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View Full Version : The Lance Armstrong thread reminded me of a question I was asked...


RNR
07-02-2005, 09:42 AM
The other day a buddy of mine said "Armstrong is the greatest athlete right now" I laughed, at this point he asked me if not him then who? I said I can't give the greatest athlete title to a bike rider. I then drew a total blank on who I would give the title to. So I ask the Planet who is?

I fully expect at least a half dozen Scanlon (sp) replies but would like some real thoughts also

Deberg_1990
07-02-2005, 09:53 AM
The other day a buddy of mine said "Armstrong is the greatest athlete right now" I laughed, at this point he asked me if not him then who? I said I can't give the greatest athlete title to a bike rider. I then drew a total blank on who I would give the title to. So I ask the Planet who is?

I fully expect at least a half dozen Scanlon (sp) replies but would like some real thoughts also


"I said I can't give the greatest athlete title to a bike rider"

If its not Armstrong, then hes definately in the top 3 or so. Contrary to popular belief, Athletics are more than just the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.

PHOG
07-02-2005, 10:00 AM
DJ

RNR
07-02-2005, 10:00 AM
"I said I can't give the greatest athlete title to a bike rider"

If its not Armstrong, then hes definately in the top 3 or so. Contrary to popular belief, Athletics are more than just the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.
That is what got me! right after I said it I drew a total blank! It made me think dang is the best athlete on the planet really a bike rider?

Braincase
07-02-2005, 10:12 AM
It sure as hell ain't Barry Bonds. Ain't Michael Schumacher (if a cyclist isn't the best, then a Formual One racer isn't it). Football players have such a short career relative to others, and as John Kruk once said, "I'm not an athlete, I'm a baseball player".

I'll take Armstrong over the best tennis player or basketball player. I'll take Armstrong over weightlifters or gymnasts or soccer wonks.

All things being equal, strength, endurance and will to win, I don't have a problem with Armstrong.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 10:15 AM
Depends on how you define greatest athelete. On a typical stage, the riders are delivering 400 watts of power for a six to eight hour period. At times they need to deliver upwards of 600 watts. Then do this for 3 weeks solid. To give you an idea what this means, the riders will typically consume 6000 - 7000 calories a day -- yeah, those skinny little bike riders. No other activity even comes close to demanding this kind of energy production over such long periods of time.

If you consider pure speed, strength, or agility as your evaluation criteria, you might come to a different conclusion. But if you are looking at sustained energy output, the tour cyclists are by far the most efficient human energy coversion machines on the planet.

Deberg_1990
07-02-2005, 10:17 AM
Depends on how you define greatest athelete. On a typical stage, the riders are delivering 400 watts of power for a six to eight hour period. At times they need to deliver upwards of 600 watts. Then do this for 3 weeks solid. To give you an idea what this means, the riders will typically consume 6000 - 7000 calories a day -- yeah, those skinny little bike riders. No other activity even comes close to demanding this kind of energy production over such long periods of time.

If you consider pure speed, strength, or agility as your evaluation criteria, you might come to a different conclusion. But if you are looking at sustained energy output, the tour cyclists are by far the most efficient human energy coversion machines on the planet.

Wow, what he said. Armstrong then hands down.

trndobrd
07-02-2005, 10:17 AM
Nobody else is as completely dominant in his or her sport.

B_Ambuehl
07-02-2005, 10:28 AM
Then do this for 3 weeks solid. To give you an idea what this means, the riders will typically consume 6000 - 7000 calories a day -- yeah, those skinny little bike riders. No other activity even comes close to demanding this kind of energy production over such long periods of time.

Scanlon burns more calories then that taking a shit. :)

Personally I would never call an endurance athlete the greatest athlete simply because I have no desire for any of their attributes. The eye is in the beholder. As an athlete myself who was naturally geared towards the "endurance" side of things at 15 years old I could go out and run 3 miles in 18 minutes without training. But I wanted to be fast, powerful, strong, muscular and explosive thus I've never had any respect for endurance attributes.

