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Lance, Worlds Greatest athlete ?(36 posts)

Lance, Worlds Greatest athlete ?Len J
Jul 29, 2002 9:01 AM
The post below on Skip Bayliss's article about Lance ( Got me thinking about who is the worlds greatest athlete today.

I think if you start with the Most dominating in each sport & then compares them you at least have some basis.

- Cycling -Lance
- Golf -Tiger
- Basketball -Shaq or Kobe
- Baseball -Ichiro or Bonds or Shilling
- Football -Marshall Faulk
- Track -Khannouchi
- Tennis -Venus or Serena
- Race Car Driving -Shumacher

Now some could argue these choices & some could say that the # 2 in any sport is better than the #1 in another sport (& yea, I know that some don't think golf is a sport but it sure is the way Tiger plays it) but looking at this list, I would have to put Lance Third or fourth in the world. It's great company to be in but looking at the competition, I couldn't put him ahead of either Tiger or Schumacker.

What do you think?

F1 vs basketball? Apples vs. Oranges? Pointless discussion? nmtz
Jul 29, 2002 9:09 AM
Jul 29, 2002 9:09 AM
Golf is NOT a sport. It is a skill. (BTW, neither darts, billiards, nor pick-up sticks qualify as sports, either.)

Now race car driving, I have to agree with that one. In fact, I think I'm gonna start driving to work every day so that I can really get in some quality workouts. I can simulate arobic activity by chain smoking. I'll bring a 6 pack so I can reload on carbs for the tough climb up I-8. Then, when I get home, I'll play with my kid's remote control car. (sort of like a trainer.) If my stamina doesn't improve, maybe I could start using 'rollers;' I'll borrow the neighbor's hydraulic lift and jack the rear wheels of the ground. Should be able to get in quite a few miles that way.
Well I guess.......Len J
Jul 29, 2002 9:21 AM
if you say golf isn't a sport, then it must be so!

and if you don't believe that high speed driving for extended periods isn't a sport, who am I (and the rest of the world to disagree)?


sport Pronunciation Key (spôrt, sprt)

Physical activity that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often engaged in competitively.
A particular form of this activity.
An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
An active pastime; recreation.

Mockery; jest: He made sport of his own looks.
An object of mockery, jest, or play: treated our interests as sport.
A joking mood or attitude: She made the remark in sport.

One known for the manner of one's acceptance of rules, especially of a game, or of a difficult situation: a poor sport.
Informal. One who accepts rules or difficult situations well.
Informal. A pleasant companion: was a real sport during the trip.
A person who lives a jolly, extravagant life.
A gambler at sporting events.

I guess I'll have to check with you before I make such outlandish comments (like calling gilf a sport).

LOL You really need to share your knowledge with the rest of the world so we can get it right.

More on golf...KEN2
Jul 29, 2002 9:31 AM
Most of us (including two different parts of your quoted dictionary definition) understand a sport to involve athletic activity/exertion.
I submit: any activity in which you stroll around in dress pants and still don't even break a sweat is NOT a sport! A game of skill, maybe.
Try playing.......Len J
Jul 29, 2002 9:38 AM
36 holes in 95 degree heat in competition on a hilly course and come back and make that argument.

Again, just because it is your oponion (or mine) does not make it so.

Try playing.......MarvinK
Jul 30, 2002 3:30 PM
Does this make lawn mowing a sport? I sweat more mowing my lawn that playing golf---and we have a very hill course and toasty summers.

...and as far as it being a competition, I'm pretty sure my neighbor thinks it is. In any case, he's definitely winning!
Jul 30, 2002 5:39 PM
So what's the part that makes golf so darn hard - is it the heat, the hills, or the walking? If you take any of these away does it change things? If it's cool, you only play 18 and use a cart does it just become an activity? Does anyone keep time on how fast you walk? What's the world's record? Why are there caddy's? How can a kid not even finish college and dominate the entire show right away? How can an overweight older guy past his "prime" still be competitive? Why isn't it in the Olympics? What kind of weight and cross training is good for golfing? What's the perfect cocktail while in training?

The thing about golf is that it has huge market appeal to the aging boomer population that doesn't like to think of themselves as getting older. That they can get saps to watch it on TV on a perfectly nice day and sell advertising time is totally amazing.

Might as well watch paint dry (for 36 holes in 95 degree heat in competition on a hilly course).
Obviously, you've never spent any .....Len J
Jul 30, 2002 7:06 PM
time with the sport. I've played many sports and it is by far the hardest to consistantly do well in.

Try it, it's addicting.

Well actually Len, "gilf" isn't a sport either...Ahimsa
Jul 29, 2002 9:37 AM least not as far as I can tell. I looked up "gilf" on few search engines and can't find a bloody thing. Is this a regional sport?

Morrison is right IMO. Golf and billiards have more in common as games of skill.

Perhaps the problem is the broad defintition of "sport".

Fishing is considered sport.

So is following dogs around on horseback in pursuit of foxes.

Maybe we need to classify sports into more specialized groupings and allow some to be a bit overlapping.

