Olympics 2021: The 10 greatest Olympians of all time | The Independent

Some create singular seminal moments that ring down many years. Others go away their respective Video games laden with armfuls of medals.

Fashioning such issues right into a coherent countdown of the best ever summer season Olympians is an nearly impossibly subjective activity, however one, right here, that PA Olympics Correspondent Mark Staniforth has tried.

See more: Best olympians of all time

10. Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Arguably the best all-round feminine athlete, Joyner-Kersee proved totally dominant within the heptathlon, by which she secured back-to-back gold medals in 1988 and 1992, and equally adept within the lengthy leap, which she gained in 1988. Additional bronze medals in 1992 and 1996 introduced a profitable finish to Joyner-Kersee’s illustrious profession.

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9. Florence Griffith-Joyner

Few outshone a single Olympics fairly just like the brashly-manicured ‘Flo-Jo’, who gained gold within the 100m, 200m – the latter in a world file time of 21.34secs which nonetheless stands, alongside along with her 100m mark, to today – and relay. Her profession more and more tarnished by unsubstantiated medicine allegations, she died immediately in her sleep in 1998 on the age of 38.

8. Paavo Nurmi

Paavo Nurmi of Finland winning the 5,000 metres
Paavo Nurmi of Finland successful the 5,000 metres (PA Archive)

The irascible Finn stays essentially the most dominant center and long-distance runner in historical past, winner of 9 golds and 12 medals in whole between 1920 and 1928. Completely dismissive of his rivals and his standing as a nationwide hero, Nurmi’s outstanding means was underscored on the 1924 Video games when he gained each 1500m and 5,000m golds inside an area of 90 minutes.

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7. Mark Spitz

Having didn’t reside as much as his personal lofty expectations in 1968, Spitz returned to the Olympic pool 4 years later with renewed intent. In one of the vital dominant passages in sports activities historical past, Spitz bagged seven gold medals – a mark that might stand for 16 years – and set seven world data within the course of, earlier than abruptly retiring on the age of twenty-two.

6. Usain Bolt

Usain Bolt celebrates in London
Usain Bolt celebrates in London (PA Archive)

Anointed by many because the saviour of a sport mired in medicine scandals and quick on stardust, Bolt bestrode the dash occasions, repeating his 100m and 200m victories by three Video games, none extra notable than his 9.69secs success in Beijing in 2008. The flamboyant Jamaican, full together with his well-known ‘Lightning Bolt’ celebration, ended his profession with eight gold medals to his identify.

5. Carl Lewis

Earlier than Bolt got here the equally glamorous Lewis a long-time dominant drive of observe and subject who defended his Olympic 100m title in 1984 and 1988 and in addition claimed 4 consecutive Olympic long-jump golds. Lewis – the beneficiary of Ben Johnson’s disqualification in Seoul – was subsequently pressured to defend himself over the inadvertent use of banned stimulants.

4. Michael Phelps

A regular sight after a Michael Phelps race
A daily sight after a Michael Phelps race (PA Archive)

The statistics say all of it about Phelps, essentially the most embellished Olympian in historical past with 28 medals, together with 13 particular person golds. His eight swimming gold medals in 2008 eclipsed the earlier file of seven set by Spitz. Phelps gained 5 extra gold medals in Rio, bringing down the glittering curtain with a closing victory within the males’s 4x100m medley relay.

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3. Teofilo Stevenson

The Cuban heavyweight reigning supreme within the Olympic boxing ring, successful consecutive gold medals in 1972, 1976 and 1980. Claiming his devotion to Fidel Castro’s trigger, Stevenson rejected all entreaties to show skilled and have interaction in a struggle in opposition to Muhammad Ali. “What’s 1,000,000 {dollars} in opposition to eight million Cubans who love me?” requested Stevenson.

2. Nadia Comaneci

Others gained extra and reigned longer. However few if any attained sporting perfection fairly just like the Romanian 14-year-old, who was so good she broke the scoreboard. The primary gymnast to attain an ideal 10 (the scoreboard learn 1.0) on the uneven bars in Montreal in 1976, Comaneci would win 5 gold medals in whole, making a outstanding legacy earlier than she was even out of her teenagers.

1. Jesse Owens

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Like Comaneci, Owens could not boast the medal haul of lots of his track-and-field successors. However the African-American’s 4 golds – together with two world data – in entrance of Hitler in 1936 carry the burden of so many extra. Owens stood as much as racism and persecution in essentially the most indefatigable vogue, and for that he richly deserves the accolade of the best Olympian of all time.

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