Transforming from a 120 lb rake natural endurance athlete into someone who could run a 4.4 fourty yard dash, VJ 40 inches, and walk around with some muscularity and a lean body means a lot more to me and athletes who are even more superior on that side of things get a lot more of my respect then some runner or cyclist who can pedal all day long.

Valiant
07-02-2005, 10:30 AM
Peter North???

Valiant
07-02-2005, 10:35 AM
Scanlon burns more calories then that taking a shit. :)

Personally I would never call an endurance athlete the greatest athlete simply because I have no desire for any of their attributes. The eye is in the beholder. As an athlete myself who was naturally geared towards the "endurance" side of things at 15 years old I could go out and run 3 miles in 18 minutes without training. But I wanted to be fast, powerful, strong, muscular and explosive thus I've never had any respect for endurance attributes.

Transforming from a 120 lb rake natural endurance athlete into someone who could run a 4.4 fourty yard dash, VJ 40 inches, and walk around with some muscularity and a lean body means a lot more to me and athletes who are even more superior on that side of things get a lot more of my respect then some runner or cyclist who can pedal all day long.


Umm, Endurance is just one part of biking... Bicylcist have trunks on them for legs... Hell I can squat over 400lbs still just to riding my bike.. I do not do leg workouts...

stevieray
07-02-2005, 10:36 AM
The grandma boxer on the Verizon commercial.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 10:38 AM
Nobody else is as completely dominant in his or her sport.

I think an interesting distinction can be made between being great at your sport and a great athelete. Sport-specific skills can be honed through hours of practice, but these skills don't necessarily translate very well to another activity. One measure of great athleticism is how you compete at another sport. Guys like Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson, and even Michael Jordan have achieved extraordinary levels of competence in more than one sport. I think Jerry Rice in his prime was also a fantastic athelete.

The old ABC show 'Super Stars" was interesting because they brought atheletes from different sports together to compete in common events. Sprints, mile run, swimming, weight lifting, an obstacle course, etc. It seems the NFL RB and WR were always at the top of this competition. I think the combination of power and speed is greatest among NFL atheletes.

The decathalon tries to capture a balance between power and speed as well. However, because of its low profile and amature status, I don't think it attracts the best atheletes to the sport. If the glory and $ were there, I think several NFL atheletes, with a couple years of training in the specific events, could really dominate anyone currently competing in the decathalon.

I would guess that Lance Armstrong would not do particularly well in "Super Stars" or decathalon types of competitions, because they doesn't emphasize what he does best: burn energy over long periods of time.

trndobrd
07-02-2005, 10:45 AM
Scanlon burns more calories then that taking a shit. :)

Personally I would never call an endurance athlete the greatest athlete simply because I have no desire for any of their attributes. The eye is in the beholder. As an athlete myself who was naturally geared towards the "endurance" side of things at 15 years old I could go out and run 3 miles in 18 minutes without training. But I wanted to be fast, powerful, strong, muscular and explosive thus I've never had any respect for endurance attributes.

Transforming from a 120 lb rake natural endurance athlete into someone who could run a 4.4 fourty yard dash, VJ 40 inches, and walk around with some muscularity and a lean body means a lot more to me and athletes who are even more superior on that side of things get a lot more of my respect then some runner or cyclist who can pedal all day long.


The Scanlon and mini-Ditkas aside, there are really two things to consider in "greatest athlete":

1) The ability to force his/her will on the opponent.
Jordan was arguably the greatest basketball player to ever play, but didn't have the highest shooting percentage, vertical, etc. What made him great was, that at the critical point in the competition, he could make his opponent bend to his will. There is no other athelete today that has the ability to break opponents like Armstrong.

2) The complete dominance of his/her sport.
Muhammed Ali was the greatest, not just because he said so, but because the was so far ahead of everyone else that it was stunning. The Tour de France is without a doubt the most continuously physically demanding of any major sporting event. Dude has won it 6 times straight.

Skip Towne
07-02-2005, 10:47 AM
Danica.

