Before the Rio Olympics, we asked "who is the greatest Olympian in the history of the summer Olympic Games?". Defining the greatest in sport is usually a difficult decision, and may depend on things like the number of medals won, the number of Olympics participated in and the impact they had on their sport and society in general. In this case it is pretty clear cut - in the poll results below you can see that a majority (72%) believed that Michael Phelps is the greatest.
We had asked this question prior to the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt both added to their medal tally. It is now widely agreed that the mantle for the greatest ever Olympian is between these two, so the latest version of this poll has just those two options. Also see our other Olympics Polls.
Disclaimer: These polls are not scientific, and only reflect the opinion of visitors to this website who have chosen to participate.
- Current poll: The Greatest Ever Olympian - Phelps or Bolt?
- More Olympic Games Polls
- About the Summer Olympics
- See also the poll about your favorite Summer Olympic Games sports
- List of Sports and Fitness Polls
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- NOT Usain Bolt - he's a show-off! (from Rambux 9, Oct 2012)
- Hercules - from the ancient Greek Olympics! (from rambux 9, Oct 2012)
- What about Chris Hoy??? surely he deserves a mention (from Liam, 16 Aug 2012)
- What about Aladar Gerevich? He won gold in Fencing in six consecutive Olympics (he would have won eight if it weren't for WW2). In the Hungarian Olympic trials for the 1960 Rome Olympics, the fencing committee told Gerevich that he was too old to compete. He silenced them by challenging the entire sabre team to individual matches (even though he was 50 years old at the time) and winning every match. He missed the finals of the 1960 Olympic individual sabre event, and a possible individual gold medal, by a single touch - case closed! (from Peter Lagios, 8 Aug 2012)
- How about Usain Bolt (6 Aug 2012)
- Carl Lewis is most definitely the greatest Olympian of all time. You cannot vote for somebody that only swims (from john shawyer, Aug 2012)
- I think you forgot Muhammad Ali (from zander, July 2012)
- Suggestion: Emil Zatopek (from Kyle, July 2012)