Olympics 2004: Athletics: Why Lewis Was Simply the Best; Frank Malley Recalls Some of the Finest Sporting Feats in Games History and Nominates His Top 20 Olympians of All Time

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), August 11, 2004 | Go to article overview

Olympics 2004: Athletics: Why Lewis Was Simply the Best; Frank Malley Recalls Some of the Finest Sporting Feats in Games History and Nominates His Top 20 Olympians of All Time


Byline: Frank Malley

FASTER, higher, stronger - that is the Olympic ideal which conjures nostalgic visions of sport's golden champions.

But who are the fastest, highest and strongest of all-time? Who deserves the ultimate accolade as the greatest Olympian?

Comparing different sports and eras is inevitably flawed because sportsmen can only beat the opposition of their day and who's to say that with modern training techniques and facilities past champions would not have surpassed today's icons?

But for the sake of debate, here is a shot at the 20 greatest Olympians of the modern Games, based on their medal hauls, toughness of opposition, profile of their event and impact and significance in the history of sport's greatest festival.

1. Carl Lewis - Greatest Olympian of all-time by whatever yardstick you apply. He brought unparalleled speed, grace and technique to athletics for a decade and his eight gold medals, earned against the toughest of opposition, speak for themselves. At his first Olympics in Los Angeles in 1984 he won four golds at 100m, 200m, long jump and sprint relay. He won the 100m and long jump in 1988 and in 1992 added long jump and relay gold.

2. Jesse Owens - Pushed open gates of opportunity for generations of black athletes. Owens' achievements at the 1936 Berlin Games cannot be underestimated. In the face of Hitler's intimidating 'Aryan Supremacy', Owens lifted four golds in the 100m, 200m, sprint relay and long jump, singlehandedly rendering the mighty Third Reich ridiculous.

3. Steven Redgrave - Many might argue that Redgrave, who won his fifth successive gold in Sydney in the coxless fours, is the greatest Olympian of all time and it is a phenomenal achievement of enduring class and stamina.

4. Paavo Nurmi - Dominated distance running in the twenties, winning a record nine Olympic golds and adding three silvers for a record total of 12 Games medals.

No wonder they nicknamed him the Flying Finn.

5. Emil Zatopek - Marathon man or masochist? Whatever, this Czech army captain was the only man ever to win the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon - the first time he had run the event - in the same Games in Helsinki in 1952.

6. Mark Spitz - No swimmer in history is more deserving of the accolade 'champion of the world' than the man from California. Aged 22 he won seven gold medals in four days at the Munich Olympics, all in world records.

7. Lasse Viren - No-one perfected the art of peaking for competition quite like the languid Finn. Devastating last lap pace was his hallmark, but he will also be remembered for his courage and tenacity, never better demonstrated than when he fell in his first 10,000m Olympic final in Munich, yet jumped up to win in a world record 27:38.35.

8. Sebastian Coe - Only man to win successive gold medals in the 1500m - the Blue Riband of the track. Would have been even higher in the list but for the fact that his first triumph came in the boycott-hit 1980 Games.

9. Bob Beamon - The afternoon Beamon almost leapt out of the Mexico long jump pit will be remembered forever as arguably the single most fantastic feat in Olympic history. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Olympics 2004: Athletics: Why Lewis Was Simply the Best; Frank Malley Recalls Some of the Finest Sporting Feats in Games History and Nominates His Top 20 Olympians of All Time
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.