Phobia
07-02-2005, 10:54 AM
No disrespect to LA at all, but I think what defines athlete is a combination of speed, quickness, power, coordination, grace, dexterity, and endurance. LA's chosen sport prevents him from showcasing some of those highly weighted attributes such as coordination and dexterity and it camoflauges the power. I'd have a hard time awarding it to LA. In his prime, I'd have to go with Bo Jackson. Best current active athlete? I'm really uncertain. I don't think there is an obvious choice.

B_Ambuehl
07-02-2005, 11:14 AM
Jordan was great simply due to the fact that at 6'6 he was as quick as a 5'10 NFL wide receiver, could jump like an olympic high jumper, and shoot like a Church league white boy. You put all those 3 things together and you have a great athlete.

Ali was great because his arms were as long as a water hose and he was as quick as a cat and fairly strong too.

Armstrong is great mainly because even at 16 years old his Vo2 Max and lactate clearance capacities were in the 99th percentile ever tested at the Cooper clinic in Dallas.

You put genetic attributes like those and combine them with dedication and the right coaching and you have great athletes.

Hell I can squat over 400lbs still just to riding my bike.. I do not do leg workouts...

I'd put up 500 dollars just to see Lance squat 300 lbs ATG. Legs like tree trunks?? Well if you wanna call 21 inch thighs tree trunks :)

beavis
07-02-2005, 11:15 AM
No disrespect to LA at all, but I think what defines athlete is a combination of speed, quickness, power, coordination, grace, dexterity, and endurance.
If that's how you want to judge it. If you were to judge it based on dominance in the athletes sport, it'd have to be Lance hands down.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 11:20 AM
Scanlon burns more calories then that taking a shit. :)

Personally I would never call an endurance athlete the greatest athlete simply because I have no desire for any of their attributes. The eye is in the beholder. As an athlete myself who was naturally geared towards the "endurance" side of things at 15 years old I could go out and run 3 miles in 18 minutes without training. But I wanted to be fast, powerful, strong, muscular and explosive thus I've never had any respect for endurance attributes.

Transforming from a 120 lb rake natural endurance athlete into someone who could run a 4.4 fourty yard dash, VJ 40 inches, and walk around with some muscularity and a lean body means a lot more to me and athletes who are even more superior on that side of things get a lot more of my respect then some runner or cyclist who can pedal all day long.

Stage racing is not a pure endurance sport. Let's look at power output of various atheletic accomplishments to demonstrate the point:

100 m dash in 10 sec: 1600 W
rowing 500m in (1 min 20 sec): 694 W
405 kg dead lift (2 sec): 794 W
265 kg clean lift (0.9 sec): 2600 W
Sustained mountain climb on bike (30 min): 600 W
Sprinter at end of Tour stage (10 sec): 1900 W

If you think that 600 W isn't much power, go to your health club and get on one of the exercise bikes and see how long you can hold 600 W. Or see if you can max out the watt meter even for a short burst. I think you will get a new appreciation for the power these guys deliver.

I would guess Cipollini (who is the basis of the 1900 W output for a sprint) has a pretty decent vertical jump and could turn a pretty good 40 time.

You can certainly make an agruement that other criteria shold be used for evaluating greatest athelete, but you can't easily exclude cyclists on the basis of power output.

Braincase
07-02-2005, 11:31 AM
If you want to base "greatest athlete" based on the ability to run sprints and endurance, jump high, long and with a pole, throw a spear, discus and small cannonballs, here's your guy... (http://www.rediff.com/sports/2004/aug/24oly-ath12.htm)

Phobia
07-02-2005, 11:38 AM
If that's how you want to judge it. If you were to judge it based on dominance in the athletes sport, it'd have to be Lance hands down.

