Ranking the 50 Best Athletes of 2011

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Ranking the 50 Best Athletes of 2011
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Determining the best athlete of 2011 was a tricky process, one that required months of careful study, thousands of computations and a formula that I simply cannot share with you for national security purposes.

But trust me—it's foolproof.

Okay, so a list such as this could never be foolproof, or perfect or anything beyond subjective. And that's what makes it fun. All I can do is give you my criteria for determining this list and then sit back and let the arguments begin.

Here is my criteria: I looked for athletes who most dominated their respective sport, giving special consideration for both those who did so in a historic manner and those who did so with a high level of flair, earning themselves public adoration or fame this year.

And I focused on those achievements that occurred during this calender year (or at least partly, given seasons that are split between years), meaning that some achievements may have been a part of a previous season but were considered because they occurred in 2011.

Let the arguments begin.

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