You often hear writers claiming a particular athlete is the greatest sportsman in the world.
I have often wondered about such claims and came to the conclusion that its almost impossible to judge such achievements. Believe me i have tried, but there are too many variables to give any sportsman this title.
I however put together my own criteria, and attempted to figure it out. My results showed how difficult this task is and how its just too hard to judge. I used 10 athletes (obviously i would of left some greats out, but i cant cover every sport.), and ranked them on a points system out of 35. Here is how i've done it;
Fitness required.... out of 5
Skill of individual........ out of 5 (including skill level required in the particular sport)
Brutality or risk of harm in the sport... out of 5 (important because instead of just a fear of losing, a fear of Death or serious injury adds a lot more pressure to a contest.)
Achievements and dominance... out of 5
Individual impact on their sport... out of 5
Longevity............. out of 5 (marks deducted for short career's, long spells between contests, or time out of the sport.)
Persona, and public image ....... out of 3
And weather their sport is on a world stage.. out of 2
Total Marks 35.
Here we go, in no particular order;
Wayne Gretsky (Ice hockey), born in Ontario Canada, won 4 Stanley Cups, 9 Hart Trophies as MVP, and 10 Art Ross trophies for most points in a season. Known as the Greatest Ice hockey player of all time
.... SCORES.... Fitness 3.5, Skill 4.0, Brutality or Risk of harm 4.0, achievements 4, Individual impact on their sport 4.5, Longevity 4.5, Image 2.5/3, Sport on a world stage 0.5/2. TOTAL.. 27.5
Muhammad Ali (Boxing), born in Louisville, Kentucky USA. Won Olympic light-heavyweight gold medal, former 3 time Heavyweight champion of the world. One of the most recognised athletes in the world, a true immortal of boxing
....SCORES.... Fitness 5.0, Skill 4.5, Brutality or ROH 5.0,Achievements and Dominance 4.5, Impact on their sport 5.0, Longevity 4.5, Public image 3/3, sport on a world stage 2/2. TOTAL.. 33.5
Jack Nicklaus (golf), born in Columbus, Ohio USA. The Goldern Bear won a record 18 professional majors in a career lasting 25 years. Recognised as the greatest Golfer of all time.
....SCORES.... Fitness 1.0, Skill 4.5, Brutality or ROH 0.5, Achievements and dominance 4.5, Impact on their sport 5.0, Longevity 5.0, Public image 3/3, Sport on a world stage 2/2 TOTAL.. 25.5
Donald Bradman (cricket), born in Cootamundra, NSW Australia. Bradmans achievements can not be listed here, there is simply too many.To name just two; His test batting average was 99.94 runs each time he batted, more than thirty runs better than any other batsman in the history of the game. 14 times he scored over 200 runs in a single innings, two of those over 300. The greatest Cricket player to ever play the game.
....SCORES.... Fitness 2.0, Skill 5.0, Brutality or ROH 2.0, Achievements and dominance 5.0, Impact on their sport 5.0, Longevity 4.5, public image 3/3, Sport on a world stage 1.5/2. TOTAL.. 28.0
PELE' or Edison Arantes do Nascimento (soccer), born in Tres Coracoes, Brazil. Part of three world cup winning Brazil teams, and only player to have 3 medals. Declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government, responsible for bringing soccer to American media attention, known as the greatest soccer player of all time.
....SCORES.... Fitness 3.0, Skill 5.0, Brutality or ROH 1.5, Achievements and dominance 5.0, Impact on their sport 4.5, Longevity 4.0, public image 3/3, sport on a world stage 2/2. TOTAL ..28.0
Rod Laver (tennis), born in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. Laver was the worlds number one Tennis player for 7 years. He is the only player to have Twice won all 4 grand slam Tennis titles in the same year. Potentially he could have won 3 or 4 but due to the birth of pro Tennis, was unable to compete in the middle years. Laver is rated the greatest male Tennis player of all time.
