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The Greatest Multi-Sport Athlete?

This is a discussion of a poll of the "Greatest Multi-Sport Athlete of All Time" that was conducted on the ESPN Sport Science website in 2012. The voting was based on the best athlete (not necessarily the most skilled) who has a combination of strength, speed, endurance, quickness, durability and the other attributes that make an athlete elite. See more about the ESPN Sport Science poll to determine the Greatest Athlete of All Time. See also our discussion of the greatest multisport athlete ever.


Who is the greatest multisport athlete of all time?

  1. Bo Jackson — Jackson was the first professional athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports (MLB All-Star in 1989, NFL Pro Bowl in 1990). He hit at least 20 home runs in every full MLB season that he played.
  2. Babe Zaharias — Zaharias won 2 gold and 1 silver in track and field at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.¬†She was also a U.S. Open champion golfer, tennis player, swimmer, diver, boxer, volleyball player, bowler, skater and cyclist. She was the only woman in history to make the cut in a regular PGA Tour event, and is a member of the LPGA Hall of Fame. She also achieved All-American status in basketball.
  3. Jim Thorpe — At the 1912 Olympics, Thorpe won gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon. He also played NFL, and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and played 289 MLB games over six seasons.
  4. Deion Sanders — the only pro athlete to hit a home run and score a touchdown in the same week, and also the only man to play in a World Series and a Super Bowl
  5. Herschel Walker — Played 13 seasons in the NFL. Member of U.S. Olympic bobsled team at 1992 Winter Olympics. He won back-to-back American Superstars competitions in 1987 and 1988. Had 2-0 career record in mixed martial arts.

And the winner was ...

Bo Jackson

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Lists Extra

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 necessarily the greatest athlete). These players do not always earn the most. The best of the best have made it to our 7 Sporting Wonders Lists.

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