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Cyclisme
July 31st, 2011, 06:44 AM
Hi all, I was recently reading the below article which listed the greatest Olympic gold winners of all time. I noticed there were 6 swimmers in the list out of 25 athletes.

Is this because there are multiple opportunities to win medals at Olympic swimming or just because the swimmers winning the medals are by far the best in their field?

Original article: http://www.infobarrel.com/25_Top_Olympic_Gold_Medal_Winners

bud
July 31st, 2011, 10:32 AM
I don't know how Olympic Swimming stacks up against other sports like Gymnastics or Track & Field events, but there are a lot different events to enter, at any single Games. Most swimmers however, choose to specialize not only in a specific stroke, but a specific event (distance) for that stroke. (I'm sure most Olympic athletes in general follow this pattern.) So it is somewhat rare to see swimmers doing many events. The strong "IM" IM folks are best suited for this... and it is no easy feat to be exceptional in all four Olympic Competition swimming strokes (at any level really).

Additionally, swimming is a somewhat physically kinder athletic endeavor, so you will see more remarkable performances even in bodies that are moving up in age. That is: You are more likely to see remarkable performances in swimming by folks that are older, than you will in most other sports... especially ones that are as physically demanding. (I suspect that events like Archery, Fencing, and Equestrian are more skill demanding than pure physical endurance, like swimming, running, and gymnastics.) Just look at Dara Torres in her 2008 Olympic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dara_Torres#2008_Summer_Olympics) performance... too bad she could not make this list. Still, for any swimmer to compete in more than two different Olympic Games is pretty phenomenal. In 2008 for example, most of the women Dara swam against were closer to half her age!

I've seen it pointed out on this BBS that swimming is perhaps one of the most demanding sports in terms of both skill/technique, and physical endurance... and I'd be inclined to agree with that.

This is a cool link... thanks for posting it. ;)

The most remarkable image for me in this collection is the one of Carl Lewis. My first thought when I saw this was: "If man were meant to fly, he'd be an Olympic Sprint Runner." I think the symmetry and balance of his form in that image is astounding.

I was an impressionable lad of 14 when Mark Spitz made his 1972 splash to 7 Olympic Gold Medals, and 7 World Records. I spent a lot of time back then dreaming about college scholarships and an Olympic appearance of my own. I can only imagine the effect that swimmers like Michael Phelps and Dara Torres have on kids today.

I may possibly have had the talent, but I never had the drive and discipline that it takes to be an Olympic Class Swimmer. When I look at what it takes to be an Olympic Swimmer these days, I'm amazed that anyone can do it. But now I'm really showing what an old fuddy-duddy I am (before my time?).

In watching the videos I was reminded of how amazing it is that these folks pretty well spend their entire lives training for these events, and often in a matter of minutes, or seconds, your bid for being the champion is decided by tiny fractions of a second. It is all quite remarkable I think.

:)

Be Well... Have Fun!

knelson
July 31st, 2011, 05:01 PM
Is this because there are multiple opportunities to win medals at Olympic swimming

Definitely. Maybe track should add backwards running to give their athletes as many opportunities as swimmers have. :)

All kidding aside, I think the fact swimming has four separate strokes plus IM sets it apart from any other sport and certainly adds to the medal opportunities for swimmers.

Allen Stark
July 31st, 2011, 05:48 PM
Track and field has more events than swimming,but more specialization.Gymnastics has several events and pretty much everyone does all of them so a really great gymnast can rack up a lot of medals.

ande
August 1st, 2011, 03:51 PM
Hi all, I was recently reading the below article which listed the greatest Olympic gold winners of all time. I noticed there were 6 swimmers in the list out of 25 athletes.
Is this because there are multiple opportunities to win medals at Olympic swimming or just because the swimmers winning the medals are by far the best in their field?
Original article: http://www.infobarrel.com/25_Top_Olympic_Gold_Medal_Winners

Swmming events are fairly related plus there's relays
In 2008 Phelps made USAs team in
100 fl
200 fl
200 im
400 im
200 fr
By placing top 2 at USAs 2008 trials
He was on USAS 4 x 100 fr relay because he was one of USAs
4 fastest 100 freestylers even though he didn't swim the 100 fr in finals, I think he swam prelims to post a time
at the USA's OTs & he was also on USAs 4 x 200 fr relay

He had to be incredibly fit to handle the demanding schedule of
Prelims, semi finals, & finals

swim races are related

SLOmmafan
August 1st, 2011, 04:40 PM
I think swimming is hard to judge when it comes to medal count versus certain other sports.

Take Alexander Karelin - Russian wrestler extraordinaire...3 gold medals at Super-heavyweight over a 3 Olympic appearances, and a silver at his 4th.

Obviously an event like wrestling you have to go through multiple rounds of wins, to ultimately get one medal. It would be like having to swim all 4 50m stokes, but only getting a medal if you win them all - or win the majority.