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newsletter titleTopend Sports Newsletter: 22 July 2016

Is the World's Greatest Athlete at the Olympics?

Every four years, at the Olympic Games we see the greatest athletes on the biggest sporting stage. Or do we?

There are many athletes not appearing at this event for different reasons. The odds for the Russian team being in Rio are very low, a team predicted to win over 20 gold medals. Other great athletes may have failed to peak at the right time or are injured at this one time in the four year cycle. There are also many great athletes who are not there because their sport or events are not represented. The world's most popular sport (football) has mostly under 23 year old players, and another very popular sport (cricket) is not represented at all. Even the recently reinstated sport of golf has been shocked by many of the top names deciding not to attend.

Of course there will still be many great athletes at the Olympics. Michael Phelps, possibly the greatest Olympian ever, may add to his record gold medal haul. However, he would not excel in sports out of the water. Similarly, Usain Bolt is the "world's fastest man", but only in races over a short distance. Put him in a 1500m race and he will be considered slow. Just yesterday sport scientist Ross Tucker threw up an interesting poll on twitter asking the hypothetical question about how fast would Usain Bolt run a mile. 

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