14 August 2008

It Can't Compare!

Gimme a break. I'm hearing now how U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian ever because he's won the most gold medals in Olympic history.

How can you possibly say he's better than Finnish runner Lasse Viren (pictured above)? Viren won the 5,000 meter and 10,00 meter foot races in consecutive Olympics (1972 and 1976). There was no 7,500 meter run nor any backstroke run nor any 10,000 meter relay he could enter. Besides, running those two events within one Olympics is as much as a human can be expected to successfully accomplish in one two week period.

Congratulations to Phelps who can no doubt claim to be the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time. But comparing him with runners, gymnasts, decathletes, archers or any other Olympic athlete is a waste of time.

You gonna tell me that Michael Jordan is a greater player than Wayne Gretzky because he scored more points? Different sport, different scoring system. Can't compare them.

Its reminiscent of when ESPN ranked the 100 greatest athletes of all time. As I recall they had Jordan, Muhammad Ali and Babe Ruth as the top three. How do you compare them? You've got a basketball player, boxer and baseball player. Yes, they are all athletes but in very different sports. It's hard enough to compare Ruth and Willie Mays. They were from different generations.

It's akin to comparing Picasso, Sinatra and Shakespeare. Who was the greatest artist? Silly, isn't it?

And by the way when you start talking about great athletes keep Tiger Woods out of the discussion. He plays golf for chrissakes. That's no more a sport than pitching pennies.

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