Let's look at Phelps' Olympic performance

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by TonyB, Aug 17, 2008.

  1. TonyB

    TonyB Hall of Fame

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    Just for fun, let's look at his accomplishment and put it in perspective:

    Out of 8 events:

    3 team events
    2 individual medley events
    3 individual multiple-distance events


    In other words, he was really only 25% responsible for winning the 3 team events and he gained 2 medals in one single "event" (200m and 100m butterfly), leaving only 3 other medals that he won impressively (2 IMs and 1 freestyle).

    I would argue that his individual medley events were the most impressive, but the team events were heavily dependent on other people (Lezak's "HOLY CRAP" performance comes to mind) and the 2 butterfly medals sort of go hand-in-hand. Chances are, if you can win the 200m, you can win the 100m... it's not much of a stretch. Let's remember that Lezak's 46.06 in his leg of the 4x100m relay absolutely blew Phelps' 47.51 "American record" out of the water, so Phelps is arguably not even the best American freestyle swimmer at that distance, regardless of whether or not he won the gold in that event at 200m. Not to mention the "touched by God" finish in the second-last race (100m butterfly) where he won by 0.01 seconds after a tactical error by Cavic.

    So yes, while he's now the "greatest olympian ever" based on individual golds and medal count in general, it somehow doesn't seem quite as impressive as individual track and field performances of past years, for example. Yes, he's a tremendous swimmer at a couple of strokes, but to me, someone who can run, jump, and throw, etc. is more impressive to me than someone who can swim multiple distances well and who relies on 3 other teammates to win 3 other medals for him.

    Ok, I'm ready for the flames...
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
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  2. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Why can't we celebrate his achievement instead of trying to find ways to drag it down?

    Some people just can't be happy for others.

    Do you think the relays would have won those medals without him? I don't think so. I don't think they would have without any of the four guys.

    I wonder, if Phelps wasn't an American, if there would be so many people saying they don't like him or don't think what he did was all that great.

    And, if we didn't count the team medleys...what, is FIVE gold medals not enough to impress you? :roll:
     
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  3. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    So (in your opinion) which Olympic athletes are more impressive than Phelps and why are they more impressive.

    Be very specific.
     
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  4. power_play21

    power_play21 Semi-Pro

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    phelps definately won those medleys for the US. every time he put the US ahead and gave the other swimmers a big safety margin. without him, we wouldnt have won those medleys.
     
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  5. lovecr717

    lovecr717 Rookie

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    QUOTED FOR THE ****ING TRUTH
     
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  6. SempreSami

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    Phelps was incredible, but I liked the entertainment provided by Bolt moar.
     
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  7. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Phelps was not supposed to Win the 100m butterfly, nor were the americans supposed to win the 4x100 freestyle medley.

    Yes Lezak was remarkable on the last leg of the relay, and Cavic was abount an inch short of winning the fly.

    But to say that the 100m and 200m are the same thing is coming from someone who does not have a clue. Phelps is not a sprinter as evidenced to why he never leads after the first turn but comes on strong and the end. Bottom line if it was so easy everyone would do it, and not just 1 other dude in 72 (Spitz).

    And if by run, jump ,and throw you are refeering to decathalon, then those competetors are not the best at the individual events, where phelps broke 5 individual world record in the games, and an olympic record in the 100m fly.
     
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  8. chess9

    chess9 Hall of Fame

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    Tony:

    If his achievements weren't spectacular, why hasn't anyone else done them? Spitz is the only exception, and he would have gotten the 8th if the 400 IM had been an event in '72.

    If you had been a swimmer when you were younger, your point of view would be different.

    -Robert
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
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  9. TonyB

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    All I'm saying is that swimming is a unique case where you DO have the opportunity to rack up a huge number of medals. You're making my point for me by bringing up Spitz. Notice that he was the previous record-holder. And now another swimmer one-ups him.

    Try racking up 14 medals in table tennis. Badminton? Or how about basically ANY other sport? Maybe track, but that's become so specialized now that it's difficult to really compete in that many events. People like Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens are good examples of great all-around athletes, as well as Jim Thorpe. I would rank them higher overall than Phelps in terms of Olympic ability, even though they have fewer medals. Even some of the women track and field stars rank up there as well.
     
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  10. TonyB

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    Sorry, but I just don't buy that argument. Look at Usain Bolt. He would have clobbered everyone at 200m (and probably 400m, too!) the way he was running that 100m race. And don't be so arrogant to think that nobody else besides you understands the difference between sprinters and endurance races. Besides, 100m and 200m aren't THAT different. It's not like the difference between 50m and 400m, where I might buy your argument.

