Last Updated on March 14, 2013 by Jimson Lee
If you enjoyed Part 1 of “Who is the greatest all-around athlete?” written by Clay Parker for the The Strength & Speed Newsletter, then you’ll enjoy Part 2 below.
It is based on the greatest all-around athletes based on athletic feats and performances that are scored in Dale Harder’s book, You Can Compare Apples to Oranges, where athletic performances are scored on a 1-1000 point scale based on the impressiveness and rarity of the performance.
More info on Dale’s book and the newsletter are available at http://www.strengthospeedia.org/
Dale Harder’s Strength & Speed Newsletter includes coverage and articles about Track & field, Weightlifting, Powerlifting as well as unusual feats of speed and strength. To subscribe, please email Dale Harder at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
NOTE: Only Track and Field athletes are listed below.
Comparing Strength Power & Speed Performances, Part 2
14 (tied) C.K. YANG, DECATHLON, 6’1 180lbs, POINTS 4802
We have our first tie here with Yang. Most people remember him from his epic decathlon battle in 1960 with Rafer Johnson where he came up just a hair short for gold. CK’s longer career helped him surge ahead of Rafer and place tied for the 14th best all-around athlete.
14 (tied) UDO BEYER, SHOT PUT, 6’4 287lbs, POINTS 4802
The big putter outscored his countrymen Jurgen Hingsen by over 100 points to earn the distinction of the highest German athlete. Udo had crazy power and explosiveness and could even run a 11.2 100m.
13. WERNER GUNTHOR, SHOT PUT, 6’7, 285lbs, POINTS 4819
Most sports fan are asking Werner who? Most track fans remember him as a great shot putter; the ones that have seen his training video on YouTube know exactly the athlete that this man is. From his two hop hurdling to his incredible power cleans to his long bounding jumps, this man was an athletic beast. If we could factor in his bobsled results, Werner may have cracked the top 10.
12. MICHAEL SMITH DECATHLON 6’5 230 POINTS 4826
Smith had a good decathlon career but nowhere near what he should have had with his talent. Plagued by injuries and some inconsistency, Smith failed to earn an Olympic medal. Smith was a talented basketball and football player in college and his total decathlon PRs total the 2nd highest total ever.
11. TREY HARDEE DECATHLON 6’5 210 POINTS 4827
Like Eaton and Calvin Johnson, Hardee is still young and active and could climb a few more spots on this list. The 2-time defending decathlon World Champ; a strong showing of results next year could rise him up a few. You can view his thrower’s pentathlon WR online and get a glimpse of Hardee’s athleticism.
9. SERGEY BUBKA POLE VAULT 6’1 176 POINTS 4838
The pole vault is one of the most athletic sports/events in the world and Bubka dominated the pole vault like no other so it’s not hard to see why Sergey is ranked so high. Bubka’s athleticism is impressive and Soviet coaches originally had him tabbed for the decathlon until his pole vault skills were too much to ignore. Bubka earned bonus for WRs so he rarely pushed himself to the maximum limit; several computer estimates show him clearing 20’8, which would have earned him an additional 30 points.
8. RENALDO NEHEMIAH 110 HURDLES/FOOTBALL 6’1 175 POINTS 4860
Renaldo "Skeets" Nehemiah is one of the most versatile athletes ever. He was a dominant high hurdler lowering the world record by from 13.21 to 12.93 from 1979 to 1981. Looking for a new challenge, he signed with the 49ers where he played 3 seasons catching passes in the NFL. Renaldo also was the only 4-time Superstars champ and his obstacle course time remains one of the best times ever recorded.
7. GLENN DAVIS 400 HURDLES/FOOTBALL 6’0 165 POINTS 4861
25 years and 1 point separated these two hurdling legends that also played football. Unlike Nehemiah, Davis won 2 Olympic golds in the 400m hurdles before playing 2 seasons in the NFL as a wide receiver. Ohio State track coach Larry Snyder said Davis was a better all around talent than Jesse Owens.
5. JIM THORPE DEC/FOOTBALL/BASEBALL 6’1 175 POINTS 4918
Thorpe is recognized by most sports experts as one of the best all-around athletes who have ever lived and we have no reason to argue. Thorpe was a phenomenal athlete excelling in nearly a dozen sports and playing three at the highest level. Thorpe only competed in a couple of decathlons before turning professional and having pro baseball and football careers, where he landed a record 99 yard punt.
4. KOJI MUROFUSHI HAMMER THROW 6’2 221 POINTS 4964
Not only is track & field not a big sport in the US but the hammer throw itself is even more scarce yet Murofushi’s abilities should not go unnoticed. Many experts feel that he owns the "clean" hammer world record. If you’ve seen him win (and dominate) the Japanese show ‘Pro Sportsman’, which is similar to the Superstars competition, you understand what an athlete Murofushi is.
3. BRYAN CLAY DECATHLON 5’10 175 POINTS 4975
Clay is the defending Olympic decathlon champion (after placing 2nd in 2004 to Roman Sebrle). Clay also owns the record for the highest SPARQ score ever achieved. Incredible power and jumping ability for his size. Clay is trying to be the first man to claim a 3rd medal in the decathlon in 2012.
2. DAN O’BRIEN DECATHLON 6’2 185 POINTS 5034
Although many fans still remember him for his pole vault collapse in 1992 after the big Dan/Dave Reebok campaign, O’Brien is remembered by sports historians as one of the top 2 or 3 decathletes ever. With 3 World Championship golds in addition to a world record and 1996 Olympic gold, O’Brien’s resume is impressive. O’Brien’s decathlon PRs equal a whopping 9572 – 200 more pts than anyone else.
So Who is Number One?
I’ll post that at a later date, but please comment below and let the guessing game begin!