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bigross86
03 Nov 11,, 19:45
Add Kelly Slater to list of dominant champs in any sport (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/03/SPOD1LPNVP.DTL)


Bruce Jenkins Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Something magical happened," Kelly Slater told the crowd in his moment of triumph, and he spoke not just for himself, but for the nearly 2,000 people who showed up at Ocean Beach on Wednesday to watch one of history's greatest athletes clinch his 11th world title on the pro surfing tour.

Slater was carried up the beach on the shoulders of two friends, having won his Round 3 heat in the Rip Curl Pro Search event to clinch at least ninth place in the event, which mathematically secures the world title. A constant refrain could be heard from longtime members of the Bay Area surf community: "I can't believe it happened here."

Ocean Beach will never be a popular destination among travel-minded surfers. With its punishing surf, shifting currents and utter unpredictability, it's not even on many locals' radar. But it came to life in all its autumnal glory Wednesday, with balmy weather, offshore winds and gorgeous, blue-green waves up to eight feet on the face.

"Look at this," said Slater, surveying the breadth of Ocean Beach to the south. "The whole beach is just going off."

Just two days before, Slater stood at the site in cold, gloomy conditions and pictured "a ghost town" when the contest began. "I literally wondered if anyone would show up," he said. "And I didn't know what to expect. I'd been hearing all these rumors about people (grumpy locals) messing with the event. But everybody's been so cool. The turnout was incredible. I've had kids coming up to me saying, 'I'm so stoked to have you at our home break.' It's a very special time."

Most special of all, perhaps, is Slater's place in sports history. It may startle you to realize this, but by significant measure - absolute dominance over a long period of time - he is the greatest athlete of all time.

Slater won his first world championship in 1992, and his 2011 title - at the age of 39 - marks a 20-year span. Only briefly, during that entire time, has anyone been considered even close to Slater in reputation and competitive performance. That was the late Andy Irons, a three-time world champion who died of heart failure a year ago Wednesday.

Irons won his three titles consecutively (2002 to '04), but in two of those years Slater was in semi-retirement and not a presence on tour. And it's safe to say that at no point in those 20 years, no matter what the circumstances, did Slater lose his global reputation as the world's best.

Who else can say that? Not Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Muhammad Ali or Roger Federer. Most of the great ones were immersed in rivalries: Ali-Joe Frazier, Federer-Rafael Nadal, Jack Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer, Magic Johnson-Larry Bird. And even among those who had no peers - the likes of Woods, Jordan and Gretzky - the dominance wasn't sustained for 20 years.

The subject of pure athletic ability is a matter of personal taste. Most would find it distasteful to bring a surfer into any conversation that concerns hitting a baseball, carrying a football into a den of violence, or standing up to 12 rounds of prizefight punishment. The comparisons hardly seem appropriate.

On the other hand, give me any living athlete in the pantheon of his sport, and let me unveil some Slater footage: dropping into a 20-foot Pipeline wave, winning the prestigious Eddie Aikau event at Waimea Bay, taking on the almost mythically dangerous reef break at Teahupo'o, Tahiti. I'll guarantee you that person's mind will be blown. Slater may have finessed his way to glory in front of the Ocean Beach crowd, but this is a serious, relentless competitor in life-threatening conditions as extreme as any sport can provide.

Fittingly, there was high drama to Slater's Round 3 heat against Australia's Dan Ross, who had the lead until the last four minutes. At that point, Slater needed a score of 6.88 (on a scale of 10) to win the man-on-man heat. At about the 3:45 mark, he picked off an ordinary wave and tore it apart with a sequence of strong, well-timed maneuvers. "Not a great wave," someone remarked in the press area, "until Kelly made it great."

With about a minute to go, the judges' score came through: 7.60. Ross was fully capable of taking back the lead, but with the seconds counting down and the sea gone quiet, he never got the chance.

Whisked onto a podium for interviews, Slater heard many questions about his age. "To me, it's literally just a number," he said. "You see people 100 years old and you can't believe they lived that long, but to them, it's not baffling. I don't see why at 50 I can't be in better shape than I am right now. I think I'm going to be. That's what I'd like to represent. I mean, 39 is young to half the people in this world."

