Top 3 females ever; (1) Paula Newby Fraser, (2) Natasha Badman, (3) Chrissie Wellington
Top 3 Males ever; (1)Mark Allen, (2) Dave Scott, (3 tie) Craig Alexander or Peter Ried
Im not basing my judgement on just numbers - but dominance in their respective era's and then weighing that up against each other.
Btw, does chrissie's DNS count as a loss? or her non-DQ count? ;-) [trolled]
PNF hands down. winning a couple times is great, but Chrissie peaked, then was done with it mentally. PNF won again and again and again, year after year after year. Chrissie was an amazing flash, but PNF did it over an extended period of time - now THAT makes for the greatest ever.
Agreed that results should be one of the key criterion considered, but the question is who was the greatest athlete -not who had the best record (that's easy, PNF). On many levels at Ironman, Dave shattered the mystery of possibility, and that is a big deal. The only question that remained for the pros to follow was, could THEY do it.
It can't be Dave Scott. His first few wins was against no other "Professional".
It can't be Chrissy. She has not been tested over time like the others in the example. 4 or 5 yrs only. Dave, mark and PNF were there for 10yrs.
So it comes down to Mark and PNF.
I'd give it to PNF on her win number.
Newby-Fraser won 24 Ironman races and 8 World Championships.
Chrissy has only won 13 Ironman.
Dave Scott is the greatest Ironman athlete of all time. In Hawaii, he was the first under 10 hrs, 9 hrs, and 8:30. Much of what he accomplished was achieved without the benefits of triathlon coaching, training camps, consultants, engineered nutrition, aero equipment OR compression socks. When you combine the record with his pioneering spirit, his pure athletic ability (think 2:45 marathon in Kona at age 42), and his longevity -for my money there is Dave, a select group of 3 or 4 behind him, then everybody else...
It's tough to not vote for Dave Scott or Mark Allen, but Chrissie has never lost and ironman-distance race in her whole career, 13-0 - that's just amazing. Combine that record along with her finishing times, dominating against the women's field, and making most of the male pros look like age-groupers out there. I'm just sad we won't get to see her racing in Kona anymore, a huge loss for the sport. But she will be missed more by our sport off the course - or hopefully she's remain a great ambassador - I can't tell you how much it meant to a challenged athlete that is a good friend's niece when she got to meet her at a CAF triathlon - Chrissie is a special athlete and a very special person!
I Agree that Chrissie is a phenomenal athlete but we are not comparing apples to apples here - I could only imagine how awesome all the other athletes would have been with the equipment and knowledge that we have today.