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Spock
August 24th, 2008, 02:22 PM
I guess controversy sells ...

"Track and field is so much more physically demanding ..."

Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-olygreatest15-2008aug15,0,6214465.story)

gobears
August 24th, 2008, 02:51 PM
Spoken like one who's never swum a decent 25 in his life...

swimr4life
August 24th, 2008, 02:52 PM
I'd love to see this writer swim a 400 IM or a 200 Fly!

elise526
August 24th, 2008, 02:53 PM
What a bunch of bunk. O.k., having competed in both sports, I can agree that running pounds your joints more, but it takes so much more time to be tops in swimming.

Isn't part of the big deal in getting a medal how hard one has had to work to get it? I suspect Phelps has put far more time into training than the track folks mentioned in this article. One thing I loved about the track season was how short the workouts were compared to swimming, and I competed in the one mile and two mile! The amount of time the folks spent training that specialized in running the 200 and 100 was a joke and it wasn't because those events beat you up.

Even if the body could recover to do a ton of running events, training for the 100, 200, 400, 800, the hurdles, the long jump, and the relays could never compare to the amount of time required to be tops in the events that Phelps swam. The lack of respect for swimming in Hersh and in the running community (as evidenced by the commentary that started the thread about Phelps and running) has got to go. There needs to be respect for hard work in addition to natural talent. Swimmers are awesome athletes that work hard to get where they are. That is why so many of them can kick the living you-know-what out of runners on triathlons. (For you triathletes in the SE - think Bruce Gennari.)

The risk of a false start on swimming relays is minimal? Right.

slknight
August 24th, 2008, 03:23 PM
"Nearly every good freestyler can be a good butterflyer, and vice-versa.":joker:

What an ass-hat. :shakeshead::shakeshead:

smontanaro
August 24th, 2008, 04:34 PM
I posted the following comment about Hersh's column on the Tribune's website:


It's of course impossible to compare athletes across sports or across generations. I don't know if Michael Phelps is better than the people in your top five any more than you do. I do want to quibble with two of your top five though.

Paavo Nurmi competed at a time when distance running was not the worldwide phenomenon it is today. For example, in 1920 the Boston Marathon had a whopping 76 entrants. In 1930 that had ballooned to a staggering 218. In contrast, 20,453 people ran in 2005.(These figures come from the BAA website.) Given the far greater competition today it's highly unlikely that Nurmi could compete in such a wide range of distances at the elite level. Today we are rightfully awed when a distance runner can double in the 1500 and 5k or in the 5k and 10k. It's not because they are somehow less capable than Nurmi was. It's because the level of competition is so much higher.

Carl Lewis fails my test on a different axis. He probably knowingly used performance enhancing drugs during at least some of his career.(See the Wikipedia entry for Lewis and Ben Johnson.) That he tested positive yet was not banned from the team probably speaks more to the compromised ethics of the USOC than to Lewis's claim of inadvertent use. In comparison, check the Wikipedia entry for Rick DeMont, who lost his 400m free gold medal in the 1972 Olympics and lost other opportunities to compete at those same games. By the admission of the USOC this was their fault, not DeMont's. Approximately twenty years later Lewis gets a pass for the same stimulants (pseudoephedrine). Today we snicker when an athlete tests positive for a banned substance then claims "inadvertent use".

Skip

smontanaro
August 24th, 2008, 04:38 PM
FYI, Hersh has a followup column on the topic (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cs-23-olympics-phelps-michaelaug23,0,1664079.column). Michael is now number four on his list, still behind Lewis and Nurmi.

gobears
August 24th, 2008, 04:39 PM
My email to the columnist (PHersh@tribune.com):

"Appreciate one point of your article. That Phelps is the best Olympian ever because of his medal count is a silly assertion. This is not something most people in the swimming community would argue. Rather, it's something you in the mass media have been asserting. As if you can truly rank athletes in completely different disciplines objectively. That's absurd.

Your article sounds like it was written by someone who has never seriously attempted the sport of swimming. I would guess you are writing out of ignorance when you assert that swimming is any easier than track and field. Why don't you try them both at the elite level and then make your decision.

As a former Olympic Trial qualifier in swimming, I can tell you I worked just as hard as any athlete out on the track in my prime. Two hours of swimming every morning (starting at 5am), an hour of weights, and two more hours of swimming every afternoon all through high-school and college. Six days a week all year round. To say this kind of training isn't hard on the human body is absurd.

