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Old 08-17-08, 03:05 PM   #1
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Michael Phelps achievement unbelievable, but...

Is he really the greatest olympian as measured by gold medals in one olympics?

To me the greatest olympian is Eric Heiden, who won 5 INDIVIDUAL gold medals in one Olympics, everything from the 500 meters to 10,000 meter events. Can you imagine any track runner winning both the 100 meter sprint and the 10k and everything in between?

So while everone always talked about Spits 7 golds, three of those golds were in relay events, not individual events. Heiden won one more individual gold than Spitz did.

Now Phelps has only tied Heiden's record for 5 individual gold medals in one olympics, he hasn't surpassed it.

Phelps accomplishment is great, but does it really surpass Heiden's record just because swimmimg has relay events and speed skating doesn't.
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Old 08-17-08, 03:07 PM   #2
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There's no point in comparing greatness across time or sports.

Unless you're drinking beer with your buddies.
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Old 08-17-08, 03:17 PM   #3
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There's no point in comparing greatness across time or sports.

Unless you're drinking beer with your buddies.
But we do it all the time whenever we talk about gold medal totals, which seems to be the only topic of conversation at the olympics.
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Old 08-17-08, 03:40 PM   #4
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I think if you want to compare, then you need to consider that all of Heiden's events were basically the same event for different lengths. A couple of Phelps' events were for different strokes, and therefore required somewhat different muscles.
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Old 08-17-08, 03:58 PM   #5
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I think if you want to compare, then you need to consider that all of Heiden's events were basically the same event for different lengths. A couple of Phelps' events were for different strokes, and therefore required somewhat different muscles.
I don't buy it. The 100m and 10k are really vastly different event. I do agree with SpongeDad, though. If you take a look at what athletes are now compared to what they were in previous Olympics, there really is no standard to compare them to. As I heard before a race this year, Spitz's gold medal time wouldn't have even qualified him for the race.

I would, however, compare what strain on the body is. Phelps had an incredible amount of racing to do in the form of qualifying events to gain those medals...

That's my 2 cents
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Old 08-17-08, 04:21 PM   #6
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I don't buy it. The 100m and 10k are really vastly different event.
They might be vastly different races, but they still primarily used Heiden's thighs if you consider it from a musculature perspective.

I really don't care about the argument, just sayin'. That man had some thighs!!!!

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Old 08-17-08, 04:48 PM   #7
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They might be vastly different races, but they still primarily used Heiden's thighs if you consider it from a musculature perspective.

I really don't care about the argument, just sayin'. That man had some thighs!!!!

No doubt - and then he became a pretty good cyclist!

It's hard to split hairs between awesome and awesomer. We all do it; that's part of the fun, I suppose. But equipment alone makes big comparisons pretty hard. How fast would Spitz be with a modern speedsuit and without the 70s mustache?

Maybe something like the 100m dash where there's lots of data points bears comparisons across limited time frames, but even there I bet there have been advancements in training.

As a side note, I was a coxswain in rowing back in the 80s. At the beginning of that time, the dominant training methodology was to get the biggest trees you could fit in a boat and beat the tar out of them and taper just a bit before the big races. (That's a bit oversimplified but not much.) Even within a few years, coaches were embracing what seems obvious now; that there were a lot of athletes who would perform better with more precisely defined workouts and a lot less work. A pre-1980 rower and and post-1980 rower can't be compared because 1) their equipment is totally different and 2) their training style is totally different.
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Old 08-17-08, 04:58 PM   #8
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swimmimg has relay events and speed skating doesn't.
speed skating has relay events.
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Old 08-17-08, 05:53 PM   #9
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good point, he's really not that good.


LOL
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Old 08-17-08, 05:57 PM   #10
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speed skating has relay events.
The relay was debuted at Torino, and it's only one distance, compared to at least 4 for swimming.
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Old 08-17-08, 06:30 PM   #11
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:sigh:

come on people, you cannot compare athletes across sports. It is just not possible! It will never end I tell you, never!
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Old 08-17-08, 06:33 PM   #12
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:sigh:

come on people, you cannot compare athletes across sports. It is just not possible! It will never end I tell you, never!
They started it.