    Refresh my memory: when did I ever say 100m and 200m were the same thing? I said chances are that you can likely win the 100m if you're strong in the 200m.

    Jeez, why not have a 150m race and hand out another medal?

    And if you folks think I'm somehow trying to "bring Phelps down" you must be joking, really. Beyond the few-dozen people here reading these posts, the rest of the world could care less about what I've written. It's all just for fun, as I stated in my opening post.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
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  11. Fee

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    it's RELAY not medley, although there is a 'medley relay' comprising the four individual strokes (that was the event yesterday).

    Anyway, if Phelps winning relay events with his team was not impressive, then Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, and Mark Spitz were not impressive either. Lewis and Owens were runners who did one jumping event, they were not Decathaletes competing in 10 events, so by your argument they have to be taken off the list too.
     
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  12. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Wrong. Swimming is specialized as well. Most swimmers specialize in one stroke, and have maybe one other stroke that they are good at. So that makes two events that they have a chance to medal in, plus possibly a relay, which makes three medals. Phelps won 8 because he is an incredible swimmer. The fact that only Spitz has come close to him since 1972 demonstrates that most swimmers are only capable of winning a medal in one or two events, plus the relays.


    How and why do they have higher athletic ability than Phelps? They specialized in one sport, track. They medaled in the sprints, which means they specialized in only certain track events. And before you bring up the long jump, it's a well known fact that top sprinters also typically do well in that event.

    So far you haven't been able to provide a reasonable argument as to why Phelps shouldn't be regarded as the greatest Olympian of all time.
     
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  13. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Possible, but not likely. How many people have won both events over the past 30 years or so? Take a look at the Olympics and the world championships.

    Let us know what you find out.
     
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  14. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    So lets say Bolt wins the 200m and breaks the WR as Michael Johnson has said he plans on happening, and then Bolts team wins the 4x100 realy. That would essentially be the same as Phelps winning the 100m, 200m freestyle and 4x100 free relay. So bolt would have to win 110m hurdles 400m to get 2 five medals. he would still be 3 away from matching Phelps.

    Nobody swims as many different events as phelps, everything more specialized. no phelps would naot have beat Kitajima in the breast stroke or Piersol in the back. Nor would he win any of the 50m events, but to say he only won 3 medals impressivly is very ignorant on your part.

    Also i read this as you saying the events were the same

    Carl Lewis was the man, but Phelps is on a whole nother level.
     
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  15. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Phelps is the Greatest Swimmer of All Time!!!! Beyond that, you can't really say much, since the fact that swimming offers ten zillion medals and other sports only offer one is like apples and oranges, you can not equate number of medals across sports.
     
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  16. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Actually there are other sports that offer multiple chances to medal.

    For instance lets use skiing in the Winter Olympics. Just off the top of my head I can think of the following -

    Downhill

    Ski Jump

    Slalom

    Moguls

    Super Downhill or Super G? (I'm not a skier)

    Cross Country (I think there are at least two events)
     
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  17. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Swimming does have alot of events true, but it has to because of all the different forms. But so does gymnastics, Vitaly Scherbo won 4 golds in one day on way to 6 indv golds in 92. You have to judge these guys on how they dominate the comp. Phelps has dominated the comp for 2 Olympics and 14 gold medals. Thats an athletic achievement unmatched (Spitz would have but they didnt do 4x100 medley) so when talking about dominating athletes Phelps has earned his way into that discussion. And rightfully so
     
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  18. LuckyR

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    I can tell you're not a skier. Can you name one athlete who has even made the team in CC, downhill and moguls, let alone medal?
     
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  19. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Sure, he's in the discussion, how could he not be? But it is simpleminded to just count to 8 and spout gibberish like: "greatest athlete at any discipline of all time!" Swimming doesn't need to defend itself because it has so many events, that's just the nature of the activity. In fact one could make the reverse argument (which I don't personally believe in) that an activity that gives one medal has a dominant champ and one that shares the glory among many medalists has a group of individual specialists.
     
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  20. Swissv2

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    The OP must really hate this Phelps guy AND has absolutely no idea what it takes to win at swimming.

    Way to troll.
     
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  21. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    But thats what people do is spout out GOAT to everything they see. Jeter makes one ridicoulusly good play and hits one HR and then hes Mr November and the GOAT in the clutch. Even though overall in those situations hes no better than any other good player. Fed was the GOAT now if Nadal can pull off the US open (lookin more likely every week) then when do they start callin him the GOAT.