Being a great athlete doesn't have anything to do with winning or losing, IMO. There are different categories for "competitors", "students of the game", and other intangibles. Joe Montana was no athlete, but he sure did dominate the QB position for many years. I judge athletic prowess on pure athletic ability.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 11:38 AM
If you want to base "greatest athlete" based on the ability to run sprints and endurance, jump high, long and with a pole, throw a spear, discus and small cannonballs, here's your guy... (http://www.rediff.com/sports/2004/aug/24oly-ath12.htm)

His competition does not include the best strength-speed athletes in the world: NFL players. I bet Terrell Owens, for example, could clean his clock if he trained for the events for a couple of years.

redhed
07-02-2005, 11:39 AM
It used to be that the "World's Greatest Athlete" title went to the guy who won the Decathalon in the Olympics or World Championships. I don't know wtf that is right now. I've always thought that was a good measuring stick, but it's usu a buncha guys I've never heard of.
LA is no doubt an incredible athlete, but his sport is so specialized, it doesn't compare well with others.
I'd like to give the title to somebody who doesn't use a highly technical piece of equip. as a means. Maybe a track person (runner), weightlifter, or (I can't) soccer mullet.



/big time LA fan

B_Ambuehl
07-02-2005, 11:51 AM
Stage racing is not a pure endurance sport. Let's look at power output of various atheletic accomplishments to demonstrate the point:

100 m dash in 10 sec: 1600 W
rowing 500m in (1 min 20 sec): 694 W
405 kg dead lift (2 sec): 794 W
265 kg clean lift (0.9 sec): 2600 W
Sustained mountain climb on bike (30 min): 600 W
Sprinter at end of Tour stage (10 sec): 1900 W

If you think that 600 W isn't much power, go to your health club and get on one of the exercise bikes and see how long you can hold 600 W. Or see if you can max out the watt meter even for a short burst. I think you will get a new appreciation for the power these guys deliver.

I would guess Cipollini (who is the basis of the 1900 W output for a sprint) has a pretty decent vertical jump and could turn a pretty good 40 time.

I train athletes for a living so I have a pretty good idea what attributes are required in the various sports. I'm not sure about a cyclist, but the the average high level marathon runner has a vertical jump of about 12 inches. :) If Lance Armstrong could keep up with the KC Chiefs offensive line in a sprint I'd be suprised. Simply put, the energy systems are entirely different. That's not to say that being able to put out a high power output in th epresence of lactate isn't impressive, but just that I don't have near the respect for it as someone who is superior in shorter bursts simply because the former is much more succeptible to training influence and the latter is much more innate.

In other words, you can learn to extend speed and power out to further distances but you can not convert endurance into speed and power. You can take ANY person with 2 functional legs and a heartbeat and have them running a marathon inside of 1 year. Maybe not to the level of the 1% elite but competitive nonetheless You CANNOT take the marathon runner and have him ever running a 4.3 fourty yard dash and so forth. One who is able to achieve a high level of improvement in speed/power dominated sports has truly defied nature.

Dave Lane
07-02-2005, 12:23 PM
He is. Nothing is more difficult than what he does. It unbelievable after cancer that almost killed him to be this good.

Dave

Dave Lane
07-02-2005, 12:25 PM
You CANNOT take the marathon runner and have him ever running a 4.3 fourty yard dash and so forth. One who is able to achieve a high level of improvement in speed/power dominated sports has truly defied nature.


I call BS on this one. In your opinion this maybe true but not impossible at all.

Dave

Phobia
07-02-2005, 12:30 PM
I call BS on this one. In your opinion this maybe true but not impossible at all.

Dave

Bah - I'm gonna have to agree with the guy. I'm in the top 1% of speedsters and can't quite achieve a 4.3. I don't think you could take a distance runner and make a world class sprinter out of him.

B_Ambuehl
07-02-2005, 12:31 PM
So you're saying you can take a marathon runner and turn them into an olympic caliber sprinter. Give me an example? And why is it that in track and field you always go up in distance instead of down in distance? For example, if you're too slow to be competitive in the 100 try the 200. Too slow to run the 200 try the 400. Too slow to run the 400 run the 800. Too slow to run the 800 run the 1600. Too slow to run the 1600 run a marathon. I'll tell you why, it's because it's a lot easier to extend speed out to further distances then it is to develop more speed.

