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What Makes Someone “World’s Greatest Athlete?”

Olympics 2012 is over but a debate is still raging around real and social media water coolers about who is the world’s greatest athlete.

Personally? I don’t think one person can hold the title because there are many sports and, within them, many different disciplines.

That said, nothing wrong with dialoguing about the skills, techniques and natural talents that impress us the most.
Doping questions aside, I certainly became fans of many athletes over the last two weeks and, from my view, all are among the “world’s greatest.”

They include but are not limited to Carmelita Jeter, the world’s fastest living 100-meter female sprinter on record; 200-meter swimming phenom Ye Shiwen; 6-mile women’s marathon force; and, of course, the most decorated Olympian ever, Michael Phelps, and the fastest short distance human on the planet, the new Ali, sprinter Usain Bolt.

So, what about Ashton Eaton, the decathlon winner? According to Olympic tradition, the gold medalist in this event is to be dubbed “world’s greatest.”

But is that really the case? To me, the decathlon is a track-and-field event much like a triathlon: you have be good at several sports but master of none. Nice, but I’m more awed by a swimmer who can freestyle six fast miles in open water than a chap who throws a javelin, pole vaults and jogs sorta fast around a track.

Well, that’s my view. Now I’d love to read yours.

Is one person from Olympics 2012 the world’s greatest athlete? Do you believe we can narrow it down to one? Do tell!


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