It’s Aleksander Karelin. You’re wrong if you say otherwise.
Good candidate for second.
Usain Bolt. Sprinting is the purest form of athleticism, everyone in the world has competed in a sprint at one time in their life, there is no need to know any rules or have access to any gyms or equipment. Aleksander Karelin was the best Greco-Roman wrestler ever…which put him at the top of several hundred people who compete at that sport. Usain Bolt is the champion of more than 7 billion people, by an incredible distance.
Bolt doesn’t have a record of 887-2.
Usain Bolt won gold in the 100 m and 200 m in three consecutive Olympics. He beat 9 other racers in three heats, in two individual events on the world stage spaced four years apart. That’s 9x3x2x3 = 162-0 record in Olympic events alone, add up all the world championships and other races and I’m sure he had a 99% win percentage in his prime.
Considering all 7+ billion people in the world have at one time or another competed in a sprint while only a tiny percentage of people understand Greco-Roman wrestling…there’s not a real argument here.
Jim Thorpe was absolutely the most versatile, and quite possibly the best all-around athlete ever.
GOAT athlete when considering it through the lens of a single sport is going to be debatable no matter what. I could argue half a dozen right off hand… and that argument would not be complete without mentioning Serena.
that’s not how winning percentages work.
everyone at one point or another was wrestled with someone else. Karelin is therefore better than 7 billion people on the planet.
Bolt has won silver in various competitions 5 times.
Hence the topic. Because I am bored and looking for a fun discussion.
Also, there is a 6 year streak to consider where Karelin didn’t even get scored on.
Serena is the only other athlete even worthy of discussion against Usain Bolt.
Nobody understands Greco-Roman wrestling. Somebody out there has won 1000 games in a row of hop-scotch, that doesn’t make them the world’s greatest athlete.
Look at this…what the hell happened there?? Somebody won? Looks like a couple guys just kinda handling each other.
Greco-Roman wrestling isn’t particularly difficult to understand.
Don’t attack the legs. There, you can now do Greco-Roman wrestling.
And yes, any hopscotcher can do this to another 286+ pound human being.
Ski racers are freakishly athletic. Mikayla Shiffrin is right up there. Gymnasts as well. Shaun White. Tony Hawk.
Nice troll attempt, well done.
Bill Shoemaker…nearly 9,000 career wins, competed from 1949 to 1990.
End of discussion
Ironman, thanks for reminding me of Karelin. He was so damn unbeatable that when Rulon Gardner beat him in Sydney, it was considered the greatest upset of all time, in any sport, anywhere, surpassing the US Hockey Team in 1980.
That upset by Gardner I think is the greatest sports story EVER, which speaks to the magnitude of how great Karelin was.
This is a great piece of storytelling about the upset.
According to some idiot on Reddit - “They added a rule where breaking a clinch gives the other guy a point. Thats what Gardner won on. He was lying on the mat doing nothing at all to challenge Karelin. Karelin lifts him up a few times, but is unable to spin him around. At some point, his hands slip up just a bit, and Gardner is awarded a point. Gardner wins. Karelin said he wasn’t aware of the rule change but regardless of that he was pretty humble in defeat. That rule change was complete BS anyway.They quickly abandoned the rule in the next world championship.”
Not trolling. Shiffrin will be the greatest slalom racer of all time before she retires. Ski racing is legit.
If you are to measure athlete, shouldn’t it be in multiple sports? Or should it be pure physical prowess, demonstrated above by wrestling GOAT (Karelin), running GOAT (Bolt), skiing GOAT (e.g. Hirscher, Bode, Vonn, Shiffrin?), hitting a tennis ball (Serena?, Federer?), multiple (Thorpe - gold in pentathlon, decathlon, pro football, pro baseball). Is it just physical or also mental? Is chess a sport (haha, trolling, or am I)?
My personal opinion is to be GOAT athlete, you have to transcend not just 1 sport, but be recognized in several and excel/dominate at them. Thorpe fills that category - multiple Olympic events as well as pro sports - most take a lifetime to master their 1 craft, he mastered several.
Np. This is a battle I’ve been fighting for years. And I will die on this hill!