1)"Physical exertion sports"

ie: cycling, running, swimming, football (soccer), rugby, basketball, tennis, hockey, weight lifting, boxing

2)Pure skill sports

ie: billiards, golf, archery, motorsports, lumberjack challenges, pinball, foosball, darts, curling, bocce, shuffleboard

3)"Classical sporting activities that are really not sports at all but somehow get lumped into sports due to a too broad definition"

ie: fishing, hunting quail, cock fighting, horesback riding in general, etc.

Of course some sports will cross boundaries, for example:

Baseball is both pure skill and physical exertion.........and god awful boring besides.

This is silly.

So am I.

LOL gilf nmLen J
Jul 29, 2002 9:40 AM
Cock fighting? I imagine that could be quite . .morrison
Jul 29, 2002 9:40 AM
athletic, quite painful, and (in some states) quite illegal.
Jul 29, 2002 9:44 AM seems to be quite common and legal.

...but, only in certain "arenas" apparently.

I prefer fishing or diving myself.


It's only humane if you eat what you catch. nmmorrison
Jul 29, 2002 9:51 AM
Hey, I said I enjoy diving didn't I? [nm]Ahimsa
Jul 29, 2002 9:56 AM
Hee hee. Actually,morrison
Jul 29, 2002 9:37 AM
you may be right (by Webster's definition). With common usage, though, I do think there is a difference between 'sports' and 'games.' To me, a sport is something that involves athletic ability. A game involves a skill, or series of skills (like golf), but not necessarily athletic ability.

So there is no confusion, by athletic ability, I mean more than a 'skill' like a golf swing; I mean to imply athletic conditioning. (And, do not tell me that walking 18 requires athletic conditioning. When I used to play, I'd walk 18 with 3 40 boys in my bag and a cuban burning in my mouth.)
I understand....Len J
Jul 29, 2002 9:43 AM
and apologize for my sarcasm.

Using the universal common usage (Are these activities covered by both the sports section of the papers and TV? would most people classifiy them as sports?) who is the currently active greatest athlete in your oponion?

I don't know, because I don't think there is any . . .morrison
Jul 29, 2002 9:50 AM
way to compare sports. I certainly would put Lance Armstrong at or near the top of my list, but I wonder whether the 'greatest athlete' moniker should take into account not just the conditioning of the athlete, but the breadth and diversity of her/his abilities? Of course, he no longer competes, but Bruce Jenner comes to mind. (So too does Gus Rasmussen, who won the 1996 New Jersey Dwarf Tossing derby.)
Thanks I needed that.Len J
Jul 29, 2002 10:00 AM
Dwarf tossing indeed.

This argument about what is a sport & what isn't always cracks me up. Depending on the weight one puts on a particular attribute, you can argue that everything involving a skill is a sport or that nothing is a sport. Even by your definition "sport to involve athletic activity/exertion" anything can be a sport depending on the minimumamout of exertion you decide is neceeary to move it from a skill to a sport. By the same token, one could argue that baseball doesn't involve enough exertion and therefore is a team skill game not a sport. So many interpretations, so little time"

I do agree with your breadth & diversity comment, that's why I tried (obviously unseccessfully) to ask which athlete dominates their sport the most?

Does Dwarf tossing involve enough exertion (on the part of the dwarf) to qualify as a sport?

And as to fishing, don't try to tell me that the fish doesn't exert himself!

Then gardening could be a sportPBWatson
Jul 29, 2002 9:59 AM
By your criteria Gardening is a sport, I sweat more while gardening than Tiger does golfing, there are rules (set mostly by nature) & in my neighborhood it can be rather competitive.

I'll take lance on anyday (In gardening)
Confusing sports and athletes again...Brooks
Jul 29, 2002 10:12 AM
Sports are competitions not necessarily requiring great athletes. And, yes, I would call golf a sport but golfers aren't necessarily great athletes. Great skill, though. The same can be said of baseball pitchers and race car drivers. Schumacher as a great athlete? What else can he do? Is a jockey a great athlete if he sits on Secretariat? (Yes I know Big Red is dead).

Historical great athletes: Babe Diderickson (golf, track and field), Wilt Chamberlain (basketball, track, volleyball), probably any decathlete. Even guys like Elway, Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson and a few others who can excell at the very top of two different sports can be considered great athletes. Michael Jordan was only a mediocre baseball player and golfer but obviously a tremendous basketball player.

Essentially a pointless argument until Battle of the Stars comes back ;-0
as much as i hate motor racingpukka
Jul 29, 2002 9:29 AM
those F1 guys are actually very fit
Bicycling might not be a sport eitherKristin
Jul 29, 2002 10:16 AM
Webster also says:
ath·lete Pronunciation Key n.
A person possessing the natural or acquired traits, such as strength, agility, and endurance, that are necessary for physical exercise or sports, especially those performed in competitive contexts.

