Greatness in individual sports.

Neutrality

New User
People always talk about the GOAT.

Most of the talk is usually focus on 3 players. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Now the reason why these 3 are in the mix of things is because of how many grand slams they've won throughout their career as well as their performance over the years.

Are there any other individual sports where the measure of a GOAT isn't measured by the number of wins of their sport's top tier tournament?
There might be, and i'm sure there are; I would like to know which ones if any? and why...because it escapes me!!!

Thank you! and in my opinion, all 3 are GOATS!!
 

Alexrb

Semi-Pro
People always talk about the GOAT.

Most of the talk is usually focus on 3 players. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Now the reason why these 3 are in the mix of things is because of how many grand slams they've won throughout their career as well as their performance over the years.

Are there any other individual sports where the measure of a GOAT isn't measured by the number of wins of their sport's top tier tournament?
There might be, and i'm sure there are; I would like to know which ones if any? and why...because it escapes me!!!

Thank you! and in my opinion, all 3 are GOATS!!
Neutrality --> Neutral ---> Switzerland = Federer is GOAT

Or at least that's how I interpreted your wall of text.
 

ibbi

Legend
Boxing? That's more fights won, and who you've beat, than titles won.

All that said, I'm not sure any other individual sport has transformed to quite the degree that tennis has over the years.
 

wangs78

Hall of Fame
A lot of Olympics sports. Track and field, figure skating, gymnastics, swimming where greatness usually is measured by how many gold medals you win and how many repeat wins (in subsequent Olympics 4, 8, 12 years later) you are able to do.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Yup, Senna by consensus considered greater than Schumacher, Fangio, Vettel and Prost.
Also, generally Alonso is still considered greater than Vettel and Hamilton (2 titles vs 4 and 3).

Jim Clark is considered greater than many of those who have won more titles than him.

Heck, there is a pretty big Gilles Villeneuve cult and he won 0. Also, Stirling Moss.
 

JMR

Hall of Fame
Are there any other individual sports where the measure of a GOAT isn't measured by the number of wins of their sport's top tier tournament?
Probably a measurement sport, such as sprinting. In any type of game sport, all you can do is win the game, so the player with the most wins will tend to be regarded as the greatest. Despite many fans' oohing and aahing about aesthetics and such, game sports have no objective criteria for success outside of wins and various methods for compiling wins (e.g., ranking systems).

In measurement sports, on the other hand, objective standards of performance also exist, enabling athletes from different generations to be compared more effectively (though still imperfectly, of course). You can win an Olympic or world championship gold medal, but you can also set a world record. If your record is sufficiently distinguished (duration and extent of margin over previous record), it could lift you to GOAT status even if you don't have the most wins in day-to-day competition.

It just so happens that Bolt is the greatest sprinter ever because he has both the most Olympic wins and very impressive, long-lasting world records. But in other measurement sports, there might be a GOAT who hasn't dominated everything the way Bolt has. You have to identify one in which the world record is taken very seriously, so that an athlete with, say, the world record plus one or two big wins will be deemed greater than a competitor with more big wins but no record.
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
It just so happens that Bolt is the greatest sprinter ever because he has both the most Olympic wins and very impressive, long-lasting world records. But in other measurement sports, there might be a GOAT who hasn't dominated everything the way Bolt has. You have to identify one in which the world record is taken very seriously, so that an athlete with, say, the world record plus one or two big wins will be deemed greater than a competitor with more big wins but no record.
There is a controversy in the 5 and 10k meters over this. Mo Farah has some olympic feats where I believe he stands alone, but he doesn't have nearly the times compared to some of those before him. Most championship races are raced tactically, so they don't usually produce the best times. It raises the question of what the ultimate goal or achievement of a long distance race is: to simply cross the finish line first in big races, or to also be able to cover the distance in as quick a time as possible. Seems to me that most who are into the sport also value times, and put someone like Bekele well ahead Farah.
 

JMR

Hall of Fame
There is a controversy in the 5 and 10k meters over this. Mo Farah has some olympic feats where I believe he stands alone, but he doesn't have nearly the times compared to some of those before him. Most championship races are raced tactically, so they don't usually produce the best times. It raises the question of what the ultimate goal or achievement of a long distance race is: to simply cross the finish line first in big races, or to also be able to cover the distance in as quick a time as possible. Seems to me that most who are into the sport also value times, and put someone like Bekele well ahead Farah.
The longer the race, the less likely that the purely "fastest" runner will win, because the racers have to decide when to reserve and when to expend their resources. That's why sprinting is the most obvious example of the principle I have cited, except that Bolt combines the most wins with the best times, as noted.

