hmmm...before we react, we need to know first the criteria in choosing for this title ( the Greatest Olympian Ever )...
he deserved with that great title of greatness. We dont make him to be but he made and proved himself to be the greatest. congrats and salutes
He is definitely the greatest Olympian ever. Despite all the ups and downs he has been too.
The 19 medals prove his greatness and legacy without any doubt.
Greatest Olympian ever, in my opinion, is Jesse Owens. He may not have been the most decorated Olympian of all time, but he faced discrimination and segregation at home and open hostility in Berlin, yet still triumphed in 1936.
hell no he isnt. drug cheat.
I think he is. The amount of training he puts in to the sport and the execution at the olympics needs to be recognised. Swimming is a hard sport and I think he really showed that he could bounce back after the last three years and prove to the world that he still has it in him!
People say that Michael Phelps is the greatest athlete/Olympian ever because of the amount of medals he has. But it isn't just that. His motivation to swim, to be the best, and to win are all factors in what makes Phelps a superb athlete. Over the years, there have been moments when Phelps was not on top of his game and messed up, but hey, he is not superhuman. At the same time, there have been many moments when we've seen Phelps at the top of his game...and that shows that he is a great athlete.
Also, the number of medals isn't the only thing that makes him who he is. The number of records he has set and the fact that he is soaring higher than any other athlete has makes him one of the greatest Olympic athletes ever. Up until Beijing, Phelps probably worked harder than anyone, and proved to the USA, and to the world that his hard work paid off. All that work he put into his training came out in the pool and now makes him recognized as the greatest olympic athlete of all time. It wasn't just the visual game, but it was the mental stuff too. The way he thinks about what he has to do, the way he thinks about what he has done, and the amount of motivation and drive he has to succeed are such inspirational attributes that inspire young athletes everywhere to strive to be as great as him and to be the best they can be. THAT is what makes Michael Phelps such a superb athlete and such an AMAZING Olympian. :)
I think some may say that Michael Phelps is the greatest olympian of all time and that some may say that he is the greatest athlete of all time. Both of those statements are true. The fact is that the greatest athlete and greatest olympian combined is someone who wins, but also has a strong passion for their sport. And I believe Michael Phelps has that whole package. Sure, he loses races, but that only goes to show that he is human. Everyone makes mistakes. Those mistakes cost him medals but also gave him motivation to come back and win other events. And making a comeback after a loss is the greatest attribute of any great athlete or olympian. It shows that they have great passion and have the ability to move on and move forward.
To everyone who, disapproves the fact that Michael Phelps, is the greatest olympian ever:
You guys are saying its easy to win more medals in swimming because of the number of events. But, did you at any time realize to be on final, Michael, had to swim the heats, semi-final and the final? In Beijing, he swam a total of 17 times ( 3 relays, heats and final for 400IM, and heats, semi-final & final for the remaining 4 individual events). I don't think you guys understand how tiring and challenging this was, especially when he was done finals around 9.30pm and had to be back the next day at 10am for heats. Not to exclude the stress and pressure he had to face, because the eyes of the whole world were on him. However, he showed what he is really made of by winning 8 out of 8.
It is very easy to come and to disapprove that he is not the greatest olympian ever, but has anyone of you have ever got a SINGLE olympic medal? Very unlikey!! Try first getting one in swimming, then you will realize how HARD it is.
And yeah, perhaps in 10, 20 years or even a century later someone might even win more medals at the olympics, BUT for now he is the ONLY one, who has won 19 medals and this indeed makes Michael the GREATEST olympian of all times.
The greatest olympian ever, would be someone who not only has the most medals but has shown character away from the sport also. Someone that kids growing into the sport would want to emulate.
Mark Spitz comes to my mind as a great olympic athlete, even Bruce Jenner. I personally don't think the number of medals much matters, it's the athlete themselves that make the country proud and the medals don't hurt.
I agree with Bryan B that there are many more opportunities to medal in swimming than virtually every other sport. My opinion is that Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens are greater Olympians than Phelps. However, just to be mentioned in the same sentence with those two is an incredible achievement.
What an utterly inane article. CNN needs to hire some journalists apparently.
He's just a swimmer. I would pick anyone doing the decathlon, from Thorpe to Jenner.
Jim Thorpe was the greatest and that was before styroids!!
Micheal Phelps is a great swimmer but a complete douche as an individual. You can't take anything away from his acheivement. The greatest olympian guestion is a joke. Perhaps he will eventually grow in to a true man instead of being the lazy c*%ks^(#er he is right now. And then he might get credit for doing something other than laps in a pool.
Michael is the greatest but JimThorpe is the second greatest.
Greatest Olympian?? Are you serious, He is a swimmer and Like BB says there are so many opportunities in that sport. Maybe the greatest swimming olympian or most decorated but greatest olympian??? Man, don't believe the hype. Maybe if he won gold in 2 - 3 different sports or the Triathlon 3 olympics in a row then you could give someone that title. What a joke!!!
How about Clara Hughes who has several medals in both winter and summer Olympics?
Best Olympian ever? Some might say...
Most Decorated? Without a doubt.
@Bryan: Agree to an extent. Yes swimming provides a ton of opportunity for hardware. But look at his performance IN his field. He has blown most of the other world class athletes away, with 15 golds and numerous shattered WR's. He just set the bar for everyone else, period. That makes him the greatest ever, to this point.
Someone will come along and get more medals in 10 or 20 years. it always happens
The fact that he has won so many medals is a great personal achievement, but it does not necessarily make him the greatest Olympian. In the sport of swimming there are so many more opportunities to medal than in other sports. For example, if you play soccer, you could be the best in the world, but you can only win one medal.
At 100 meters in swimming you have the backstroke, breaststroke, fly, and freestyle. Repeated again at 50 meters, and 200 meters, etc. Then add on the relays and medley events. Compare it to track. At 100 meters you have one race, not 4. You could make an arguement for the 110 metre hurdles but still... There are no 50 meter races, no 4x200 meter relay, and no medleys. Maybe if they let track athletes run races backwards or hop down the track somebody like Bolt could win 8 gold medals in one olympics but the fact is they don't.
Good on him for doing so well over the years but to be the greatest olympian it is about making the most of the opportunity you are provided. There are many other athletes who have done just that but never had the opportunity to win as many medals as you can get in the sport of swimming.