Golf does not require any athletic ability to be played. But neither does riding a bicycle. The only thing required to ride a bike is that you learn to balance on the thing... (Though not necessarily, you could always keep the training wheels, or ride a three wheeled recumbant. But then that's not BI-cycling is it?) Anyway, my point is that basically, anyone can play 18 holes of golf or ride a bike a few miles. And people of any level can compete at either. However it takes something more to be competative and win.

I think that you could make more of a case for golf being a sport than cycling at the recreational level. In golf, you're always following a set of rules and keeping score (competition). How many recreational cyclists follow any rules? Gosh, most don't even follow traffic laws. And how many possess special skills? Yes, some do learn tricks; but its certainly not required. No one can make a case that the 250# couch jockey who cycles to the liquer store on his wifes Magna because the tranny fell out of his 15 year old pickup truck two months ago is an athlete or participating in a sport.

Cycling and golf both become sports increasingly as they approach higher levels.
Kermit, Worlds Greatest athlete & frogAllisonHayes
Jul 29, 2002 9:24 AM
According to SoB's criteria:

i Athletic greatness requires rare amounts of hand-eye coordination, body control, strength, speed and explosion (quickness or spring). Beyond these blessings, all-time greats have a transcendent ability to perform under pressure and rise above adversity.

who else but Kermit? talk about spring...

(I think SoB is just green with envy. Ribbit. Lance second.)
What's the Homer Simpson Quote? I really think thatdjg
Jul 29, 2002 9:55 AM
Muhammed Ali, in his prime, was clearly superior to wall-to-wall carpeting. Something like that. Kinda sums it up for these sorts of comparisons IMO.
Jul 29, 2002 10:27 AM
"Muhammed Ali, in his prime, beats anti-lock brakes any day of the week. "
And Lenny said it to Carl.
I thought Homer had the first one, Lenny the second. (could bedjg
Jul 29, 2002 12:58 PM

I still think it's one of the more astute contributions to this sort of debate that I've seen.
Good idea, but...Slowclimber
Jul 29, 2002 10:33 AM
As most people say it's an apple to orange argument.

Historically, the worlds greatest athlete title goes to the best decathalete in the world. They must run, jump, throw & vault. They must have speed, stamina, balance and the ability to intimidate and use stratagy.

My argument for this whole topic is who can do the other sports the best? If you want the best athlete they should be able to cross over to other events. Who ever can do a combination of all of the events the best would be the best athlete.

For me most of the ones you listed would not be the best overall athlete in the world. They are the best at their sport but not the best overall.

This topic has become way overblown as of recent mostly due to the fact that everybody gets defensive about their own favorite sports. Sports are very specialized these days and you won't ever see people cross over successfully.

Best athlete of all time in my opinion was probably Jim Thorpe. He had the ability to cross over to multiple sports at the top levels and be dominant in those sports as well.
No, not by a long shot! Jim Thorpe is the greatest of all time.unchained
Jul 29, 2002 11:29 AM
The American cyclist with the big socks and the superior team is not in the same league. Sorry.
No Contest!! "Hefty Smurf" = Worlds Greatest Athlete ;-)0_Kewl
Jul 29, 2002 12:15 PM
Did you ever watch the shows? He exercises, he is a sportsman and has even organised the Olympic Smurfs. Any episode they hade a sporting event he owned and won big time. I think there were even a couple race cycling episodes were he won the race; not sure but I think so.

I do remeber one episode, were Hefty Smurf was doing like a decathalon and won all the events. So there can be no doubt, Hefty Smurf is the Worlds Greatest Athlete ;-)
How scared are you that you can remember his name? nmmorrison
Jul 29, 2002 12:20 PM
lol, showin my age a bit :-)0_Kewl
Jul 29, 2002 12:22 PM
Hehe I thought this would get a good laugh :-)
what about bowling?pool? water polo? etc.....apples&orangeswheelsucker
Jul 29, 2002 2:22 PM
everyone knows it was Bruce JennerDougSloan
Jul 29, 2002 2:24 PM
For all around skills and strength as an athlete, the decathalon must be the supreme test. It was intended that way. No other contest tests an athlete in so many ways. If they threw in a 100 mile bike race, now that would really be something.

re: Lance, Worlds Greatest athlete ?fbg111
Jul 29, 2002 6:00 PM
No, he's not the world's greatest athlete. But he is certainly one of them. But like the author of that article said, cycling is more of an endurance sport than one that requires all-around superb athleticism. The media is just getting juiced by their own hype, and when that happens they blather on about anything in order to keep people watching and reading. This is just a fake debate to exploit Lance's victory as much as possible.
re: Lance, Worlds Greatest athlete ?MarvinK
Jul 30, 2002 3:39 PM
Lance doesnt get my vote for greatest athlete. I don't even think he's the greatest cyclist ever. The main reason is that he is too focused on the Tour de France. Don't get me wrong--I think it's great he has the confidence to risk it all on one race. He just doesn't get the same amount of credit as if he raced a full season year in and year out.

I am sure many football players would love to go to the Superbowl without the bangs and bruises of a full regular season.

Just my 2 cents.