Still, we must look at measurement sports to have any hope of finding a GOAT who's not the all-time win leader. Maybe something like pole vaulting? Or gymnastics? (Technically a type of measurement sport, not a game sport, even though the measures are subjectively rather than objectively generated.) For a while, I think that Nadia Comaneci was regarded as the GOAT female gymnast, not really because of her gold medal count, but because of all her perfect 10s (although she does have a lot of golds). How about the triple jump? Jonathan Edwards' world record has stood since 1995. That's probably more impressive than the fact that he won Olympic gold and silver, plus several world championships.
 

Neutrality

New User
Interesting and good posts! I totally forgot about boxing!!! i'm embarrassed to say i'm an avid boxing fan as well lol!!!
 

OKUSA

Hall of Fame
motogp

valentino rossi has the most motogp championships and still competitive at 38. a federer on wheels i must say
 

Dave1982

Professional
Yup, Senna by consensus considered greater than Schumacher, Fangio, Vettel and Prost.
How does F1 concur with point OP was trying to make - Greatness in F1 is absolutely defined by World Titles...as proven by your list of drivers - all multiple world champions. Only caveat is that Senna is typically regarded as being equal to if not better than Schumacher/Fangio who both won more titles than him but as we know, Sennas run of titles was tragically cut short.

The OP asked if there are any individual sports where great isn't measured by wins/championships in the sports top tier tournament.

Ultimately history is written by the winners, to be included in any GOAT conversation you need to have won.
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Interesting and good posts! I totally forgot about boxing!!! i'm embarrassed to say i'm an avid boxing fan as well lol!!!
In boxing, greatness isn't even really defined by how good the boxer is. We consider Money Mayweather to be greater than Lennox Lewis all-time pound-for-pound and just in the general sense, his name will probably be brought up before Lennox. but obviously he'd have never beaten Lennox Lewis and wouldn't beat him today either. In fact, Lennox might murder Floyd in the ring.

Is Floyd any better at boxing than Serena is at tennis?
 

-NN-

G.O.A.T.
Far from an individual sport though... Driver is much smaller part of the team than tennis, boxing, golf, marathon, etc...
Yeah, I was waiting for that response. Of course, it's partly true. It sits in the middle of true individual sports and sports like football and basketball.
 

Sysyphus

Talk Tennis Guru
The longer the race, the less likely that the purely "fastest" runner will win, because the racers have to decide when to reserve and when to expend their resources. That's why sprinting is the most obvious example of the principle I have cited, except that Bolt combines the most wins with the best times, as noted.
I should have been a bit clearer. The above is true of most championship races, where there's often no guarantee that the runner capable of the best time will win the race due to the tactical aspect. However, having a great personal record and breaking various records, especially the major outdoor world records, is a goal in these sports in and of itself, separate from championship races. If someone possesses the capacity to run world record pace, they will try to do this in planned non-championship races with pace-setters. After all, in a sense, the abstract goal of a long-distance sport is to be able to cover that distance as quickly as possible and to move this limit as far as possible. And for this reason the clear consensus is that Bekele is well ahead of Farah even though the latter has one more olympic gold (and because the vast differences in personal records raises a strong era/weak era question). So I think it fits nicely with the principle.

These days I suppose we can extend this principle nicely to the marathon. Whoever becomes the first to break the two-hour barrier will surely rise to higher regard than someone who has won the Berlin or London marathons X amount of times.
 

6august

Hall of Fame
People always talk about the GOAT.

Most of the talk is usually focus on 3 players. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Now the reason why these 3 are in the mix of things is because of how many grand slams they've won throughout their career as well as their performance over the years.

Are there any other individual sports where the measure of a GOAT isn't measured by the number of wins of their sport's top tier tournament?
There might be, and i'm sure there are; I would like to know which ones if any? and why...because it escapes me!!!

Thank you! and in my opinion, all 3 are GOATS!!
Pool? Efren Reyes?
 

