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Men's Journal 'Best Athletes in the World' (2003)

mens journal coverThere have been numerous polls and lists published on who people think are the greatest athletes in the world (see more). Here are the results of one such list of the 'Best Athletes in the World' published in the 2003 June issue of Men's Journal in the US.

The voting panel of experts included former athletes (such as Olympic downhill skier David Currier), renowned sports physiologist Jim Wharton, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Steadman, and ESPN commentators Jeremy Schaap and Stuart Scott. Writer Paul Hochman began by identifying the top athletes in 75 sports, then whittled the list down to 20. The panel then voted for the top 10 using seven criteria: strength, speed, agility, endurance, hand-eye coordination, creativity and buzz factor, with each getting a score up to ten.

Michael Vick is Best: The Top 20 List

The greatest athlete in the world (in 2003), according to Men's Journal, was the fine specimen quarterback Michael Vick. You will notice that there are no women on this list (it is a men's journal after all), and only one athlete per sport was included.

rank points athlete sport sport / team notes
1 63.43 Michael Vick American Football Atlanta Falcons 6-foot, 215-pound
2 63.42 Bode Miller Skiing U.S. Ski Team winner of the 2002 Superstars competition
3 60.29 Ronaldo Football (Soccer) Real Madrid & Brazil  
4 59.6 Bob Burnquist Skateboarding Brazil pioneer of "switch" tricks - maneuvers that are exact mirror images of what came before.
5 58.8 Alexei Nemov Gymnastics Russia winner of 12 Olympic medals
6 58.43 Kevin Garnett Basketball Minnesota Timberwolves  
7 56.7 Tony Azevedo Water Polo Stanford / USA  
8 55.99 Roman Sebrle Decathlon Czechia The world record holder in the decathlon (9,026 points)
9 54.8 Ole Einar Bjoerndalen Biathlon Norway Won Olympic goal medals at Salt Lake City Olympics.
10 53.83 Ian Thorpe Swimming Australia Size 17 feet
11   Lance Armstrong Cycling USA  
12   Sergei Fedorov Ice Hockey Detroit Red Wings  
13   Laird Hamilton Surfing USA A physically gifted Big-Wave Surfer
14   Taufik Hidayat Badminton Indonesia  
15   Roy Jones, Jr Boxing USA The only fighter ever to win world titles as a middleweight, super middleweight, light-heavyweight, and heavyweight.
16   Davo Karnicar Mountain Climbing Slovenia only man to climb Mt. Everest then ski down to base camp
17   Khalid Khannouchi Marathon USA The world record holder. Morroccan born
18   Alex Rodriguez Baseball Texas Rangers led the majors in home runs (57) and RBI's (142).
19   Marat Safin Tennis Russia 6-foot-4
20   Tiger Woods Golf USA  

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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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