"I knew I was going to hear someone say it, so I braced myself.
Then it happened.
“Michael Phelps is the greatest athlete of all time.”
Every four years when someone does something remarkable in the Olympics, he suddenly becomes the greatest athlete of all time.
But speaking of history, let’s go back to the time of Jacobus Franciscus Thorpe.
Better known as Jim Thorpe, this Native American had a pretty impressive resume.
Let’s see … he won gold medals in the pentathlon and decathlon during the 1912 Stockholm Games.
As a football player he was a running back, defensive back, kicker and punter for his college team, the Carlisle Indians. In a victory over Harvard, he scored all of Carlisle’s points.
He led the team to a national championship in 1912, scoring 25 touchdowns and racking up 198 points.
He also participated in baseball, basketball, lacrosse and track while in college, excelling at all of them.
He went on to play in the National Football League, earning All-Pro honors one season and being named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1920s.
Thorpe played two seasons of professional baseball, and even found time to play pro basketball, starring for a barnstorming team made up entirely of Native Americans.
Oh yeah, he was also a ballroom dancer. And I don’t mean just some guy who could cut a rug while trying to impress the opposite sex, but one who actually won the 1912 intercollegiate ballroom dancing championship."
Get the Story:
Scott Adamson: Be careful when proclaiming someone the greatest athlete of all time
(The Anderson Independent Mail 8/19)