JMR

Hall of Fame
These days I suppose we can extend this principle nicely to the marathon. Whoever becomes the first to break the two-hour barrier will surely rise to higher regard than someone who has won the Berlin or London marathons X amount of times.
Actually, I've finally found the perfect champion to illustrate this idea. However, it's an equine GOAT rather than a human one. Yes, the sport is horse racing. Secretariat is widely (perhaps not universally) considered the greatest U.S. thoroughbred horse ever. This is not primarily because he won the Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby + Preakness Stakes + Belmont Stakes), since 11 other horses have done that as well. Moreover, unlike Seattle Slew, Secretariat was not undefeated when he won the Triple Crown. And unlike some olde-tyme horses, Secretariat did not have an illustrious racing career after his three-year-old season. Secretariat's claim to GOATness lies in the fact that even after 44 years, he still holds the speed records in all three Triple Crown races! In particular, Secretariat's freakishly fast time in the Belmont Stakes is still the fastest 1.5 miles ever run on a dirt track, anywhere in the country. That victory was one of single most dominant performances by a competitor in the 20th century.
 
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People always talk about the GOAT.

Most of the talk is usually focus on 3 players. Federer, Nadal and Djokovic.

Now the reason why these 3 are in the mix of things is because of how many grand slams they've won throughout their career as well as their performance over the years.

Are there any other individual sports where the measure of a GOAT isn't measured by the number of wins of their sport's top tier tournament?
There might be, and i'm sure there are; I would like to know which ones if any? and why...because it escapes me!!!

Thank you! and in my opinion, all 3 are GOATS!!
In many individual sports there are no different categories of tournaments.

Also, GOAT is a flawed concept, but if there is such a thing neither Nadal, nor Djokovic have a claim on it.

See? That is the beautiful part of being able to tell your opinion like that.

:cool:
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
How does F1 concur with point OP was trying to make - Greatness in F1 is absolutely defined by World Titles...as proven by your list of drivers - all multiple world champions. Only caveat is that Senna is typically regarded as being equal to if not better than Schumacher/Fangio who both won more titles than him but as we know, Sennas run of titles was tragically cut short.

The OP asked if there are any individual sports where great isn't measured by wins/championships in the sports top tier tournament.

Ultimately history is written by the winners, to be included in any GOAT conversation you need to have won.
The point was that we don't just look at the number of championships won to determine who is the greatest F1 driver.
 

Dave1982

Professional
The point was that we don't just look at the number of championships won to determine who is the greatest F1 driver.
Yeah but barring a guy dying prematurely we pretty much do...

Like I said earlier (although obviously a quote from someone way smarter than me), history is written by the winners.
 
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Stephen Hendry in Snooker-38 ranking titles-record, 36 non ranking titles-2nd, 7 world titles-record, 5 UK titles-joint 2nd, 6 masters titles-2nd.
 

Nadalgaenger

G.O.A.T.
Boxing? That's more fights won, and who you've beat, than titles won.

All that said, I'm not sure any other individual sport has transformed to quite the degree that tennis has over the years.
I don't know. Look at track and field times from 100 years ago and compare them to the current era. American football is another powerful example.
 

Phoenix1983

G.O.A.T.
Yeah but barring a guy dying prematurely we pretty much do...
Stirling Moss (0 titles) has often been ranked above Nelson Piquet (3 titles) in lists of F1 greats.

Most people consider Alonso (2 titles) and Hamilton (3 titles) to be greater than Vettel (4 titles).

Jim Clark (2 titles) is usually ranked in the all-time top 5.

etc. etc.

:cool:
 

Dave1982

Professional
Stirling Moss (0 titles) has often been ranked above Nelson Piquet (3 titles) in lists of F1 greats.

Most people consider Alonso (2 titles) and Hamilton (3 titles) to be greater than Vettel (4 titles).

Jim Clark (2 titles) is usually ranked in the all-time top 5.

etc. etc.

:cool:
See your point but none of those drivers you mentioned are really in the GOAT conversation - they are more akin to Murray, most consider him equal to players with perhaps 5 - 8 Slams, but certainly not in GOAT conversation.
 
Are drivers considered an individual sport though?

Without a team of highly trained professionals helping you (pit crew, radio guy, etc) the race cannot be won. Its not a team sport like football or basketball but its much more of a team sport than tennis, golf, boxing for example.
 
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