As he talked, everyone took a glance back at the ocean. After hours and hours of pure conditions, the wind was changing. Just a slight hint of onshore flow.

For the fanciful at heart, it was something magical, a sign that nothing could change until Slater clinched his title, the power of which would draw those contrary winds toward shore like a magnet.

Naturally, that's not what really happened. No way, right? Of course not.

Best of the best

To be at the top of your sport for two decades, as Kelly Slater has been for surfing, is hard to imagine. Here are some other athletes who dominated their sports, and how long they were able to sustain that dominance (years approximate in some cases):

Tiger Woods, golf: 12 years

Roger Federer, tennis: 8 years

Wayne Gretzky, hockey: 10 years

Bill Russell, NBA: 13 years

Michael Jordan, NBA: 8 years

Jerry Rice, NFL: 10 years

Edwin Moses, 400-meter hurdles: 10 years

Eddy Merckx, cycling: 12 years

Alexander Karelin, Greco-Roman wrestling heavyweight: 13 years

Carl Lewis, long jump: 16 years

Babe Ruth, baseball: 13 years

Pele, soccer: 13 years

Michael Schumacher, Formula 1: 11 years

YellowFever
03 Nov 11,, 20:22
Yeah but being the greatest surfer is just slightly above being the best Cricket player in the world.

It just doesn't matter.

bigross86
03 Nov 11,, 20:24
Dude, do you know what kind of shape you need to be in and skills you need to have to be an even halfway decent surfer? Besides, look at that list, how many people have dominated their sport for 20 years?

YellowFever
03 Nov 11,, 20:42
Who's the greatest mountain climber in the world?

Who's the greatest nose picker in the world?

Anything that Frankie Avalon did with Annette Funicello while trying to get into her pants is not sports.

Doktor
04 Nov 11,, 01:14
Who's the greatest mountain climber in the world?
Apa Sherpa


Who's the greatest nose picker in the world?
You


Anything that Frankie Avalon did with Annette Funicello while trying to get into her pants is not sports.
Holding Guinness record for staying on the corner waiting for a client is not a sport, either. Is not even achievement.

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 01:32
Have a look at this lads achievements: ;)


Dougie Lampkin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dougie_Lampkin)

bigross86
04 Nov 11,, 01:36
Have a look at this lads achievements: ;)


Dougie Lampkin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dougie_Lampkin)

I read from 1991-2006 as 15 years, but I could be mistaken, maths are not my strong point

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 01:38
The Worlds Greatest that may never change in my lifetime, is the one and only Muhammad Ali. Love him or loathe him you can never take away the skill and charisma in and out of the ring.

Doktor
04 Nov 11,, 01:39
I read from 1991-2006 as 15 years, but I could be mistaken, maths are not my strong point

They are just switching from imperial to metrics don't mind him.

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 01:43
I read from 1991-2006 as 15 years, but I could be mistaken, maths are not my strong point

The greatest Trials rider in UK history at least. If there is another who has bettered that record kudos and a laural reef to you. What he couldn't do on a bike wasn't worth doing.

bigross86
04 Nov 11,, 01:45
Not saying he doesn't deserve the credit for his achievements in his sport, but the same could be said about Kelly Slater. But can you find anyone who has dominated his sport for as long as Kelly has?

Doktor
04 Nov 11,, 01:48
Not saying he doesn't deserve the credit for his achievements in his sport, but the same could be said about Kelly Slater. But can you find anyone who has dominated his sport for as long as Kelly has?

Since I mentioned him in reply to Yello, what about Apa Sherpa? Noone climbed Everest more then him - 21 times.

gunnut
04 Nov 11,, 02:01
Nolan Ryan dominated major league hitters for over 20 years. His last pitch was clocked at 98mph. He was 46 years old when he retired.

Wayne Gretzky, a scrawny little guy playing one of the roughest sports in the world, dazzled NHL defenders for 20 years from 1978 to 1999.

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 02:01
They are just switching from imperial to metrics don't mind him.

