Olympics

Michael Phelps is Magnificent, But Carl Lewis is the Greatest Olympian of All-Time

Michael Phelps now holds the world record for most Olympic medals with 19. His 2008 Beijing performance – eight goals, eight olympic records and seven world records in eight events – is almost surely the most dominant Olympic performance ever. Greatest Olympian of all-time though? We’re sticking with Carl Lewis.

Two Different Events: Carl Lewis was Earth’s fastest man. He won back to back golds in the 100m in 1984 and 1988. He won gold in the 200m in 1984 and silver in 1988. He was part of two gold-winning 100m relay teams. That wasn’t even his best event. He won four-straight golds in the long jump. That would be like Phelps being what he is as a swimmer AND being the world’s elite 10m platform diver.

Longevity: Carl Lewis won a gold medal in four consecutive Olympics. He qualified to compete in five different Olympics, but was blocked from competing in the 4x100m relay and the long jump as a 19-year-old after the U.S. dropped out of the 1980 Moscow Games. That is impressive in skeet-shooting. This was track and field.

Lewis has a strong case to be considered the greatest athlete of the 20th Century. If only he had not soiled his legacy by throwing a baseball or singing in public.

[Photo via Getty]

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