Michael Phelps, Mr. Swimming, has won everything possible in the sport, and now he’s just sitting back collecting all of the ancillary awards that come with being the Greatest Olympian of All Time.
MensHealth.com has voted Phelps, the best among the best, giving him the top spot on their list of the 100 Fittest Men of All Time.
According to Men’s Health, they started with the simple question: Who is the fittest man of all-time? However simple the wording, it is by no means an easy question to answer. How do you compare a basketball player to a to marathoner, or a cyclist to a football player, or swimmer to a boxer?
Men’s Health decided on a very focused idea: Fitness is all about what you do with the body you’ve built. That made the decision a whole lot easier.
With 22 career Olympic medals won, across a wide range of events requiring speed, strength, and endurance, Michael Phelps is, hands down, the most dominant athlete in his respective sport. Moreover, his speed in the 100 meters butterfly and on the 4×100 relay didn’t come easily. He wasn’t a 20-second, 50 freestyle speed-demon. He had to work at it. Phelps, under Coach Bob Bowman, logged 10 sessions per week, with three weight room sessions, plus core work. Phelps put his time in.
You have to wonder, however, if Phelps would’ve toppped this list outside of an Olympic year. I don’t think so, but I do believe that swimmers, as a whole, are the fittest group of athletes in the world (but I may be a bit biased).
Mark Spitz, the last “greatest swimmer of all-time,” checked in at No. 88 on the list. He may not have won the sheer mass of golds as Phelps did, but at the time his record of 7 was unheard of, and he did it with 7 World Records as well.
Among other aquatic athletes on the list are actor Jason Statham, no. 82, who before starring in such movies as The Transporter was 12th on the platform at the 1992 World Championships diving for Great Britain; Johnny Weissmuller, who won 6 Olympic medals in the 1920′s in both swimming and water polo is no. 74; triathlon World Champion Craig Alexander at no. 58; and four-time Olympic gold medalist diver Greg Louganis at no. 54.
For the reason of the fittest men on the list, see them here: 100 Fittest Men of All-Time!