On Tuesday, Michael Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal making him the most decorated Olympian in history. And with that new distinction, the debate now turns to whether or not he is the greatest Olympic athlete ever.
Most people would say yes mainly because he’s won the most medals and the man won EIGHT gold medals just four years ago in Beijing. But for London Olympics director Sebastian Coe, that’s not enough.
Though Coe doesn’t give reasons why he doesn’t see Phelps as the greatest Olympic athlete ever, he does give multiple names of people he would consider before Phelps.
Coe, himself an Olympic champion, said that while Phelps is the “most successful” according to the medal count, he says the American swimmer is “probably not” the greatest.
Coe isn’t saying specifically, but he said the athletes who deserve special consideration are British rower Steve Redgrave, British decathlete Daley Thompson, U.S. track champion Jesse Owens and Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
19 total medals? 8 gold medals at a single Olympics? It’s tough to argue against that.