Phobia
07-02-2005, 12:35 PM
So you're saying you can take a marathon runner and turn them into an olympic caliber sprinter. Give me an example? And why is it that in track and field you always go up in distance instead of down in distance? For example, if you're too slow to be competitive in the 100 try the 200. Too slow to run the 200 try the 400. Too slow to run the 400 run the 800. Too slow to run the 800 run the 1600. Too slow to run the 1600 run a marathon. I'll tell you why, it's because it's a lot easier to extend speed out to further distances then it is to develop more speed.

No kidding. If an individual can run a 4.3 40, they're never going to attempt longer distance competition. It's human nature.

It might be possible with some Kenyan who has never competed, maybe. But I don't see it.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 12:36 PM
B_Ambuehl: An elite sprinter, power lifter, maratoner, or cyclist is a combination of genetics, scientific training, and dedication. Certain genetic features have to be there for excellence in any sport: VO2 max, fast-twitch vs. slow-twitch muscle fibers, etc. It is true that you can't take an elite marathoner and make them a great sprinter. But the converse is also true: you can't take an elite sprinter and train them to be a great marathoner. The genetics just aren't there. I don't think one accomplishment is any greater than another. You can respect one more than another but I don't think one is more innate than the other. To be world class in anything it takes a combination of genetics and hard work.

Now, cycling is nothing like marathon running. Marathon runners have a near constant energy output over the entire race. Great marathoners are cut from pretty much the same cloth, you want a predominance of slow-twitch muscle fibers. In contrast, there are specialists in cycling. Some are great sprinters and can tip the scales at 200 lbs. Others are mountain specialists and may go less than 130 lb. Only a few like Armstrong can compete for the overall title. The sprinters in cycling are fast-twitch muscle guys. They completely tank in the mountain stages and time trials: their bodies are just not made to do well in those events no matter how hard they train. Yet to get a chance to sprint for the victory, they have to train well enough to keep up with the world-class endurance-style riders that make up the majority of the peleton. This is where drafting and team tactics come into play. But even to keep up with the pack, these fish-out-of-water sprinters have to be exceptional endurance athletes: very few people have the genetic material to achieve such a feat even if they train hard enough.

In the same way, Lance Armstrong could never be a top sprinter even if he wanted to be. He probably sprints better than 70-80 per cent of the field, but no amount of training would put him at the level of Cipollini.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 12:39 PM
Has there ever been an olymic sprinter (200 m or less) who has finished in the top-10 of a major marathon (NYC, Boston, Olympic, etc)?

I think these are two different body types and you can't excel at both.

B_Ambuehl
07-02-2005, 01:13 PM
I use "marathon runer" as a general term to signify an event requiring hardcore endurance.

Has there ever been an olymic sprinter (200 m or less) who has finished in the top-10 of a major marathon (NYC, Boston, Olympic, etc)?

No probably not partly because most olympic sprinters would likely be too lazy to run, much less train, over such a long distance (seriously). However you do see athletes with those attributes (NFL players in their offseason etc.) running distance recreationally and being quite competitive. You do not see the opposite, (distance athletes running sprints recreationally). My main point is that faster to slower is more succeptible to training influence then slower to faster. Fast to slow muscle fiber conversions (IIX to IIA) are the norm in humans...slow to fast does not occur to the same extent. You see supbar 100 m runners becoming excellent 200 m specialists but not the oppsosite, subpar 200 m runners becoming excellent 400 m specialists but not the opposite, subpar 400 meters converting to 1600, supbar 1600 runners converting to distance etc. The longer the distance the more endurance and the less genetic reliance (within certain parameters).

What's also really interesting is the personality type differences between the 2 extremes. Distance athletes often tend to be neurotic and obsessive as hell. Power/speed athletes tend to be lazy as hell except for when they're in training (note the most popularity form of entertainment for NFL players - Madden football) :)

Phobia
07-02-2005, 01:15 PM
BA,
I've enjoyed reading your expertise today. For whatever that's worth.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 02:08 PM
B_Ambuehl:

I do agree that there is an absolute limit as to how fast someone can get.

But I think your definition of competitve between marathons and 100 m dash is comparing apples to oranges. Marathons are mass competition events. The 100 m sprint at a track meet is not. So even to get to the starting line of a sprint you are talking about 1:100,000 in terms of speed. So competitive in a marathon, needs to be defined pretty tightly. Lets call a world class performace sub 2:20. Do you have examples of sprinters or NFL players turning in those kinds of performances?