I'd like to see if your track and field superstars are training that hard. Perhaps they are, so I won't assert that my sport is MORE demanding. I will say, though, that within the sport of swimming Phelps has accomplished just as much as Carl Lewis did within the sport of track. Both deserve a place in the pantheon of the super-elite. To say one is better seems kind of silly. But you in the media do love to promote the "silly"..."

james lucas
August 24th, 2008, 04:45 PM
Hey, everyone cool out.

Sure, it's assinine, like a lot of what's in the Los Angeles Times. But not that many people read The Times, and even fewer take it seriously.

james lucas
August 24th, 2008, 04:57 PM
The readers' poll that accompanies this essay suggests The Times exerts only weak influence over the opinions of its shrinking base of readers. Here are the poll results, as of early afternoon Sunday:


Who is the greatest athlete in the history of the Summer Olympics?

1.1 % - Birgit Fischer-Schmidt, Germany, kayak
2.3 % - Larisa Latynina, Soviet Union, gymnastics
24.6 % - Carl Lewis, U.S., track and field
3.9 % - Paavo Nurmi, Finland, track and field
2.8 % - Steven Redgrave, United Kingdom, rowing
52.0 % - Michael Phelps, United States, swimming
13.4 % - An athlete not listed here

tjrpatt
August 24th, 2008, 05:02 PM
I guess controversy sells ...

"Track and field is so much more physically demanding ..."

Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-olygreatest15-2008aug15,0,6214465.story)


What kind of crack is this reporter smoking?

Jeff Commings
August 24th, 2008, 05:24 PM
The only point I agree with is that Michael has yet to show longevity. All the other greats (Spitz aside) won medals in three Olympics. After 2012, all the doubters will shut up.

elise526
August 24th, 2008, 05:40 PM
FYI, Hersh has a followup column on the topic (http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/cs-23-olympics-phelps-michaelaug23,0,1664079.column). Michael is now number four on his list, still behind Lewis and Nurmi.

This article is even more offensive than the first one. It's obvious he has no respect for hard work or the sport of swimming. The fact that he was "very close" to the swim team makes me wonder if his comments stem more from sour grapes than from an objective analysis.

aquageek
August 24th, 2008, 07:27 PM
I do agree that Lewis is still ahead of Phelps, due to his longevity. We need to let some time pass before we sort it all out. Everyone looks good on the honeymoon.

knelson
August 24th, 2008, 08:57 PM
The only point I agree with is that Michael has yet to show longevity.

I agree, and that should have been his point and he should have stopped there. Everything else is just unsupported jibberish.

LindsayNB
August 24th, 2008, 09:01 PM
I guess controversy sells ...

I assume you had that in mind when you wrote the thread subject line? The journalist didn't "dis" Phelps or "slam" swimming. He did demonstrate a lack of swimming knowledge and underestimate the difficulty in dominating in multiple swimming events but that doesn't really amount to slamming swimming.

Slowswim
August 24th, 2008, 09:51 PM
As someone who is was pretty quick on land, and transitionedto Tri's, I have a unique perspective. I've also said condescending things about how swimmers take weeks of taper to swim a few hundred yards.

I just swam (poorly) at my first LCM; a total of 300 meters. I got home and slept until after 10am. I'm normally wake by 4:30. I swam my hardest, but when I race a 10K, Half marathon, sprint or Oyl Tri; I am never this wiped.

So as a Terran, I have to agree heartily, the number of medals are enough; swimming makes it much more.

jnbaker
August 25th, 2008, 08:44 AM
Maybe the author is a closet swimming and Phelps fan who is worried that Michael is running out of motivating articles to tape up in his locker.

cantwait4bike
August 25th, 2008, 12:32 PM
why limit it to only the summer games? when you throw in all sports, Phelps is at the bottom of the top five.........with the likes of Lance, Tiger, Jordan, Petty. Swimmers should just be satisfied to have someone in this elite group. If Phelps can pull off another mega gold performance in 2012, he will have the longevity that Lance and the others have and could move up to the top 3 maybe.

gobears
August 25th, 2008, 12:58 PM
Maybe the author is a closet swimming and Phelps fan who is worried that Michael is running out of motivating articles to tape up in his locker.

Awesome!:applaud:

knelson
August 25th, 2008, 01:02 PM
Phelps is at the bottom of the top five.........with the likes of Lance, Tiger, Jordan, Petty.

Petty?

cwilson
August 25th, 2008, 06:57 PM
I actually heard a local sports radio show covering the same angle. Basically blowing off everything Phelps did as "pretty cool" and showing complete awe for what Usain Bolt did in the track and field events.

I completely agree that Usain is freaky fast and totally impressive to watch, but there's no way you can discount what Phelps did.


I guess controversy sells ...

"Track and field is so much more physically demanding ..."

Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history (http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-olygreatest15-2008aug15,0,6214465.story)

tjrpatt
August 25th, 2008, 09:47 PM
The only point I agree with is that Michael has yet to show longevity. All the other greats (Spitz aside) won medals in three Olympics. After 2012, all the doubters will shut up.

Longevity, This is Michael's third Olympics. He got fifth in the 200 fly at Syndey. Ok, I know since he didn't medal, his doubters will say it doesn't count.

tjrpatt
August 25th, 2008, 09:53 PM
Mainstream Sports Radio hate to talk about swimming. Plus, they don't seem to do any research on the sport to begin with. Before Phelps came to town, I am pretty sure that they didn't know who Mark Spitz was. That is why they will say Bolt(sprint runner) is more amazing than Phelps(a middle distance, can do any event and get world records in his second tier events ie 200 free). There should be no comparisons. Bolt had a great Olympics but Phelps an over the top out of this world Olympics.

elise526
August 25th, 2008, 10:05 PM
Maybe even more people would be talking about swimming if Phelps had turned over on his back at the flags coming into his finish on the 400 I.M., pumped a fist in the air, and kicked on his back into the wall.

Ridiculous. I'm still steaming about those articles I read earlier in this thread. :mad:

dorothyrde
August 26th, 2008, 06:45 AM
Chicago sports writers.....nuff said.:thhbbb:

Alex Mason
August 26th, 2008, 10:34 AM
"Nearly every good freestyler can be a good butterflyer, and vice-versa.":joker:

What an ass-hat. :shakeshead::shakeshead:


what a joker... ok im not the fastest freestyler, but many many times i get compliments about my stroke. numerous coaches have mentioned how good both my freestyle and backstroke are (i just dont have the power or stamina to be fast enough) but despite that i suck the big one at fly!!!! i can do 50m tops! and then i just cant do it any longer.

its still a wonder to me how people can do 200's or even 400's fly... it just seems impossible! probably just not cut out for it.

SLOmmafan
August 26th, 2008, 12:24 PM
It's possibly correct to say Bolt is a better all around athlete than Phelps - depending on how you measure better athlete.

The only fair way to measure athleticism would be to have both athletes compete in some sort of all around competition involving multiple athletic disciplines. Phelps obviously had a huge edge in the water, Bolt on the land. Bolt is most likely physically stronger (i.e could bench press more, squat more, and so on). Bolt would most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition - as in, Bolt would most likely take Phelps in a game of one-on-one basketball.

The only other way to measure who is the best all around is dominance in their respective sports. The simple answer is that Phelps did more events, won more gold, and thus was more dominant than Bolt. Getting into the technical details of which sport requires more skill or talent, or who had better competition is at best a toss up and in the end a matter of opinion.

cantwait4bike
August 26th, 2008, 01:43 PM
Petty?

Richard Petty 7 time NASCAR Champion,120 race victories over 20 years.

Yea I know it is a stretch to call race car drivers athletes, but in our present McDonalds fat hog'in, beer drink'in, anal cell phone society the sports media considers him a God. I won't be surprised to see Phelps driving or riding in the pace car (ala LA) at some auto race soon also.:doh:

cantwait4bike
August 26th, 2008, 01:47 PM
It's possibly correct to say Bolt is a better all around athlete than Phelps - depending on how you measure better athlete.

The only fair way to measure athleticism would be to have both athletes compete in some sort of all around competition involving multiple athletic disciplines. Phelps obviously had a huge edge in the water, Bolt on the land. Bolt is most likely physically stronger (i.e could bench press more, squat more, and so on). Bolt would most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition - as in, Bolt would most likely take Phelps in a game of one-on-one basketball.

The only other way to measure who is the best all around is dominance in their respective sports. The simple answer is that Phelps did more events, won more gold, and thus was more dominant than Bolt. Getting into the technical details of which sport requires more skill or talent, or who had better competition is at best a toss up and in the end a matter of opinion.

Great idea. Phelps and Bolt head to head in a Olympic Distance Triathlon. My moneys on Phelps.

tjburk
August 26th, 2008, 01:49 PM
It's possibly correct to say Bolt is a better all around athlete than Phelps - depending on how you measure better athlete.

The only fair way to measure athleticism would be to have both athletes compete in some sort of all around competition involving multiple athletic disciplines. Phelps obviously had a huge edge in the water, Bolt on the land. Bolt is most likely physically stronger (i.e could bench press more, squat more, and so on). Bolt would most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition - as in, Bolt would most likely take Phelps in a game of one-on-one basketball.

