The Greatest Track & Field Athlete?

This is a discussion of a poll of the Greatest Track and Field Athlete of All Time conducted on the ESPN Sport Science website in 2013. The voting was based on the best athlete with attributes that make an athlete elite.

There are a wide range of events in track and field, requiring specific abilities to be successful, making comparisons difficult. See more about the ESPN Sport Science poll to determine the Greatest Athlete of All Time. See also our discussion of the greatest ever track and field athlete.


Who is the greatest Track and Field athlete of all time?

  1. Usain Bolt— Only man to defend Olympic gold medals in both 100m and 200m. Current world record holder and Olympic Champion in the 100m.
  2. Ashton Eaton — Current world-record holder in decathlon and heptathlon.
  3. Michael Johnson — Held world record in 200m for 12 years from 1996 to 2008, and is still the current world-record holder in 400m (set in 1999).
  4. Jackie Joyner-Kersee — Six-time Olympic medalist in the heptathlon and long jump, including three gold medals. She still holds the heptathlon world record she set at the 1988 Olympics.
  5. Carl Lewis — Lewis had 65 consecutive victories in long jump, including four straight Olympic gold medals. In total he won 9 Olympic gold medals. He held the 100m world record for many years.

And the winner was ...

Carl Lewis

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Football (soccer) is clearly the world's most popular sport, and has the most popular athletes, but which sport has the fittest players (but not neccesarrily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most.

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