Donger
07-02-2005, 02:21 PM
The other day a buddy of mine said "Armstrong is the greatest athlete right now" I laughed, at this point he asked me if not him then who? I said I can't give the greatest athlete title to a bike rider. I then drew a total blank on who I would give the title to. So I ask the Planet who is?

I fully expect at least a half dozen Scanlon (sp) replies but would like some real thoughts also

Depends on how you define it, of course. He's without doubt the greatest cyclist right now, and has been for some time. I'm still not convinced he's the greatest cyclist of all time, however.

tk13
07-02-2005, 02:33 PM
I think we're overlooking the mental aspect of it, but maybe some people don't consider the mental angle part of being an athlete. I guess that's part of the argument Sure you could train a lot of people to be a distance runner, but how many people really have the fortitude to train at the level necessary to become truly elite? Very few people I'd say. If it were really that easy you think somebody would've just trained hard enough to beat Lance Armstrong one of these last 6 years. But it doesn't work that way. Sure having natural genetic speed is rare, but apparently so is building up the endurance to defeat Lance Armstrong. What's the difference? I think considering all he's overcome to be able to dominate his sport so well, he's definitely right up there as a top athlete, if not the best.

Phobia
07-02-2005, 03:03 PM
I don't think the fact that LA has overcome cancer should enter into the equasion of "best athlete". Sure, you can respect his grit, but it's really irrelevent unless you're appealing to the emotional side.

tk13
07-02-2005, 03:07 PM
I don't think the fact that LA has overcome cancer should enter into the equasion of "best athlete". Sure, you can respect his grit, but it's really irrelevent unless you're appealing to the emotional side.
Well I think it speaks to his mental toughness, although I can understand why it shouldn't be brought into this argument. Regardless, that has nothing to do with the fact that nobody has been able to train well enough to beat him...

kchero
07-02-2005, 03:18 PM
In my opinion if you are judging the best athlete based on only athletic ability (speed, strenght, endurance) than it would have to easily go to an individual who does an individual sport such as long distance running or long distance cycling (i.e. Lance Armstrong). Team sport individuals recieve breaks and only play a certain aspect of the game in their respected sport. Whereas, long distance runners and cyclists have to do the whole thing themselves based on their own strenght, speed and endurance. Therefore I would award it to one of those individuals and since Lance Armstrong has basically won his sports respected championship (Tour de France....er...Lance) then you have to give this award to him. You have to admit he is one hell of an athlete.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 03:58 PM
In my opinion if you are judging the best athlete based on only athletic ability (speed, strenght, endurance) than it would have to easily go to an individual who does an individual sport such as long distance running or long distance cycling (i.e. Lance Armstrong). Team sport individuals recieve breaks and only play a certain aspect of the game in their respected sport. Whereas, long distance runners and cyclists have to do the whole thing themselves based on their own strenght, speed and endurance. Therefore I would award it to one of those individuals and since Lance Armstrong has basically won his sports respected championship (Tour de France....er...Lance) then you have to give this award to him. You have to admit he is one hell of an athlete.

Don't discount the team aspect of stage racing. Lance plays the critical role on his team, but aside from the individual time-trials it is still essentially a team sport. In flat stages his team controls the pace, chases down breakaways containing other contenders, and blocks the wind for him so he can rest (i.e. cycle at less than maximum effort and still keep the pace).. On mountain stages they do all this plus set the pace up the early part of the climb. This latter advantage is mostly psychological, but essential none the less.

cdcox
07-02-2005, 04:05 PM
Depends on how you define it, of course. He's without doubt the greatest cyclist right now, and has been for some time. I'm still not convinced he's the greatest cyclist of all time, however.

Greatest tour rider, yes. But Lance has focused on winning the Tour to the exclusion of nearly all other races. Greatest cyclist would have to go to Eddie Merckx. He won 5 tours and about a gabillion other races in between. He didn't want to win, he wanted to annialate every other rider in the peleton. They didn't call him The Badger for nothing. Second place would go to Berard Hinault who also won 5 tours and numerous other races. After thost two, Lance could enter consideration.