The only other way to measure who is the best all around is dominance in their respective sports. The simple answer is that Phelps did more events, won more gold, and thus was more dominant than Bolt. Getting into the technical details of which sport requires more skill or talent, or who had better competition is at best a toss up and in the end a matter of opinion.

I am curious how you make the assumption that just because Phelps is a swimmer that Bolt would "most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition"?

Being a swimmer and still being able to run 5 to 5 1/2 minute miles myself when I was younger I don't see how you can make that assumption.....

Can you please explain how you came up with that?

aquageek
August 26th, 2008, 02:04 PM
I don't think it is any different from assuming that Phelps would have a distinct advantage in any water based activity. Bolt is the fastest human on the planet so it is not illogical that he would have a significant advantage in land based activities.

tjburk
August 26th, 2008, 02:14 PM
I don't think it is any different from assuming that Phelps would have a distinct advantage in any water based activity. Bolt is the fastest human on the planet so it is not illogical that he would have a significant advantage in land based activities.

That is why I asked him to explain his "assumption"....what is he basing his assumption on? And I don't just mean running....he made the statement that it would include "every land based competition"

knelson
August 26th, 2008, 02:19 PM
Richard Petty 7 time NASCAR Champion,120 race victories over 20 years.

Sorry, I thought you were talking about current athletes, not retired ones, but you did mention Jordan so I should have known. I know Richard's son Kyle is or was a NASCAR driver, too, but certainly isn't one of the major stars of the sport.

elise526
August 26th, 2008, 02:20 PM
Should the debate be who is the better athlete or should the debate be whose athletic accomplishment is more worthy of recognition? Bolt could be the better "athlete" but isn't Phelp's accomplishment perhaps more worthy of recogntion?

I suppose all of this can get rather tricky because how does one decide which athletic feat is more worthy of recognition?

knelson
August 26th, 2008, 02:34 PM
Should the debate be who is the better athlete or should the debate be whose athletic accomplishment is more worthy of recognition?

The whole discussion of who the "greatest all-around" athlete is has always struck me as ridiculous. Honestly, I could care less how fast Michael Phelps runs or how well Usain Bolt plays tennis. Domination in a single sport qualifies someone as a great athlete, in my opinion. Arguing whether Bolt or Phelps is the "better athlete" seems completely pointless. They both kick ass in their sports of choice.

tjburk
August 26th, 2008, 02:45 PM
The whole discussion of who the "greatest all-around" athlete is has always struck me as ridiculous. Honestly, I could care less how fast Michael Phelps runs or how well Usain Bolt plays tennis. Domination in a single sport qualifies someone as a great athlete, in my opinion. Arguing whether Bolt or Phelps is the "better athlete" seems completely pointless. They both kick ass in their sports of choice.

I would argue that Phelps' accomplishments completely outweigh Bolt's:

Bolt one two sprint events within Track and Field.

Phelps won 5 events within Swimming....and remember he used to compete in both Backstrokes as well.

As soon as Bolt does something along the lines of Lewis or expands into some other Track and Field event.....he is just the world's best sprinter right now. Phelps can and has dominated several aspects of swimming.....to me....Phelps takes it for now.....

elise526
August 26th, 2008, 02:50 PM
The whole discussion of who the "greatest all-around" athlete is has always struck me as ridiculous. Honestly, I could care less how fast Michael Phelps runs or how well Usain Bolt plays tennis. Domination in a single sport qualifies someone as a great athlete, in my opinion. Arguing whether Bolt or Phelps is the "better athlete" seems completely pointless. They both kick ass in their sports of choice.

Completely agree with you, Kirk. The only problem is that we get people like Hersh saying it is impossible to dominate the sport of running like Phelps has in swimming because running is so "physically demanding."

aquageek
August 26th, 2008, 02:51 PM
I remember back a long time ago ABC Sports had a diverse collection of sports and athletes for some funky "battle of the superstars" series. This was before pro contract prohibited things like that. It was always comical to see the athletes compete in areas far away from their regular sport. I seem to recall that track and field and football atheltes tended to do the best. Ask Fort, she's much older than me and can probably remember back that far.

knelson
August 26th, 2008, 03:02 PM
I remember back a long time ago ABC Sports had a diverse collection of sports and athletes for some funky "battle of the superstars" series.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstars

cantwait4bike
August 26th, 2008, 03:04 PM
I would argue that Phelps' accomplishments completely outweigh Bolt's:

Bolt one two sprint events within Track and Field.

Phelps won 5 events within Swimming....and remember he used to compete in both Backstrokes as well.

As soon as Bolt does something along the lines of Lewis or expands into some other Track and Field event.....he is just the world's best sprinter right now. Phelps can and has dominated several aspects of swimming.....to me....Phelps takes it for now.....