Having been Imperial for so long we are finding it difficult to change ;)

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 02:06
How about this guy...I have a particular interest in him as he is my brother ;)


Frank Brennan Profile (http://www.theshotokanway.com/frankbrennanprofile.html)

Doktor
04 Nov 11,, 02:38
How about this guy...I have a particular interest in him as he is my brother ;)


Frank Brennan Profile (http://www.theshotokanway.com/frankbrennanprofile.html)

If the bellow is true, enough is said :)

Masahiko Tanaka once said that the Japanese team trained with the sole intention of beating Frank Brennan.

Bigfella
04 Nov 11,, 09:41
I'm afraid the list suffers from a heavy dose of Amerocentrism BR. Slater may indeed be the greatest ever in surfing, or even the greatest ever. Difficult to compare across sports. He isn't, however, the longest lasting in terms of dominance in a sport. There are also plenty of examples of athletes dominating sports for longer than those listed below.

I suspect our winner would have ro be Hungarian fencer & swordsman Aladar Gerevich, who medalled at 6 Olympic games & might easily have done so at 8 had not herr Hitler caused trouble. This guy was just a freak.


1932 22 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN
1936 26 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN
1936 26 Fencing Sabre, Individual BRONZE HUN
1948 38 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN
1948 38 Fencing Sabre, Individual GOLD HUN
1952 42 Fencing Foil, Team BRONZE HUN
1952 42 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN
1952 42 Fencing Sabre, Individual SILVER HUN
1956 46 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN
1960 50 Fencing Sabre, Team GOLD HUN


Aladr Gerevich Olympic medals and stats (http://www.databaseolympics.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=GEREVALA01)

Other long lived champions:

William Gilbert 'W.G.' Grace was proclaimed the greatest cricketer in England in 1866 when he was only 18. He remained the dominant player in the game until his retirement from international cricket in 1899, though his career was limited during one or two seasons due to his medical studies (he was also a doctor). Grace was an 'allrounder' for much of his career - batting and bowling. As cricket was still developing as a competitive sport during that period it is difficult to assess where Grace sits in comparison to international athletes. The first regular international competition did not begin until the late 1870s. It could not be said that Grace was the best player in every season he played, but he was at least as dominant in his era as Ruth was in his & was crucial to the development of the game.

W. G. Grace - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._G._Grace#Cricket_career)

Don Bradman had a test cricket career lasting 20 years. he scored his first Test century in 1928. In January 1930 he broke the world record for a score in a first class game with 452 against Queensland. At that moment he was the best batsmen in the world. he remained in that position or close to it until he retired in 1948. By that point he was not only the greatest cricketer of all time, but very possibly the greatest sportsman (I'll get back ot that another time).

One last cricketer whose test career spanned a remarkable 31 years: Wilfred Rhodes (29 October 1877 – 8 July 1973) was an English professional cricketer who played 58 Test matches for England between 1899 and 1930. In Tests, Rhodes took 127 wickets in and scored 2,325 runs, becoming the first Englishman to complete the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in Test matches. He holds the world records both for the most appearances made in first-class cricket (1,110 matches), and for the most wickets taken (4,204). He completed the double of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in an English cricket season a record 16 times. Rhodes played for Yorkshire and England into his fifties, and in his final Test in 1930 was, at 52 years and 165 days, the oldest player who has appeared in a Test match.

What is remarkable about Rhodes is that he started as a bowler, developed into an an all-rounder, then a batsmen, then an all-rounder again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfred_Rhodes

In terms of longevity in a high intensity sport it is hard to go past Michael Tuck. In 1972 he broke into a team that had just won a premiership. He played 426 games of AFL football, one of the most physically demanding sports imaginable. He played in the most successful team of the era, and was involved in 11 Grand Finals, winning 7 of them. He captained his team in 5 of those, winning 4. His last game was as the winning captain in the 1991 Grand Final at the age of 38. Throughout his entire career he was among gthe best players at the club & in the league.