RNR
07-03-2005, 09:46 AM
Several imformed replies, I still have no idea who the greastest is. However I can not give the title to a guy who rides a bike.

Simplex3
07-03-2005, 10:23 AM
Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth. Guys that changed their respective sport forever. I'd have to say Lance Armstrong is one of those guys and he's the only one that's active.

redhed
07-03-2005, 10:37 AM
Helloooo!?! It's Bruce freaking Jenner!
Either him or Greg Louganis.
Or maybe Bruce Lee.


/back to drinkin'









coffee, that is...

RNR
07-03-2005, 10:38 AM
Wayne Gretsky, Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth. Guys that changed their respective sport forever. I'd have to say Lance Armstrong is one of those guys and he's the only one that's active.
When I think of the word "athlete" Gretsky or Ruth don't come to mind. They were great players in their sports. Jordan was a great athlete and a great player in his sport. Bo Jackson was a great athlete and a great player. Right now I can not think of a great athlete playing a sport who is so talented to get the title "greatest athlete"

Valiant
07-03-2005, 11:26 AM
I train athletes for a living so I have a pretty good idea what attributes are required in the various sports. I'm not sure about a cyclist, but the the average high level marathon runner has a vertical jump of about 12 inches. :) If Lance Armstrong could keep up with the KC Chiefs offensive line in a sprint I'd be suprised. Simply put, the energy systems are entirely different. That's not to say that being able to put out a high power output in th epresence of lactate isn't impressive, but just that I don't have near the respect for it as someone who is superior in shorter bursts simply because the former is much more succeptible to training influence and the latter is much more innate.

In other words, you can learn to extend speed and power out to further distances but you can not convert endurance into speed and power. You can take ANY person with 2 functional legs and a heartbeat and have them running a marathon inside of 1 year. Maybe not to the level of the 1% elite but competitive nonetheless You CANNOT take the marathon runner and have him ever running a 4.3 fourty yard dash and so forth. One who is able to achieve a high level of improvement in speed/power dominated sports has truly defied nature.


I rode a bike as a kid all out for speed... I did the 400m and 1600m dash in 53 and 4.52... You are confusing bikers with endurance runners... There may be better athletes, but not many.. LA averaged 33 mph yesterday for over a hour thru hills, endurance does not get you that alone... You have to have strength and speed also... He is not a little Nigerian cross country runner...

Valiant
07-03-2005, 11:29 AM
Don't discount the team aspect of stage racing. Lance plays the critical role on his team, but aside from the individual time-trials it is still essentially a team sport. In flat stages his team controls the pace, chases down breakaways containing other contenders, and blocks the wind for him so he can rest (i.e. cycle at less than maximum effort and still keep the pace).. On mountain stages they do all this plus set the pace up the early part of the climb. This latter advantage is mostly psychological, but essential none the less.


This is true, but for the last three years with him losing members and forming teams to beat him he is still coming out on top...

Valiant
07-03-2005, 11:31 AM
Of course now that i think about it.. maybe pocket hercules is the best athlete in the world... weighs 136 lbs... clean and jerk of 473 lbs...

Demonpenz
07-03-2005, 04:37 PM
for just wow factor speed strenth jumping cordination footwork balance i would say amaire stouldmaire from the suns. The guy is amazing how fast he can get up. He would make a great Tight end for sure

Rain Man
07-03-2005, 04:52 PM
Michael Vick. If not him, then Terrell Owens or maybe Yao Ming.

Count Zarth
07-03-2005, 04:58 PM
How about Ichiro? Dude could hit 40 HRs if he wanted to.

Rausch
07-03-2005, 05:01 PM
Of course now that i think about it.. maybe pocket hercules is the best athlete in the world... weighs 136 lbs... clean and jerk of 473 lbs...

I've never heard of the guy.

Let that be a lesson to everyone: never pick a fight with a stranger at the bar...