You're right, but Phelps is being called the best athlete in the world. Is it true? Are Olympic gold medals really the way to tell? Or is it just some nicety to focus on right now?
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Old 08-17-08, 06:34 PM   #13
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the media is stupid
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Old 08-17-08, 06:34 PM   #14
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Even Spitz himself tipped his hat to Phelps, for not only outdoing his individual victories, but for inspiring his teammates' performances.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:14 PM   #15
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Any time someone achieves something like this, there's always a discussion about who's the greatest, whose feat was bigger, etc. etc. Different times, different places, often different sports.

Apples and oranges. There's no way to compare them. Appreciate the greatness of all of these achievements and spare the mental ************ of trying to rank them.
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Old 08-17-08, 07:19 PM   #16
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Phelps got five golds PLUS the three he got for relays. Also, I don't think you can compare speedskating to running . . . with running you have the constant pounding. As tiring as speedskating must be, it can't come close to being as tiring as running the same distances. That said, Heiden's feat was very special too.
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Old 08-17-08, 11:04 PM   #17
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Now Phelps has only tied Heiden's record for 5 individual gold medals in one olympics, he hasn't surpassed it.
I'd say he surpassed it. He won 5 individual golds PLUS 3 more as part of a team where his performance was as critical to winning as his individual efforts.

That beats 5 medal efforts in my book.
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Old 08-17-08, 11:25 PM   #18
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Phelps got five golds PLUS the three he got for relays. Also, I don't think you can compare speedskating to running . . . with running you have the constant pounding. As tiring as speedskating must be, it can't come close to being as tiring as running the same distances. That said, Heiden's feat was very special too.
At 100% effort, speedskating is far more painful than running, but not as tiring. Take it from someone who've done both, for the ultimate pain swallowing, speedskating over running any day. For the ultimate body beating, running over anything else.
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Old 08-17-08, 11:49 PM   #19
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Is he really the greatest olympian as measured by gold medals in one olympics?
Man, I'm Australian and even then I think he's good!

Actually he's the worst ever because we're only 2nd in the pool this year.
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Old 08-18-08, 12:05 AM   #20
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The media sucks big balls. They are so obsessed with medal count, and asking if Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, and if he's the greatest athlete ever. A completely meaningless discussion unless you are drunk and can therefore logically argue some sort of equivalency formula to conclude that Phelps' accomplishments are somehow better than Heiden's, or Jordan's or Lance's or Tiger's.

I prefer the more obvious argument , that America produces the most uber superstars (of popular-around-the-world sports) with mind-blowing accomplishments:

Basketball = Michael Jordan
Golf = Tiger Woods
Cycling = Lance Armstrong
Swimming = Michael Phelps

The other superstars are scattered around the globe:

Hockey = Wayne Gretzky (Canada)
Auto racing = Michael Schumacher (Germany)
Football (non-americano) = Pelé (Brazil)
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Old 08-18-08, 12:22 AM   #21
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Cycling = Lance Armstrong
Nope. That title goes to Eddy Merckx.
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Old 08-18-08, 05:58 AM   #22
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The media sucks big balls. They are so obsessed with medal count, and asking if Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever, and if he's the greatest athlete ever. A completely meaningless discussion unless you are drunk and can therefore logically argue some sort of equivalency formula to conclude that Phelps' accomplishments are somehow better than Heiden's, or Jordan's or Lance's or Tiger's.

I prefer the more obvious argument , that America produces the most uber superstars (of popular-around-the-world sports) with mind-blowing accomplishments:

Basketball = Michael Jordan
Golf = Tiger Woods
Cycling = Lance Armstrong
Swimming = Michael Phelps

The other superstars are scattered around the globe:

Hockey = Wayne Gretzky (Canada)
Auto racing = Michael Schumacher (Germany)
Football (non-americano) = Pelé (Brazil)
I get it, lets replace the debate over who's the best athlete (according to olympic measures) with jingoism and nationalism-Amerika uber ales!
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Old 08-18-08, 07:55 AM   #23
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Nope. That title goes to Eddy Merckx.
most palmares
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Old 08-18-08, 08:16 AM   #24
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This argument is usually done over a number of alcoholic beverages, and perpetuated by sportscasters trying to justify their employment.
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Old 08-18-08, 09:50 AM   #25
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I get it, lets replace the debate over who's the best athlete (according to olympic measures) with jingoism and nationalism-Amerika uber ales!
Works for me!

By the way, spelling America with a "k" is really clever. Did you think of that yourself?
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