Poll Usain Bolt declares himself "the greatest athlete" to have lived

Is Usain Bolt "the greatest athlete" to have lived?

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Whilst defending the 100m and 200m Olympic titles is a first in Olympic history and hugely impressive, I'm not sure being able to run for 9.5 and 19.5 seconds quicker than everyone else makes him the greatest athlete to have lived.

Emil Zátopek for instance won the 5,000m, 10,000m and the marathon at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Then of course there's Steve Redgrave who won a gold in five consecutive Olympics.

Not forgetting Michael Phelps who won 8 golds in the 2008 games, setting one Olympic Record and seven World Records in the process.

Plus many, many other athletes over the years.

Undoubtedly Bolt will now forever be immortalised in the Olympic hall of fame, but greatest ever?

The fact he declared it himself makes me hit the 'no' button. I'm not sure who it is, even if you could single any one individual out it'd definitely be someone who was a little more self-effacing. The greatest ego that ever lived is probably more accurate/fitting.
Greatest sprinter ever possibly.

He competes in one sport. The greatest ever must be an all rounder who has performed at the highest level for a significant period of time.
Truly a legend in his own mind.

Any world-class decathlon athelete is a better athlete than he is. So is any world-class Triathelete.

Carl Lewis won 9 gold medals across 4 Olympiads, winning the long jump 4 consecutive times. Rather more impressive than Bolt, IMHO

Phelp's acheivementss in swimming eclipse Bolt as well, IMO
I'm fairly sure when he says the greatest athlete he just means an athlete competing in the appropriately named sport athletics not an athlete competing in any sport.

Anyway, based on my own interpretation of what qualities would make up the greatest athlete ever I'd say he is. He's dominated sprinting for the past 4 years, his multiple world records make him the fastest athlete ever over 100m and 200m, he succesfully defended his individual Olympic gold medals which is the pinnacle of athletics and is quite clearly the most popular athlete ever and a great ambassador for the sport.

Out of every other athlete in history (in athletics) I personally can't think of another athlete I'd consider 'greater' than Usain Bolt.
David Rudisha?? Dominated 800m running for the past few years, setting World Record after World Record.
Rudisha is a great athlete and will probably be considered the greatest 800m runner ever until another era when someone beats his record, just like Bolt is now compared to previous eras. But for where Rudisha's at now, let's compare him to Bolt. He has a World Record in one event to Bolt's two. One Olympic Gold to Bolt's five.
Rudisha runs one race every Olympics, Bolt runs at least three.

If the number of world records and golds is the defining criteria then Phelps has it, by a mile.
Greatest sprinter, Yes certainly.
I suspect that was what he was implying. People tend to take things too literally.
I voted yes as there has been no sprinter better.

Surely best overall athlete would have to be one that does many sports such as a decathlon athlete. Yet no true greats really stand out in Decathlon.
If the number of world records and golds is the defining criteria then Phelps has it, by a mile.

Phelps only has lots of medals because the number of swimming races is hugely out of proportion to other events. Take BMX, only 1 gold is on offer. If swimming was the same and there was only 1 gold on offer he would have 3 if he won in 2004, 2008 and 2012. For that reason I don't think you can judge it on number of golds won.
Brogan Surely that makes Bolt's achievements slightly better as a whole than Rudisha's as he is good enough to compete for golds in more than event whereas so far Rudisha hasn't been?

Phelps would easily be the best by a mile and is clearly the greatest swimmer ever and depending on what side of the fence you're on, also the greatest Olympian ever. But as I said, I'm just referring to the greatest ever in athletics.
The 800m is a fairly unique event due to the distance, whereas the 100m and 200m events are very similar in how they are run.
True, there is no event similar to the 800m as the 100m and 200m are to each other, but some 800m are good enough to compete in another event like the 400m or 1500m, such as Kelly Holmes who won gold in the 800m and 1500m at the 2004 Olympics.

Rudisha is impressive but I fail to see what makes him greater than Bolt and so far no-one else has said what makes him greater than Bolt either.
He's paying too much attention to what the media says about him. To put thing into perspective, after saying he was the greatest athlete "to live", he said that he is in the same category as Michael Johnson. I think it has been blown out of proportion. The guy speaks his mind instead of following PR lines. He's great in my book and after all he is someone who is extremely famous and is alive ...
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