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Greatest Summer Olympian Poll Round XI



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Just like Berlin 36 and Jesse Owens, it appears that London 48 are the Blankers-Koen Olympics. Her status as the greatest female Olympian of the first half of the 20th Century would be arguably unassailable, and even contrasted with latter day stars like Marion Jones or Florence Griffith-Joyner, her achievements are still legendary. Especially considering she had first competed at the Olympics in Berlin 12 years earlier, had lived and trained in Holland during the Nazi occupation, plus was a 30 year old mother by 1948.

However the other candidates here are also very worthy: Micheline Ostermeyer was the best performed field athlete at London, and her golds in discus and shot put were backed up with a bronze in the high jump (retiring shortly after the 48 games she became a renowned concert pianist). Harrison Dillard assumed the sprint mantle of Jesse Owens for the US, and his combined London and Helsinki total of 4 golds is a significant achievement. Ilona Elek had won a gold in 1936, defeating German (and Jewish) favorite Helene Mayer in Berlin, and 12 years later she won gold for the same event (backing up for a silver in Helsinki). Bob Mathias was arguably the greatest multiple event athlete since Jim Thorpe, winning the 48 decathlon and then defending this gold 4 years later in Helsinki (and even had a film career and biopic made of his life). Gert Fredricksson started his career as one of the all time greatest Olympians, and certainly the greatest canoeist and arguably greatest Swedish Olympian with 2 gold (his life total of 6 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze is remarkable for its longevity). And Karoly Takacs gets a nomination partly due to his shooting prowess (1 gold in London, another in Helsinki), but also because he had to learn to shoot left handed after losing his right hand in an army accident in 1938.

takacs_gal_l_01.jpg Karoly Takacs

blankerskoen_gal_l_04.jpg Fanny Blankers-Koen

dillard_gal_l_07.jpg Harrison Dillard

elek_gal_l_03.jpg Ilona Elek

fredriksson_gal_l_03.jpg Gert Fredriksson

mathias_gal_l_02.jpg Bob Mathias

ostermeyer_gal_l_02.jpg Micheline Ostermeyer

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I'm glad we've reached the point where some of the women have started to become genuine contenders _ and yes, maybe not as dominantly as Jesse Owens in Berlin, but 1948 really are the Fanny Blankers-Coen games.
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I voted for Fanny Blankers-Koen but if there was an honorable mention it would have to go to Micheline Ostermeyer.  I have an interview somewhere she did prior to the Atlanta games.  She said that she would like to be remembered as a great concert pianist who, btw, was also Olympic Champion.

I hope you include Bob Mathias for 1952 as well!

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Quelle surprise...Fanny Blankers-Koen pulls in the most votes for 1948, joining Jesse Owens (36) and Babe Didrickson (32) in the next semi...

1952 will be post soon. And LA84, generally speaking I cite a candidate once, preferably at the games they had the biggest impact or at the end of their career, whilst making sure to refer to their overall results. For example, Baron's beloved Aladar Gerevich probably will pop up in 1960 as that was his last Olympics.

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Quelle surprise...Fanny Blankers-Koen pulls in the most votes for 1948, joining Jesse Owens (36) and Babe Didrickson (32) in the next semi...

1956 will be post soon. And LA84, generally speaking I cite a candidate once, preferably at the games they had the biggest impact or at the end of their career, whilst making sure to refer to their overall results. For example, Baron's beloved Aladar Gerevich probably will pop up in 1960 as that was his last Olympics.

Oh tay.  Well, I won't argue because it's your poll and I am enjoying it a lot.  I just submit that Bob Mathias' biggest moment was Helsinki when he won his second gold in the decathalon -

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Quelle surprise...Fanny Blankers-Koen pulls in the most votes for 1948, joining Jesse Owens (36) and Babe Didrickson (32) in the next semi...

1952 will be post soon. And LA84, generally speaking I cite a candidate once, preferably at the games they had the biggest impact or at the end of their career, whilst making sure to refer to their overall results. For example, Baron's beloved Aladar Gerevich probably will pop up in 1960 as that was his last Olympics.

Oh tay.  Well, I won't argue because it's your poll and I am enjoying it a lot.  I just submit that Bob Mathias' biggest moment was Helsinki when he won his second gold in the decathalon -

Fair point LA84...as I've been collating these polls I've tried to work out when and how to list the candidates, and it can be very hard to work out how to do it. And it's gonna get harder for the more modern games. Case in point, do I cite Carl Lewis for his 4 golds in LA84 LA84 (no, that's not a stutter  :D )? Or do I cite him for Atlanta 96 for his long jump gold and look back over his career (when he could be knocked out by Michael Johnson)?

In all honesty, there are going to be some truly great Olympians who might not get back the first round of any vote, or maybe attract no votes at all. I was a little  surprised that Johnny Weissmuller didn't get past the semi round for the 1896-1928 games candidates. And in the 48 poll seeing nill votes for Harrision Dillard is a little disappointing, if expected.

And thanks for the positive feedback...now that the 2012 games are decided I hope this'll keep folk entertained and talking and thinking...

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Now that London has the 2012 Olympic Games, it will be interesting on who will be the "dominant" Olympian there, when that time comes.
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Now that London has the 2012 Olympic Games, it will be interesting on who will be the "dominant" Olympian there, when that time comes.

I have a feeling he or she may not have even been in a games yet, or will only come to prominence within the next two years at the earliest. Considering multiple medallists usually come from sports like gymnastics, athletics, swimming, fencing and cycling it'll be in these sports the future 2012 legend will emerge from.

Perhaps the earliest prospect is Michael Phelps...

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I'll be surprised, if Phelps is still going to be around for these upcoming Games.
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