The "Michael Phelps" of other countries?

I’m an American and Michael Phelps has been all. over. the Olympic coverage. Understandably so, I suppose, but but I am also aware of NBC’s notoriously pro-American broadcast bias, which leads to me knowing almost nothing about other countries’ superstars. So those of you from countries besides the USA, do you have an athlete that dominates your tv coverage and your watercooler conversation? If so, who?

Canada doesn’t really have a particular superstar this time around.

Long-jumper Irving Saladinohas won 100% percent of Panama’s gold medals (one), and 50% of Panama’s medals ever. Unfortunately, he did not qualify this year.

No, but Jennifer Able won a bronze in synchronized diving and has a good shot at a medal in women’s 3m springboard as well.

Ignoring individual medals counts, which aren’t a reliable indicator of talent, your’re looking for athletes who have wins in multiple events over 3 Olympic games. The nearest British equivalents at these games are cyclists Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy.

Wiggins has won gold medals at the last three games. He’s won in a variety of events, both on the track and road. This year, he became the first ever British winner of the Tour de France (total distance 3500km), and won the Olympic time trial in the same week. His pursuit medals were won over 4km, the time trial this year was a 44km race. He can sit at the same table as Phelps.

Chris Hoy also has golds at the last three games, with five in total.

Please don’t underestimate what Phelps has achieved. While swimmers have more chances to win multiple medals than most, it’s still not easy. Different strokes use different muscles, favour different physiques, and require great technique. For comparison, the greatest British swimmer ever is Rebecca Adlington. She won 2 gold medals at Beijing, and 2 bronze here. At 23, she is considering retirement. Phelps has faded a little from his peak, but was still the best swimmer at these games. To be the best over 3 Olympics puts him in company with the very best Olympians.

Get back to me when Phelps wins a Gold medal in 5 successive Olympics / Steve Redgrave

I don’t think you can pick between Phelps and Redgrave, it’s a different kind of achievement. Redgrave was was at the top of his sport for longer, despite struggling with diabetes. However, rowing is more of a minority sport than swimming, and as such probably isn’t quite as strongly contested. Also, Phelps was unambiguously the best swimmer at his Olympics, while Redgrave might not have been the best individual rower.

Just looking at athletes from this Olympics, Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia deserves a mention. She took two golds at Beijing, and came back from injuries (16 months out) to destroy the field in the 10,000m here. She is nicknamed “the baby-faced assassin”. She won her first gold in the 2003 World Championships, aged 18.

You’re also the person that decided what they thought about the opening ceremony over an hour before it finished and decided that it was “amatuer”. So forgive me for thinking you don’t ‘get’ a lot, and if I don’t read any further.

I’m not sure I understand your point in posting this. Was this thread about the greatest Olympian? I thought it was just about who are the big media-covered Olympians in other countries?

I thought it was to do with media presence. With that in mind I’d say for GB the main poster icons were Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis.

Thankfully they have both come through with golds and after a slow start GB is doing very nicely.

This is as silly as people asserting that Phelps MUST be the greatest Olympian ever just because he has so MANY more gold medals than anyone else.

Each sport is different. SOME allow a guy to compete for MANY medals in one year. Others don’t. In SOME, it’s possible to remain at the top for over a deacade; in others, that’s impossible.

Phelps IS a phenomenal athlete and deserves all his accolades… but he’s also very lucky to be a participant in a sport that allows people to compete in so many events every four years. In theory, a superb swimmer can win 7-10 medals at any one Olympiad.

On the other hand, a guy like Daley Thompson, who won two Olympic decathlons, COULDN’T win more than one medal at any Olympiad, no matter how well he performed.

Cuba’s Teofilo Stephenson won three gold medals as a heavyweight boxer. He COULDN’T have peformed any better than he did… but the nature of his sport mean he COULDN’T win more than one gold medal every 4 years.

Michael Phelps, Daley Thompson and Teofilo Stephenson performed as brilliantly as they possibly could at the Olympics. It’s only the nature of their sports that allowed Phelps to win so many more medals than Thompson and Stephenson.

On the other hand, even the greatest swimmer can’t stay at his peak for very long. It’s easier for an older guy to stay competitive in events like, say, the discus- ask Al Oerter. Michael Phelps COULDN’T be a champ at 4 straight Olympics.

Michael Phelps is DEFINITELY the greatest swimmer in Olympics history. But numerous guys with far fewer medals can reasonably claim “I’m at least as great an Olympian as Phelps.”

