Michael Phelps celebrates after he wins the gold medal in Rio. Photo:celebritynetworth

The Greatest of All Time (GOAT) is a heated debate that many people have everyday all around the world, especially when it comes to athletes. There are many aspects to consider when looking at the greatest athlete ever, including the type of sport they play, their achievements and success in the sport and the impact or legacy they left for future athletes. Famous athletes such as Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Roger Federer, Tiger Woods, LeBron James and Simone Biles have each been argued at one time or another to be the GOAT, portraying the inevitable global argument.

In basketball, the debate is whether the GOAT is Michael Jordan or LeBron James. Sophomore Alex Wong said, “LeBron James is the GOAT of basketball because he played in many NBA finals and his career is incredible.” I agree with Alex in the sense that James has played against better players than Michael Jordan and has carried the popularity of basketball.

Michael Phelps is the obvious GOAT of swimming, as he, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, has won the most Olympic gold medals, with 23 gold out of 28 medals in all. Another definite GOAT is Usain Bolt, as everyone refers to him as the fastest man alive, holding records in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m in both the Olympics and World Championships. 

Another heated debate is the GOAT of tennis. There are the big three: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. Nadal has the most grand slams for any men’s tennis player and many people view that as the ultimate signifier to title someone as the GOAT. However, Freshman Jack Lynch said, “Novak Djokovic is the GOAT of tennis because he is the most talented player ever.” I strongly disagree with Lynch, as I see Federer as the GOAT of tennis purely speaking statistically.

The last debate over GOAT in a sport is golf. Tiger Woods and Jack Nicholas are the two athletes in contention for the GOAT title. Junior Sydney Vincent says, “Tiger is the GOAT of golf because he is extremely talented and even though Jack Nicholas has more majors, Tiger Woods played against greater competition.” I fully believe that Tiger Woods is the GOAT of golf, having played a legendary role in the popularity of golf. As stated on Woods’s personal website, he holds 82 all- time PGA TOUR victories, alongside being ranked the best golfer in the world for 12 years in total and World No. 1 eight times- 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The GOAT debate will never have a clear answer and differing opinions will continue to exist. The debate will always evolve through the rise of new athletes and new records, but in my humble opinion, the GOAT athlete is Michael Phelps because of his godly success on the biggest stage consistently, and no one will ever forget his legacy.

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