Michael Phelps - greatest of all time
An Olympic historian challenged the idea that Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all-time and argued for discus thrower Al Oerter! He must not have ever swum a lap before. Does anyone not think MP is greatest ever? http://sports.yahoo.com/news/why-a-discus-thrower-might-be-a-greater-olympian-than-michael-phelps-213423088.html
I would say he is the greatest swimmer of all time
Thanks for sharing @Rob. Interesting! I think Phelps will go down as the greatest Olympian of all time.
The article does make a good point though. If we're talking dominance, I would also consider Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin. He not only won gold in Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta, but also went undefeated for 13 years without allowing an opponent a single point for six of them.
It's definitely helped Phelps that he was part of the greatest swim team of all time in terms of all the relay medals. Imagine a swimmer as talented as Phelps from a small non-swimming country. Wouldn't have won nearly as many medals. Another thing to consider is the breadth of a performance at one Olympics. Speedskater Eric Heiden won five golds at all distances at the 84 Lake Placid Winter Olympics from sprint to 10K races. No one could ever do that today. His might be greatest performance of all time at one Olympics?
Sadly, Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He's also a grade A douchebag.