    Thats true, nobody looks at Kitajima who won the 100m breast stroke and 200m breast stroke 2 Olympics in a row as being the GOAT of Swimming. And why doesn't Phelps compete in the breast stroke or Backstroke or 50m free or 100m free. So how exactly do you compare Phelps Dominance in his sport to Wrestler Alexander Karelin whos was eseetially a slipped hand away from winning 4 consecutive gold medals.
     
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  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    True, it makes you wonder. I mean if one guy can win the 100m Fly and the 200m Fly, maybe they aren't all that different. Maybe they should eliminate one of them, otherwise why not have a 150m and 175m and 190m fly. Heck a guy could win 20 golds for essentially being good at one thing.
     
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  23. JohnnySpot

    JohnnySpot New User

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    Are you F*king kidding me. Are you SERIOUSLY F*cking kidding me.



    Over the past 8 days alone, Phelps had to swim 17 f*cking events. 17. Hoss swam more events, and what did that give her? Burnout due to swimming too many events, and a quote from her stating that she shouldn't have made her "schedule so hectic, and will not do so next time".



    This is not about Phelps winning a single F*cking gold medal - this is about him passing an olympic record that has stood for 30+ years.

    NO ONE IN HISTORY HAS BEEN F*CKING ABLE TO DO THIS SH*T UNTIL NOW, YOU DIPSH*T



    Go get a F*cking clue, you idiot.
     
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  24. TonyB

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    I'm with you on that one.

    Good call.
     
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  25. TonyB

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    Again, that's what I said. If they had a 150m fly in addition to the 100m and 200m, Phelps would probably have 3 medals right there.


    Let's give out gold medals for tennis players winning 1 set, and another for 2 sets, and another for 3 sets, etc. Using the same argument as swimming, the tennis player who won 3 sets would win the "endurance" event, right? It would be different than playing 1 set because that would be a "sprint."
     
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  26. TonyB

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    Dude, you gotta lay off the meth. Seriously.
     
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  27. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    So if a guy in the NCAA wins the team, doubles, and singles championships, somebody needs to point out that only the singles title is truly impressive? How about Michael Jordan? Was he overrated? Pretty sure he couldn't have won any games let alone championships if it were one on five.
     
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  28. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Maybe because I said I wasn't in my post?



    No, I cannot. Nor do I care to look up who has and has not won multiple skiing medals at the Olympics. I'm sure someone has won multiple medals at some point.

    You obviously missed the point of my post. Swimming is not the only Olympic sport to offer a chance at winning multiple medals. I used skiing as one example. And yes, it's absurd to think someone could medal in all of those skiing events. It's also absurd to think that someone could completely dominate an Olympic event the way that Phelps did.......yet he did it. Only one other person has come close in 30+ years, so it's obviously a significant achievement.
     
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  29. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    How do you compare them? Why would you bother?

    Phelps = more Olympic gold medals at a single Olympic games than anyone else

    Karelin = great wrestler who failed to win 4 golds in a row

    When it was all on the line, Phelps came through. Karelin did not.
     
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  30. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Brilliant logic.
     
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  31. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Yeah, and it's not like they changed the rules this year, despite all the things cited to marginalize his accomplishment, none of the swimmers of the past or present were able to capitalize on the fact "it's all the same thing but different distances."
     
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  32. formerblakefan

    formerblakefan Rookie

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    You know, I read somewhere else that we should give the track sprinters not only a 100m, but a backwards running 100m, a side-stepping 100m, hop-on-1-foot 100m, etc... just so people could win multiple medals...

    i think i agree...the more medals, the better
     
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  33. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    The kareoke 100m :)
     
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  34. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Johnny Spot,

    You have failed miserably to actually read my earlier posts where I state Phelps is one of the most dominate. He has done what no other has done. regardless if the 100 and 200 are the same thing (which they are not).

    How do you compare what Phelps did to what Karelin did. karelin went 6 years without losing a single point, and undefeated for 13 years. He won gold in 3 straight Olympics and silver in the fourth. How can you not say he is one of the most Dominate Athletes in Olympic History. Much like Carl lewis in the Long Jump (4 in a row) where no man has yet to defend their gold. Phelps is a beast, but you cannot just look at Medal count as the sole sign of greatness
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2008
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  35. ShooterMcMarco

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  36. AndrewD

    AndrewD Legend

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    If anyone other than an American had broken Spitz' record there'd have been a damn sight more people trying to make it seem less impressive.
     
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  37. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Hollywood......lets not get all hysterical.