Back to the question asked in the OP (remember the OP?) : I feel bad for every single member of Team PUR other than Javier Culson (400m hurdles). Yes, alright, he IS ranked #1 or #2 depending on what poll, he’s highly likely to get PUR’s first Olympic medal in athletics, quite likely to get the first higher-than-bronze and a fair shot at gold. He’s also exciting and charismatic and a swell fellow. But, sweet Jesus on rollerskates, people and media have reduced everyone else to a footnote. Heck, we also have 3 boxers with good prospects and all we ever hear of is only one of them 'cause Culson has sucked up all the space. Home Team coverage here some days seems 80% Culson, 10% Jeyvier Cintrón and 10% everyone else. Even COPUR’s own public statements on days he is not active always end with a line about “everyone tune in Tuesday to watch Culson make history”. One cartoonist in a local paper alluded to this, in the cartoon a child is praying, “God, help Culson run fast and steady and get the gold… 'cause if he gets silver we’ll never hear the end of it.”

Fans here have as much tunnel vision as anywhere else. I remember Athens 2004, after the trouncing of Basketball Team USA in that first game by the PUR squad, nobody paid attention to anything anyone else on the PUR delegation did the rest of the games, heck they did not even care that Basketball Team PUR proceeded to have their usual “meh” performance in the rest of the tournament.

What’s Phelp’s ratio to individual vs. relay Gold’s - almost 60/40? If he happened to be born in any other country (save poss Australia), you could take that almost 40% of his Gold’s away because he wouldn’t have the team mates.

As noted, swimming doesn’t translate at all well into other sports because there is so much transferability between disciplines.

He won one event at three Olympics, which means he proved best over an 8-year spread (aged 19 to 27). Still, I’d probably think that his most significant .achievement.

Spain’s basketball team was the “given” to keep people busy around the coffee machine; the surprise one has been a swimmer (Mireia Belmonte) who so far is bringing two silvers home.

In her first interview after the first one, she was almost fainting because “Nadal called me to congratulate me! NADAL! It should be me congratulating him but he called me to congratulate me! He’s my hero within Spanish sports! Nadal called me!”

Sonia Henie?

Three Olympics and three golds in figure skating. She revolutionized the sport during the Olympics and then afterwards with her use of equipment during her tours. She also helped popularize it to the rest of the world with her movies.

But look at who else follows him on the all-time medal list: there’s a gymnast, followed by another gymnast, followed by another gymnast and another gymnast and a fencer. You don’t get down to another swimmer until you reach an eight-way tie with a track star and a terrific skier and a canoeing great (and, of course, yet more gymnasts).

So it’s not that swimming is especially great at producing outlier medalists; it’s that there’s never been another swimmer remotely like Phelps.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I mean, sure, Thompson couldn’t medal as a high jumper, or a long jumper, or a hurdler, or a pole vaulter, and so on – but he could beat generalists in an all-around combined event, and thereby earned back-to-back golds. Phelps likewise beat generalists in an all-around medley for three straight Olympic golds, and also beat specialists in the butterfly for three straight Olympic golds – and, again, we know that’s not a quirk of the sport; no other man has so dominated a swimming event of either type, but Phelps did it in both.

Take away all of his team stuff and Phelps still holds the all-time record for individual gold medals.

True, but there are some honourable mentions.

Clara Hughes deserves a ton of respect for competing in 4 Olympics, both winter and summer, and winning medals in both. World class speed skater and in cycling as well. She even managed to come in fifth in this olympic time trial and then revealed that she cracked a vertebrae after a fall in May. An incredible athlete and humanitarian as well ( she volunteers with You Can Play).

Jennifer Abel and Emilie Heymans have had great stories too. Its also hard not to respect Alexandre Despatie…hes been very successful and hes competing not long after nearly being scalped in a training accident. Hes a “superstar” here for sure, though I do have Quebec bias here :slight_smile:

Ian Millar has participated in 10 Olympics…pretty cool.

So definitely some great stories happening. But yeah, where’s the hockey…? :slight_smile:

I still don’t get why people are ignoring the OP and posting about athletes from previous Olympics. I think it is supposed to be about media coverage in this Olympics.

Looking at the List of multiple Olympic gold medalists:

Athletics: 56 multiple medalists
Fencing: 28
Gymnastics: 46
Swimming : 83