Don't forget Bolt wins Taunting
Score: Bolt -2 Phelps- 0

bcm119
August 26th, 2008, 03:09 PM
A few years ago when I was into bike racing, a similar column about Lance Armstrong's 7th TdF win appeared on a Pittburgh newspaper website. The columnist claimed that Lance was not a "great athlete" at all, and predicted that any star quarterback could sit on a bicycle and pedal around France for a few weeks.

The column circulated through cycling forums for months. I think its a known fact that calling into question the athletic achievements of a recent non-major league sports star is a great way to generate page views for news websites. This one seems to have succeeded in that regard. I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about it.

lefty
August 26th, 2008, 03:38 PM
At the very least was Bolt did should be called "as impressive." We cannot measure medals to medals, Bolt's choices of events was limited by his sport. The women's beach volleyball were just a dominating as Phelps and Bolt. They got one medal.

I am willing to give Phelps the edge though. Bolt did not step out of the box when he had the chance the way Phelps has. Specifically Bolt said he was not going to run in the 4x400 final (as it turns out Jamaica didn't qualify anyhow).

One final thought, Bolt is the fastest human by far on land. Phelps is the greatest swimmer, but he is NOT the fastest. That matters to me a little bit.

ande
August 26th, 2008, 03:50 PM
Maybe "Michael Phelps is not the greatest Olympic athlete in history"
YET

this writer wrote this to stir up controversy
It depends how you keep score.

I invite him to come to the pool put on a suit and develop an appreciation for training and competition.

he argues, "It is easy to win multiple medals in swimming."
not so most swimmers can't

he wrote: "New pool and suit technology have made swimming's world records meaningless"
Not so

"Swimming allows an athlete to race two finals in 29 minutes, as U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte planned Friday morning."
This is a rare extremely difficult thing. Lochte made the best of a bad situation.

I didn't know that
"Track and field is so much more physically demanding."

zmontgo
August 26th, 2008, 03:58 PM
well and not only that but Phelps had to swim each race 3 times, prelims, semi finals and finals right? it's funny when someone who actually has'nt gone out and tried it writes something like that, it's almost like saying that none of these athletes have climbed Mt. Everest, does that make them any less of a person? look at how many golf tournements that Tiger Woods has won, the Olympics are ever 4 years, I think each sport has a unique level that sets each sport apart, be it, swimming, track and field, auto racing, basketball, golf whatever it is there are individuals who excell and are really good at what they do, I think that the best thing that we can do is inspire people to set goals to achieve what has'nt been done yet.

tjburk
August 26th, 2008, 04:04 PM
Don't forget Bolt wins Taunting
Score: Bolt -2 Phelps- 0

Was that taunting? Or immaturity? Or just cockiness?

haroldbuck
August 26th, 2008, 04:14 PM
It's possibly correct to say Bolt is a better all around athlete than Phelps - depending on how you measure better athlete.

The only fair way to measure athleticism would be to have both athletes compete in some sort of all around competition involving multiple athletic disciplines. Phelps obviously had a huge edge in the water, Bolt on the land. Bolt is most likely physically stronger (i.e could bench press more, squat more, and so on). Bolt would most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition - as in, Bolt would most likely take Phelps in a game of one-on-one basketball.

The only other way to measure who is the best all around is dominance in their respective sports. The simple answer is that Phelps did more events, won more gold, and thus was more dominant than Bolt. Getting into the technical details of which sport requires more skill or talent, or who had better competition is at best a toss up and in the end a matter of opinion.

Keep in mind that any discussion of this sort is completely futile. You can't even get people to agree what constitutes a sport, or whether Lance Armstrong is an athlete (another idiot columnist). Whoever would win between Phelps and Bolt depends on large part how you select the events for the competition.

So let's vote on the best Olympic athlete of all time, right? Not so fast. Other than the obvious problem of uninformed voters outweighing those who know something on the topic, Arrow's Impossibility Theorem (http://tinyurl.com/6bn9tw) proves that in any situation with more than two choices, no voting system can accurately reflect group preferences in all situations.

Not that this sort of debate isn't fun. It's just ridiculous to think there's a "correct" answer.

haroldbuck
August 26th, 2008, 04:17 PM
One final thought, Bolt is the fastest human by far on land. Phelps is the greatest swimmer, but he is NOT the fastest. That matters to me a little bit.

Those are arbitrary distances involved in selecting the "fastest human." Are we sure Bolt is the fastest in a 25 m run?

