Manuel Joins Dressel and Ledecky on Sports Illustrated’s Annual “Most Fit” List

by Robert Gibbs 17

February 12th, 2020 Lifestyle, News

Athletes, from middle schoolers to professionals, love comparing which sport is “toughest” or which sports’ athletes are in “the best shape.” While each sport’s requirements make it difficult to truly objectively measure these sort of categories, it doesn’t mean  anyone stops trying, and every year Sports Illustrated puts out a “most fit” list of professional athletes, ranking 25 men and 25 women using the criteria below.

Sports Illustrated…ranked the best-conditioned male and female athletes in the world, consulting trainers, exercise physiologists and performance experts with experience across the college, pro and Olympic levels of sports to evaluate athletes on the following criteria: performances over the last 12 months; demands and risks of their respective sports; durability; training regimens and other physical benchmarks including power, speed, strength, agility, endurance, flexibility and more.

This year, four aquatics athletes — three swimmers and a water polo player — made the list, with three of those four athletes returning from last year’s list.

Coming it #21 on the women’s is Team USA water polo player Maggie Steffens, who was also ranked 21st last year. The article references her “full-body, underwater training moves” and “intense lifts in the gym.”

Olympic gold medalist Simone Manuel makes her debut on this list at #19, with her former Stanford teammate and freestyle legend Katie Ledecky taking 5th on the list. The article mentions both swimmers’ gold medal performances, as well as their dedication to the sport that requires up to 10 swim practices a week, plus drylands.

The only male on the list is 100 fly world record holder Caeleb Dressel, who SI put at #10 among men, describing his two-a-days in the pool, as well as “weightlifting sessions in the gym to add strength to his 6’3″, 190-pound frame and build on his explosive power off the blocks.” No mention of Dressel’s vertical, though, which at one point was rumored to be the best out of all of the University of Florida’s athletes.

SI’s top-rated female athlete is American gymnast Simone Biles, while it’s top-rated male athlete is NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

It’s worth noting that while the article does claim to try to rank the most fit athletes in the world, it is weighted toward American athletes, and there’s no mention of international swimmers, although we’re quite sure our readers have plenty of their own ideas about which other swimmers could’ve been included on the list.

You can check out the whole article here.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
M d e
8 months ago

Any list like this is a bit of fun, but ultimately pointless.

Comparing across sports is impossible.

cynthia curran
Reply to  M d e
8 months ago

It gives them publicity for more swim suit contracts and so forth. I bet Caleb Dressel could do a good standing long jump, since he can jump so high. Going forward in a standing long jump, he could do that as well.

Reply to  cynthia curran
8 months ago

Anyone on this list has plenty enough publicity for a suit contract… considering they all already do. If anything, the fact that they are on this list has drawn more publicity to the existence of the list, which, up until now, I doubt many people have heard of

Mr Piano
8 months ago

Thumbnail is memeworthy

Reply to  Mr Piano
8 months ago

Papa Dressel transforming to his true form, ascending to the god realm

8 months ago

But…. have they seen Katinka Hosszu’s arms?!

Reply to  COVFEFE
8 months ago

….and her willingness and ability to compete at a high level in multiple events in same session Never ceases to amaze me.