Originally Posted by Smudge
"Greatest Olympian of all time" is always going to be subjective but if you consider time at the top of your game you'd have to put Steve Redgrave (the British rower) on the short list. He won Gold at five consecutive Olympics (1984-2000) which is a pretty hefty achievement for an endurance athlete. True, he competed in a team sport (pairs and fours) but he still had to earn his place in the crew. Imagine Michael Phelps still wining gold in 2020
Its true. Also swimming has a lot more medals that are a lot more accessible to the athletes than other sports, e.g. triathlon has one, running has five at most if you count 100m to 400m and add in relays.
Obviously he's fucking good at what he does, but its still easier to get a high medal count in swimming than other sports. Except show jumping where this year's gold medallist is 75, has missed one Olympics in 40 years and that was because Canada boycotted the Moscow games. But that's not a sport.