If you hold the world mark in the Marathon, you're the fastest over 26.2 miles even though you can't outsprint Bolt. But then again, Bolt can't beat you in a Marathon, either!

aquageek
August 26th, 2008, 04:29 PM
It's hardly shocking that a bunch of swimmers find that what Phelps did is the greatest thing ever. Phelps is a great swimmer, Bolt is a great runner. Comparing the two is pointless.

I propose an alternate question, what was the story of the Olympics, from a sporting perspective? Bolt had to earn his storyline in a field of potentially 3 or 4 legit contenders. Phelps was THE STORY going in and received a bunch of hype, which he certainly lived up to. I was thankful to have a DVR to go through the endless puff pieces on Phelps. I would have preferred to see a few more prelims than yet another story on him or a replay of the 4X100 free relay.

I really think at the next Olympics, NBC should have a puff piece channel where you can watch all the tear jerking stories about the hurdles each athlete has overcome. Or it could be PPV and come with a barf bag, which is what I needed. "Raised by a single mother in an affluent suburban neighborhood, this athlete had to choose daily between which mall to frequent for lunch."

hofffam
August 26th, 2008, 04:48 PM
The comparison is pointless. Both are spectacular athletes. Bolt could have put the 100 m record out of reach for 10 years but chose to hot dog instead.

Phelps could probably put any 2 or 3 of his WRs out of reach for many years if he didn't spread himself so thin.

I do have a problem with the track is more demanding part. Bolt's races added up to perhaps (10 secs x 3 races) + (20 secs x 3 races) + (10 secs x 1 race) = 100 secs of racing. I bet that based on science, Bolt can recover pretty easily from a 10 second anerobic event.

I hardly think Bolt's chosen events are more demanding.

LindsayNB
August 26th, 2008, 05:56 PM
Considering that World Records are worth big money on the track circuit Bolt would have been both unpopular and financially foolish to put the 100m record out of reach for 10 years. In Bolt's own words he was celebrating his Olympic gold medal. Celebration always seems to be taken the wrong way when the other side is doing it.

It is also interesting that the swimming literature is full of claims that swimming is a low impact sport that is less injury prone than running, but everyone here wants to dismiss that for purposes of the current discussion.


The comparison is pointless. Both are spectacular athletes. Bolt could have put the 100 m record out of reach for 10 years but chose to hot dog instead.

Phelps could probably put any 2 or 3 of his WRs out of reach for many years if he didn't spread himself so thin.

I do have a problem with the track is more demanding part. Bolt's races added up to perhaps (10 secs x 3 races) + (20 secs x 3 races) + (10 secs x 1 race) = 100 secs of racing. I bet that based on science, Bolt can recover pretty easily from a 10 second anerobic event.

I hardly think Bolt's chosen events are more demanding.

The Fortress
August 26th, 2008, 07:59 PM
It is also interesting that the swimming literature is full of claims that swimming is a low impact sport that is less injury prone than running, but everyone here wants to dismiss that for purposes of the current discussion.

Only true for noodlers and rec swimmers.

3strokes
August 26th, 2008, 09:42 PM
I'd love to see this writer swim a 400 IM or a 200 Fly!

Can he even "float" decently?

3strokes
August 26th, 2008, 09:52 PM
Don't forget Bolt wins Taunting
Score: Bolt -2 Phelps- 0

However Phelps wins cool, non-taunting, calm, cool (yes, I know, twice)and collected and non-obtrusive.

LindsayNB
August 26th, 2008, 10:44 PM
However Phelps wins cool, non-taunting, calm, cool (yes, I know, twice)and collected and non-obtrusive.

For a quick reality check rewatch Phelps following the 4x100 relay. Nothing wrong with it at all but hardly "calm, cool and collected and non-obtrusive".
Now, point me to Bolt taunting anyone, I watched all his events and didn't see it.

haroldbuck
August 26th, 2008, 11:12 PM
For a quick reality check rewatch Phelps following the 4x100 relay. Nothing wrong with it at all but hardly "calm, cool and collected and non-obtrusive".
Now, point me to Bolt taunting anyone, I watched all his events and didn't see it.

Many people, myself included, believe there's a big difference between celebrating after a win and doing it while the race is still going on. I think Phelps was excited and amazed that they won; many people shared that feeling. But for Bolt to be pounding his chest and celebrating before the race is over, I feel that's disrespectful to the other competitors.

Of course, I think the trash-talking before the race (Bernard) is pretty bad, too.

BTW, what happens in the NFL or the NCAA if you're about to score a touchdown and you stop in front of the goal line to draw attention to the fact that you're so far ahead of the defense? That's right: you get a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct because it's taunting. That's pretty much what Bolt was guilty of.

dorothyrde
August 27th, 2008, 06:26 AM
At the very least was Bolt did should be called "as impressive." We cannot measure medals to medals, Bolt's choices of events was limited by his sport. The women's beach volleyball were just a dominating as Phelps and Bolt. They got one medal.