....SCORES.... Fitness 4.0, Skill 5.0, Brutality or ROH 0.5, Achievements and dominance 5.0, Impact on their sport 4.5, Longevity 4.5, public image 3/3, sport on a world stage 2/2. TOTAL ..28.5
Michael Jordan (Basket ball), born in Brooklyn, NYC , USA. Jordan's accomplishments include, 5 MVP awards, 14 NBA all-star games and 3 all-star MVP awards, and 6 NBA finals MVP awards to name just a few. He has been rated the greatest Basket ball player of all time.
....SCORES.... Fitness 3.5, Skill 5.0, Brutality or ROH 2.0, Achievements and dominance 5.0, Impact on their sport 5.0, Longevity 4.0, public image 3/3, sport on a world stage 1.0/2. TOTAL.. 28.5
John Eales (Rugby Union), born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Eales is the highest scoring Forward in Rugby history and one of only three forwards to have passed 100 points in history. Nicknamed "Nobody" because Nobody's perfect. Eales 55 match rein as Captain of the Wallabies, marked the most successful time in Australian rugby history. He captured and held every Trophy on offer to his team in the world of rugby at one time, and is one of only a hand full of players to have won 2 world cups.
....SCORES.... Fitness 4.5, Skill 4.0, Brutality or ROH 5.0, Achievements and dominance 3.0, Impact on their sport 3.0, Longevity 3.5, public image 3/3, sport on a world stage 1.5/2. TOTAL.. 27.5
Kelly Slater (Pro surfing), born in Cocoa beach , Florida, USA. No Surfer in the history of the sport has Dominated like Kelly Slater. When he started surfing professionally judges did not know how to score him as he was doing things no other person could do. Slater is an 8 time World champion, and on track to win his ninth this year. He is 36 years old, and still the best surfer in the world today. Many in surfing have claimed he is the greatest sportsman in any sport . Between his eight world titles included a time out of 3 to 4 years where he did not compete. By now he could of won 11 or 12 without that time off.
....SCORES.... Fitness 5.0, Skill 5.0, Brutality or risk of harm 5.0, Achievements and dominance 5.0, impact on their sport 5.0, Longevity 4.5, public image 2.5/3, sport on a world stage 1.0/2. TOTAL.. 33.0
Michael Phelps (Swimmer), born in Baltimore, USA. Phelps has won 14 Olympic gold medals in swimming, and 8 at one Olympics, the most ever achieved. Phelps also holds seven world swimming records. He is already touted as the greatest swimmer ever and by shear numbers alone earn's his place on this list.
....SCORES.... Fitness 5.0, Skill 4.0, Brutality or ROH 0.5, Achievements and dominance 5.0, impact on their sport 4.0, longevity 2.5 (career still running), public image 2.5/3, sport on a world stage 2/2. TOTAL.. 25.5
So there you have it, obviously a lot more sportsmen could be on this list, people like John Eales may have been left out but i tried to cover all the major world sports, i needed a rugby player and he stood out overall to me.
I would rank most other greats higher than Eales but with this system he still came out rather high. I could of put an NFL or NBL player here too obviously, but those sports have little following outside the USA.
Soccer, Cricket, Tennis, Golf, Boxing and Rugby are the major sports of the world, so i tried to have one sportsman from each represented here. Jordan, Gretsky and Slater stood out, so i included them, and i added Phelps for spice.
The abserdity of this is, no-one will ever be the greatest sportsman of all time. It is just stupid to single out any one great athlete, but we do, and we can still have fun with it, so for the purpose of this criteria, these ten athletes came in as follows;
1. Muhammad Ali 33.5
2. Kelly Slater 33.0
3. Rod Laver 28.5
4. Michael Jordan 28.5
5. Donald Bradman 28.0
6. Pele 28.0
7. John Eales 27.5
8. Wayne Gretsky 27.5
9. Jack Nicklaus 25.5
10. Michael Phelps 25.5
Others who could of easily been on this list are; Hermann Meier (skiing), Joe Montana (NFL), Carl Lewis (Athletics), Babe Ruth (Base ball), Jona Lomu (rugby), Sachin Tendulker(cricket), Mark Spitz (swimming), Lance Armstrong (cycling) and Wally Lewis (Rugby League) and many many more.