Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete of All-Time

  38 Gold Medal Mel Stewart | August 04th, 2012 | International, London 2012 Olympics, News

Michael Phelps won his 18th Olympic gold medal in the men’s 4×100 medley relay, bringing his career-haul to 22 Olympic medals overall. 18 gold medals more than doubles gymnasts Larisa Latynina’s career performance.

Is Michael Phelps the greatest athlete of all-time?

Sports analysis can do the math however they choose. Yes, Carl Lewis dominated track and field for a dozen years, and speed-skater Eric Heiden went five for five at the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, and Jesse Owens prevailed in-front Hilter at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Germany…but their achievements, by  the numbers, do not compare.

Phelps deserves a seat beside the greatest sports icons of last 100 years: Babe Ruth, Jack Nicklaus, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali.

Sadly, Phelps could add more to tally. He’s 27. Swimmers have won medals into late their 30s and early 40s, like Jason Lezak and Dara Torres. Phelps has at least three to four more medals in him. He could certainly medal at the 2016 Olympics in the 100 butterfly, 200 IM, and the 4×100 medley relay.

Phelps put a big exclamation point on his career today, and if you judge an athlete’s greatness by their dominance in their sport, then Michael Phelps is the greatest athlete that has ever lived.

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38 Comments on "Is Michael Phelps the Greatest Athlete of All-Time"

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Maybe not the greatest athlete of all-time but he is by far the greatest swimmer and Olympian to ever set foot on the planet. Hard to compare all sports with each other seeing as the all have a greatest and they are all so different. And hand eye coordination is not the only thing that determines a great athlete. Usaine Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Jordan Burrows are three of the greatest athletes there have ever been and they do not require hand eye coordination. Hard work, dedication, and physical ability make you a great athlete

That is a tough question. Who is the greatest athlete ever? IMO it cannot be a pre integration baseball player. ruth was a beast but baseball was purely american back then and it was also not allowing african americans to participate, so Ruth is out. Ali is great too but then again boxing was not really integrated back then since the boxers of communist countries who have dominated the amateurs for years were not allowed to compete (especially teofilo stevenson). so boxing was also purely american which rules Ali out (as great as he was). Jordan is an interesting case but still at this time basketball was not really integrated. it was an american thing then and a single nation… Read more »

Greatest athlete ever should be able to dominate in different sports, not just one sport with different events. Seeing Carl Lewis throw a baseball ruined the idea for me that he was greatest athlete ever. List should be from Jim Thorpe, Bo Jackson and Jim Brown.


About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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