I am willing to give Phelps the edge though. Bolt did not step out of the box when he had the chance the way Phelps has. Specifically Bolt said he was not going to run in the 4x400 final (as it turns out Jamaica didn't qualify anyhow).

One final thought, Bolt is the fastest human by far on land. Phelps is the greatest swimmer, but he is NOT the fastest. That matters to me a little bit.


The ladies may have got just one medal, but their longevity sure speaks for itself and their 4 year record is incredibile....this WAS the only sport my husband made sure to DVR:rolleyes:

dorothyrde
August 27th, 2008, 06:33 AM
For a quick reality check rewatch Phelps following the 4x100 relay. Nothing wrong with it at all but hardly "calm, cool and collected and non-obtrusive".
Now, point me to Bolt taunting anyone, I watched all his events and didn't see it.

Bolt was a bit over the top, and a bit goofy, but we have certainly had swimmers who have acted the same way(anyone remember Gary Hall Jr.) Bolt is good, Phelps is good, as are a bunch of these Olympians. The men's gymnastic's team was suppose to do nothing after those injuries, and "all" they got was the bronze, but what an accomplishment.

So silly to compare, and instead, just be inspired by the lot of them.

ViveBene
August 27th, 2008, 08:23 AM
So silly to compare, and instead, just be inspired by the lot of them.

Yes, I was impressed by the "stars in the shadows" who had their opportunity and came through.

beluga
August 27th, 2008, 08:39 AM
I am curious how you make the assumption that just because Phelps is a swimmer that Bolt would "most likely have an edge in pretty much every land based competition"?



I'd make that assumption not because Phelps is a swimmer, but because I've read in several articles that Phelps is a bit clumsy out of water.

A quick google search turned up:

“I’m a fish out of water. I’m a clumsy person,” Phelps said in response to how he hurt his wrist," http://www.timedfinals.com/07112007/phelps-update-pin-inserted-into-broken-wrist-still-confident-in-training/

"Out of the water, Phelps admits, he is not the most graceful of athletes. He's clumsy enough to break his wrist while getting into a car, as he did last year. His coach, Bob Bowman, doesn't require Phelps to run to train because, well, Phelps isn't very good at it." http://www.tampabay.com/sports/olympics/article768247.ece

"However his long torso and double jointed ankles make Phelps’ 195 frame clumsy and surprisingly delicate on dry land." http://www.thefemaleview.com/michael-phelps-is-the-greatest-olympian-in-history/

mctrusty
August 27th, 2008, 10:30 AM
It is also interesting that the swimming literature is full of claims that swimming is a low impact sport that is less injury prone than running, but everyone here wants to dismiss that for purposes of the current discussion.

Only true for noodlers and rec swimmers.

Agreed. There are a lot of shoulders and knees that would disagree with Lindsay.

LindsayNB
August 27th, 2008, 10:38 AM
Agreed. There are a lot of shoulders and knees that would disagree with Lindsay.

Actually "that would disagree with the swimming promo literature", I usually roll my eyes every time the promo lit skips over the shoulder issues in swimming.

Which is not to say that the injury rate isn't higher in running, that would be an issue for empirical data rather than debate. During the marathon coverage on CBC the commentators were saying that marathoners generally have at most five or six truly outstanding marathons in their careers before the wear and tear puts them out of contention at the highest levels. Marathons are clearly the extreme case of course.

Blackbeard's Peg
August 27th, 2008, 12:30 PM
Now, point me to Bolt taunting anyone, I watched all his events and didn't see it.

Check the last 20M of his 100m sprint. He pulled up and had his arms out. Some may call that celebration. I think that (especially pulling up) was taunting the rest of the field.

aquageek
August 27th, 2008, 12:34 PM
Check the last 20M of his 100m sprint. He pulled up and had his arms out. Some may call that celebration. I think that (especially pulling up) was taunting the rest of the field.

I guess if any of the other 3 legit contenders were whining about getting their tails kicked, I might care about what Bolt did. One thing I really respected about the track and field athletes, as a general statement, is that they did not make excuses, even when you knew they were obviously disappointed.

Blackbeard's Peg
August 27th, 2008, 01:13 PM
Back to the topic at hand...
The columnist spends a great deal of print discussing Carl Lewis's achievements and I have to say that he presents a good case for Mr. Lewis' supremacy over Phelps. Lewis competed and medaled in the 100, 200 and long jump, and dominated the long jump over 4 Olympics. The diversity of events, as well as the longevity of dominance in long jump are the reasons why the columnist thinks Lewis's achievements are greater.