    Karelin was a great Olympic wrestler. And if I recall correctly, he was viewed as unbeatable going into his 4th Olympics. But, and you have to agree here, he didn't take home that 4th gold medal and secure his legacy....still he's probably the most dominant Olympic wrestler to ever step onto the mat.

    Carl Lewis put on an incredible performance over 4 Olympics. No one can take anything away from him, he goes down as one of the greatest Olympians of all time.

    But why try to take away from what Phelps did? The guy just won more gold medals than anyone has EVER won at a single Olympic games. And it's ridiculous to say the 100M is practically the same as the 200M and therefore doesn't "count" as much. How many other Olympic swimmers are able to win gold in both of those races (let alone the other 6 he won gold in)?

    So, is Phelps the greatest overall Olympian of all time? That can be put up for debate. That he won more gold medals than anyone else at a single Olympic games than anyone else is not up for debate.
     
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  38. ewmetz

    ewmetz New User

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    I just read an article on yahoo.com by one of their bloggers saying that of the 20 men who have the most medals, only 3 of them are swimmers. That doesn't help anybody's arguement that says swimmers have more a chance to rack up medals. If anything, it seems swimmers have a more longevity than other types of athletes. Lezack, I believe, is 32; silver medalist Dara Torres is 41. The chance for swimmers to rack up medals is there but just doesn't happen due to swimmers specializing in certain strokes. Phelps excels not only in the freestyle and butterfly but can hold his own in the back and breast strokes. His accomplishments are truely remarkable and he will stand as the greatest Olympian for a long, long time.
     
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  39. lilminihorse

    lilminihorse Rookie

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    Track and Field:

    100 meters
    200
    400
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    3000
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    marathon
    that funny walking thing

    Hurdles
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    High Jump
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    tons of areas for folks to win 8 medals but they haven't. bottom line!
     
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  40. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    There are a couple of relays mixed in there as well.
     
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  41. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    Im not trying to discount what Phelps did, he is the man he has all the gold.

    But what people are doing here is looking solely at medal count and proclaiming Phelps as the G.Olympian.O.A.T.

    Its imposssible to compare througout different sports and events within those sports. What Phelps did was dominate his competition like few in any Olympic sport has done. but others have dominated there disciplines and should not be forgotten or not thrown to the side because one guy wins multiple medals.

    How does Phelps performance rank against Eric Heidens 1980 Winter games, where Heiden won every single speed skating event held? Heiden won 5 gold medals at 500m, 1000m, 1500m, 5000m, and 10000m. Heiden broke 4 Olympic records and 1 World Record.
     
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  42. ThA_Azn_DeViL

    ThA_Azn_DeViL Semi-Pro

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    Okay guys, ill try not to flame the Phelp haters too much, But anyways, first of all ask yourself, could you even do what he could do in the first place? no, now, ask yourself, if you were to run 50 meters compared to 100 meters, would you run at a different pace? if that is a no, then your just a slow/lazy idiot... they set different distances for a reason, and team competition makes it all the harder because it puts pressure on you. Imagine playing doubles and its a tiebreaker between you and your partner vs. France, would you be happy if you won?
     
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  43. latinking

    latinking Professional

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    Yes but a sprinter, a middle distance runner and a long distance runner all have different body types. Other than you run in all of them, they are completely different events. It would be impossible for someone to do all of those events. Its scientifically impossible.

    Unlike swimming where a great swimmer can atleast compete in many different events, because they are all basically built the same. I know it has different strokes but its not as different as all the running events.



    Haveing siad that it is amazing what Phelps has done.
     
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  44. Ignorant Genius

    Ignorant Genius Banned

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    Heiden's acheivements are outstanding. No doubt about it. The achievements of Phelps are also outstanding.

    The difference?

    Phelps won more gold medals at a single Olympics than anyone else. You can't argue about that.

    You can argue over who the "greatest Olympian of all time" is, but you can't argue with the medal count.
     
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  45. mcenroefan

    mcenroefan Hall of Fame

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    Greatest single event performance at the games.....Usain Bolt, bar none.

    My subjective preference is for Bolt....the title of "World's Fastest Man" has always been uber special just like the World Heavyweight Champion has, at least in the past, been revered. Well, Bolt is the world's fastest man, but beyond that, he may prove to be the greatest sprinter in history. That performance was absolutely electrifying.....reminded me a bit of Secretariat's Belmont.

    Phelps' accomplishment is also very special (albeit a bit heavily promoted) although I would wager that in the next ten years, all of his world records will fall. By contrast, I think Bolt will set world records that willl stand for the next 20 years or more. We'll see.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2008
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