April 18, 2013, by Gertjan Vriend
Who is the Best Athlete of All Time? ESPN did thorough research, mobilized their viewers to vote and came up with…Bo Jackson. To be honest, I never heard of him. So I looked into him a little bit, and his story is pretty impressive. Being an All Star in two major American Sports, that’s good. But the best athlete of all time? How do you decide that?
ESPN’s methods a very advanced, but I couldn’t help noticing that the vast majority of athletes is from the United States. Two Brazilians, a Canadian and one tennis player from Switzerland do not compare to the 12 picks from the U.S., most of them athletes in typical American sports like American Football, Baseball and Basketball. While there is something to say for all of them, I wonder where Sven Kramer, Johan Cruijff and Fanny Blankers-Koen are in this list, because there’s also definitely something to say for these Dutch heroes. And talking about Blankers-Koen, where there any female athletes on ESPN’s shortlist? Because if they can make advanced comparisons, I’m sure they can overcome the gender issue.
In short. Even with all the high-tech methods used to compare all these athletes, across disciplines and time. This list is still totally biased. And that might just be the beauty of it. Questioning ESPN’s methods, debating about who should have been on the list, or should have won makes you read and watch into the lives and careers of great sportsmen. And taught me who Bo Jackson was (and Anderson Silva, Mark Allen, Willie Mays, Jim Brown and Dale Earnhardt Sr.. All of these I also didn’t know).
In our 162 class at GCE we’ll be making our very own list of greatest athletes of all time. Bo Jackson did not make it on the shortlist (no one from the Netherlands either). So even though Bo was a fantastic cross disciplined athlete, within two week we will publish a brand new name on this blog. GCE’s pick for All Time Greatest Athlete! Let the debate begin!