Sure, Phelps can't compete with that longevity... yet. But I have a hard time believing that Phelps' Olympic events - the 200 free, 1/200 fly, 2/400 IM - are any less diverse. Additionally, he has one of the top times for the US in his 100 free and, as was earlier pointed out, he could probably have medaled in the backstrokes.

Regardless of the similarities of the four strokes, Phelps excels in each discipline individually as well as the four collectively in the IM - our sport's version of the Pentathlon and Decathlon. If Carl Lewis medaled in one of the sprint hurdle events and in a Pentathlon and/or Decathlon, then I think we have a toss-up.

Until then, my money is on Phelps.

aquageek
August 27th, 2008, 01:27 PM
Ever notice the morning after the Super Bowl or Game 7 of the WS that everyone says it "was the best one ever?" That's the way it is with Phelps now. Give it a decade to percolate and then things become clearer. For instance, Carl Lewis' achievements have gained more significance while others have faded, for any number of reasons.

To sit around and say something that was done a week ago is better than something done a decade ago in a different sport is really silly. Carl Lewis doesn't have to do hurdles to be a great athlete anymore than Phelps needs to swin the 1500.

LindsayNB
August 27th, 2008, 01:48 PM
I think a basic distinction that is being missed is between skills and energy systems. Freestyle and backstroke are two swimming techniques or skills. Being technically proficient in different strokes is nothing to scoff at. On the other hand, swimming a good 100m and swimming a good 1500m require two different physiologies. Although there have been a couple swimmers that have won at all distances I don't think anyone could do so today, I am pretty sure that even Phelps couldn't win gold in the 1500 and 100m frees in the same Olympics, even if he tried.

I'm not saying the journalist was right, just that there is some validity to his argument that winning the 200 fly and the 200 free is not the same as winning the 100m and the 800m on the track. That Phelps can win the 400IM and the 100fly is in that sense even more amazing that winning multiple 200m events.

smontanaro
August 28th, 2008, 10:51 AM
(Maybe we need a new thread?)

While I, like many people, have shoulder issues of varying degrees, one thing that's nice about swimming is that the variety of strokes means I can generally find some stroke which doesn't hurt. Running doesn't offer that kind of variety.

Skip

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 29th, 2008, 10:35 AM
I got an e-mail from this guy today. He is either an idiot or is trying purposefully to incite swimmers. He talked about how running is so hard on runners' body. I wonder if he is willing to pay for the doctor removing the scar tissue from my right shoulder?

He also said that he didn't say anything about how long the different athletes must train. Truly that negates his claim. Sprinters practice maybe 1 hr a day on hard workout days.

Craig

mattson
August 29th, 2008, 12:39 PM
A long time ago, there was the argument that the 3 toughest (strenuous?) sports were water polo, (Australian rules) rugby, and Greco-Roman wrestling. I don't remember anyone arguing for track.

elise526
August 29th, 2008, 12:51 PM
A long time ago, there was the argument that the 3 toughest (strenuous?) sports were water polo, (Australian rules) rugby, and Greco-Roman wrestling. I don't remember anyone arguing for track.

Don't forget gymnastics. Another sport that sometimes does not get enough respect. Talk about being rough on the body! Also, I hate to admit it, but my understanding it that they train more than swimmers.

aquageek
August 29th, 2008, 01:43 PM
A long time ago, there was the argument that the 3 toughest (strenuous?) sports were water polo, (Australian rules) rugby, and Greco-Roman wrestling. I don't remember anyone arguing for track.

I played water polo once and was sore for 6 months. Lots of respect to those guys.

craiglll@yahoo.com
August 29th, 2008, 03:16 PM
i got another e-mail form this guy. He said htat while he personally replies to e-mails that are of a different opinion form him, he doesn't respond to ranting and raving. all i wrote was htat he didn't know what he was talking about. I suggested that maybe he pay for some swimmers shoulders operations or medicine necessary to relieve a breast strokers lower back pain.


i am a hot-headed Ranter!!!!

knelson
August 29th, 2008, 04:03 PM
Is the numbers of injuries caused by a particular sport really the best way to evaluate how "tough" that sport is? The idea that swimming is easy because swimmers have less serious injuries compared to some other sports, thus making gold medals in swimming somehow less impressive, is about the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard.

pwolf66
August 29th, 2008, 04:23 PM
I played water polo once and was sore for 6 months. Lots of respect to those guys.

Water polo is wrestling inside a washing machine.