Michael Phelps #9 on ESPN’s List of Top Athletes From Last 20 Years

The sport of swimming is enjoying a moment in the mainstream spotlight, as Michael Phelps is highlighted among ESPN.com’s Top Athletes from 1995 to 2015.

As part of its 20th anniversary week, ESPN has ranked in order the athletes the sports news outlet determined as “the best of the best”, and whose careers either existed or their defining achievements took place within the last 20 years.  Names such as Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Mia Hamm are on the list.

Sandwiched between #10 Derek Jeter and #8 Kobe Bryant is the greatest Olympian of all time, Michael Phelps, as the 9th-ranked top athlete since 1995.  The list specifically points to Phelps’ enormous success at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where the icon earned an astounding eight gold medals, the most in Olympic history, resulting in a career total of 22 Olympic medals in all.

The full list:

#20 – Sidney Crosby, hockey
#19 – Barry Bonds, baseball
#18 – Mia Hamm, soccer
#17 – Floyd Mayweather, Jr., boxing
#16 – Usain Bolt, athletics
#15 – Brett Favre, football
#14 – Tim Duncan, basketball
#13 – Lance Armstrong, cycling
#12 – Lionel Messi, soccer
#11 – Shaquille O’Neal, basketball
#10 – Derek Jeter, baseball
#9 – MICHAEL PHELPS, swimming
#8 – Kobe Bryant, basketball
#7 – Peyton Manning, football
#6 – Serena Williams, tennis
#5 – Roger Federer, tennis
#4 – Tom Brady, football
#3 – Tiger Woods, golf
#2 – LeBron James, basketball
#1 – Michael Jordan, basketball

 

 

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How did Lance Armstrong and Barry Bonds make the list? Apparently doping is okay by ESPN’s standards? Might as well throw Park Tae Hwan and Yulia Efimova in there too…

mcmflyguy

cant argue with you too much on the doping of lance, but barry bonds, hitting that many home runs does take skill too not just power. plus it was over his whole career so there were quite a few before he started to dope. but ya kinda shameful. personally i’d have left them off because i’d have added different people

jman

using that argument the massive amount of training Lance did counts also in addition to the grueling Tour’s (3 weeks) take something beyond just PED’s. And everyone in cycling was on something back then. I would take him off the list though simply because he is a despicable human being.

mcmflyguy

nah, see his PED use enhanced his training and his performance. Bonds, swinging a bat to hit a 95 mph fast ball takes more hand eye coordination and skill than riding a bike. If bonds took some type of PED that enhanced his vision and stick ball skill let me know, other wise his PED was for strength.

jman

enhanced power (bat speed and force when meeting the ball). for cycling PED would potentially enhance power and recovery time. But none of that would be beneficial if he didn’t have great lungs, heart, muscles, training philosophy, etc. to begin with

mcmflyguy

Lances PEDs helped enhance his body. IE, lungs, heart, muscles. and they helped him in the way that his body would recover faster, produce less lactate and have a better oxygen circulation. He did many things, one was blood doping, where they take red blood cells from your blood, hold on to them, and then insert them back into your body when you need to get more oxygen to muscles. Look man, i’m not saying Bonds didn’t do it, I’m saying Bonds hit many home runs before doping, and then after doping it only helped his strength not his coordination. Lances doping was the worst any athlete can do.

junker23

Probably because they’re really good.

Armstrong and Bonds are absolutely not the only “dopers” on that list.

Caitlin Garrison

And you get your information where?

Caitlin Garrison

Yeah I kind of choked myself when I saw that. Armstrong not only cheated, he destroyed people’s lives covering it up. A true sociopath.

PD

Really? Below messi but above Lebron?

mcmflyguy

reverse that, below LeBron and above messi.

What a joke

This is a very very silly ranking catering shamelessly to American sports fans. LeBron has achieved the highest honor in his sport (MVPs, NBA Titles) significantly fewer times than Rodger Federer or MP

junker23

American sports rarely give out an MVP award to the same guy all the time. They literally get bored of the same person always winning it, even if it’s deserved.

completelyconquered

I’m going to argue this just because it’s fun to argue about sports. You are comparing the most skilled, most athletic, most competitive sport versus two sports that are not even close to being equal in comparison.

Contrarian

This is a silly argument. Swimming gives you substantially more chances to win the highest honor than other sports. Swimming also has almost no luck involved, so if you are the best athlete you will almost always win, while true team sports involve a much higher degree of luck, making it much more difficult for someone like LeBron to win every year.

About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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