The Greatest Athlete Of All Time An ESPN Quest

In 2014 ESPN set out to determine who was "The Greatest Athlete Of All Time". It could be man or woman, current day or former times. Sixteen categories were set, each with a unique skill set. These included specific sports like golf, basketball, and soccer.

There were also broader categories like game changers or those who achieved greatness in a number of sports.

The worldwide public was then offered the chance to vote on who they felt was the greatest athlete in each of those categories.

One of those sixteen categories was "The Greatest Endurance Athlete Of All Time". An email from a friend arrived about this. He told me I was one of the five nominees! Here are who the others were:

Pam Reed — She was the first woman to be the overall winner in the Badwater Ultramarathon.

Patrick Makau — He is the world record holder for the marathon at 2:03:38.

Bjorn Daehlie — He was the winner of 8 Olympic gold medals in cross-country skiing, with an exceptional VO2max, one of the highest ever recorded.

Diana Nyad — She has the fastest time ever swimming around Manhattan Island, and the only person to swim from Cuba to the United States, a feat she did at age 64!

The votes came in and were tallied. I was humbled. I received 52% of the votes!

It was on to the big leagues! After the public voting in each of the sixteen categories, each athlete was paired up against another category champion and compared via a multitude of metrics that ESPN's science team had put together to determine "The Greatest Athlete of All Time".

It would factor in just about every aspect of what we think about when we think "athlete". Skill, speed, strength, endurance, tenacity, longevity. It was all there.

I was paired up with someone that was a hero of mine growing up: Muhammad Ali!

His life and his boxing transcended sport.

I met Muhammad at the Superbowl in Atlanta in 1994. He already had Parkinson's and didn't say a word when we were introduced to each other. But he gave me a look with a sparkle in his eye that I'll always remember. He was still Muhammad Ali...The Greatest!

Neither of us went on to win "The Greatest Athlete Of All Time". That honor went to Bo Jackson. But it was the greatest honor for me to be pitted against Muhammad Ali in the round of sixteen vying for that title!

Dream Big!

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