportunities for new golds & medals come from left and right whereas in other sports you may only get a chance to win one or two golds per olympics.
Usuain Bolt could easily be competing in 5-7 medal events in the Olympics. No reason why he couldn't compete in the 100,200,400,4x100,4x200. He could theoretically also compete in the 110 hurdles and long jump. Its not like the chances aren't there.

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08-03-2012, 01:10 PM
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No love for Canadas finest? Sid the kid. Burnaby joe. Marty. Pronger. And many more.

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08-03-2012, 01:34 PM
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08-03-2012, 01:45 PM
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Add another gold

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08-03-2012, 02:02 PM
  #69
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Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand View Post
Usuain Bolt could easily be competing in 5-7 medal events in the Olympics. No reason why he couldn't compete in the 100,200,400,4x100,4x200. He could theoretically also compete in the 110 hurdles and long jump. Its not like the chances aren't there.
That is taking things completely out of context.

If you look at it, the medal tables are all topped by either swimmers or gymnasts.
No other sports offers as many chances to win medals.

It's nothing to hold against Phelps, but judging him vs someone like Bolt purely by the number of medals is ridiculous.

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08-03-2012, 02:16 PM
  #70
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No love for Canadas finest? Sid the kid. Burnaby joe. Marty. Pronger. And many more.
What?

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08-03-2012, 02:27 PM
  #71
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Originally Posted by Richie10 View Post
Phelps winning gold medals and setting records in so many different strokes is like a hockey player winning the Rocket Richard, Hart, Selke, Norris, and Vezina. Phelps winning 8 gold medals in one Olympics is like a hockey player winning all of the above trophies in one freaking season. Yes, that is an appropriate analogy,
That is an awful analogy for a number of reasons...

1) It's hard to compare different sports and what is considered 'domination' in those sports.

2) Swimmers being world class and winning Olympic medals in different strokes is hardly unheard of. A hockey player playing all three positions at a world class level is unheard of.

3) A hockey player winning all those awards in the same season would basically require him playing all three positions simultaneously. It's like asking Phelps to be in four different races for the four different strokes at the same time. I don't mean the medley either, I actually mean four different races at the exact same time.

With all that being said Phelps is remarkable. The dude has more Olympic medals than I have pairs or socks and underwear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fish on The Sand View Post
Usuain Bolt could easily be competing in 5-7 medal events in the Olympics. No reason why he couldn't compete in the 100,200,400,4x100,4x200. He could theoretically also compete in the 110 hurdles and long jump. Its not like the chances aren't there.
I think it is about context. Someone being world class in all those Athletic events is, probably for a number of reasons, unheard of. In swimming, probably for a number of reasons, not so much.


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08-03-2012, 02:33 PM
  #72
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That's nice except what he does isn't really a sport. Sitting in a car driving around a track for a few hours isn't really all that impressive compared to all the other amazing athletic feats and phenomenal athletes that you could point to in sports history.
It's been said already but... the fitness training F1 drivers go through is grueling enough, never mind what they go through when they're driving the fastest, most maneouverable cars in the world at the very limit of their performance.

My vote for most dominant athlete... I'm tempted to say Federer in the early to mid 2000s. But I think it's too difficult to compare sports to get a definitive answer.

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08-03-2012, 02:36 PM
  #73
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Quoted in agreement, but I totally get why he's overlooked.

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08-03-2012, 05:26 PM
  #74
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Phelps is definitely a/the dominant swimmer in the past 20 years. Whether he is the best swimmer ever? Maybe not. Mark Spitz won 7 gold medals in the 1972 Olympics with each win being a World record. That accomplishment has not been broken to this day.
Phelps set 7 world records in Beijing as well. And Phelps was dominant in Athens as well, while Spitz won 2 relay gold but no individual ones in 1968. Phelps is clearly above him historically.

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08-03-2012, 05:44 PM
  #75
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People who think Bolt could run everything between the 100 and 800 with hurdles and jumps thrown in have probably never done track and field.

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