Michael Tuck - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tuck)


Tiger Woods, golf: 12 years

Roger Federer, tennis: 8 years

Wayne Gretzky, hockey: 10 years

Bill Russell, NBA: 13 years

Michael Jordan, NBA: 8 years

Jerry Rice, NFL: 10 years

Edwin Moses, 400-meter hurdles: 10 years

Eddy Merckx, cycling: 12 years

Alexander Karelin, Greco-Roman wrestling heavyweight: 13 years

Carl Lewis, long jump: 16 years

Babe Ruth, baseball: 13 years

Pele, soccer: 13 years

Michael Schumacher, Formula 1: 11 years

devgupt
04 Nov 11,, 11:22
Have a look at this guy - 22 yrs and counting. He holds a major chunk of individual records in Cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachin_Tendulkar)

Parihaka
04 Nov 11,, 11:53
World Champion Couch Potato - Info | Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Champion-Couch-Potato/417194842624?sk=info)

tankie
04 Nov 11,, 20:10
Not saying he doesn't deserve the credit for his achievements in his sport, but the same could be said about Kelly Slater. But can you find anyone who has dominated his sport for as long as Kelly has?

Joe Davis p'raps

tankie
04 Nov 11,, 20:14
How about this guy...I have a particular interest in him as he is my brother ;)


Yea but he aint heavy :whome:

dave lukins
04 Nov 11,, 21:49
Yea but he aint heavy :whome:

Did you see the intructor profile on the left? Big lad but a gent through and through :)

YellowFever
04 Nov 11,, 22:13
World Champion Couch Potato - Info | Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/World-Champion-Couch-Potato/417194842624?sk=info)

Oh shit, I clicked the link and waited and waited until something happened. :mad:

tankie
05 Nov 11,, 20:05
Oh shit, I clicked the link and waited and waited until something happened. :mad:

No surprises there then , wanker

YellowFever
05 Nov 11,, 20:32
Bless your little heart, tankie.

It's Saturday night.

Shouldn't you be out somewhere stumbling around and bumping into lightposts?

tankie
05 Nov 11,, 20:58
Bless your little heart, tankie.

It's Saturday night.

Shouldn't you be out somewhere stumbling around and bumping into lightposts?

Nahhhh im on the wagon remember , and its bonfire night , all them nasty bangs and booms going on :scared:

bigross86
05 Nov 11,, 20:58
Yellow, your new avatar shows some confusion on your part. It's red. Are you colorblind, by any chance?

bigross86
05 Nov 11,, 20:58
Nahhhh im on the wagon remember , and its bonfire night , all them nasty bangs and booms going on :scared:

That would explain why there's some idiots downstairs setting off fireworks. Morons...

YellowFever
05 Nov 11,, 21:08
Yellow, your new avatar shows some confusion on your part. It's red. Are you colorblind, by any chance?

What?

Like I'm going to find a Yellow Fever logo on the net with the background color of yellow. :mad:

I'd like to see you go online and find an avatar with bigross86 written on it....sheesh.

tankie
05 Nov 11,, 22:01
That would explain why there's some idiots downstairs setting off fireworks. Morons...

In Israel ??????????????????

Doktor
05 Nov 11,, 22:02
He can always find Garfield that that would be bigross86 in Hebrew.

bigross86
05 Nov 11,, 22:17
What?

Like I'm going to find a Yellow Fever logo on the net with the background color of yellow. :mad:

I'd like to see you go online and find an avatar with bigross86 written on it....sheesh.

My screen name is meant to be a unique reference to myself, not some cliched thing I come up with because it was the first thing I could think (or was capable of thinking) of

bigross86
05 Nov 11,, 22:17
In Israel ??????????????????

Like I said, morons

bigross86
05 Nov 11,, 22:18
He can always find Garfield that that would be bigross86 in Hebrew.

No, Garfield just happens to be one of the coolest characters in existence and in history

Gun Grape
07 Nov 11,, 05:57
Stupid thread.

I'm sure the title was suppose to be "Second greatest sports champ.

The only reason all those names have been batted around was because the Greatest Sports Champion let them live.

YellowFever
07 Nov 11,, 06:12
That's tellin' 'em, Gunny.

You tell these wishy-washy non-American softies who the real boss is. :biggrin:

vsdoc
07 Nov 11,, 06:30
There are many and its difficult if not impossible to say who is truly the greatest. That said, for me a champion is not necessarily the one who is technically the best for the longest time, but one who captures the imagination and the heart for as long as he or she was around.

My personal favorites who have inspired me and kept me riveted to their sport for as long as they participated, not in any particular order, are

Carl Lewis
Michael Schumacher
Valentino Rossi
Jan Ullrich
Diego Maradona
Steffi Graf
Boris Becker
Rahul Dravid