London: London Olympics chief Lord Sebastian Coe has claimed Michael Phelps, who recently won his record 19th Olympic medal, is not the greatest Olympian but is the most successful one, and recommended the names of Brit decathlon legend Daley Thompson and Brit rower Steve Redgrave’s name.
Lord Coe, who is a two-time 1,500m Olympic champion himself, called the achievement `pretty good’ but had his own ideas about better athletes.
“”I think you can say it is self-evident that he is the most successful. I am not sure he is the greatest. It is a pretty good haul, but who is the greatest? In my opinion he is probably not,” The Daily Mail quoted Lord Coe, as saying.
“I could throw out a whole series of names, I could throw out Steve Redgrave, I could throw out domestically Daley Thompson,” he added.
British rower Redgrave won five gold medals between 1984 and 2000 while Thompson, a close friend of Coe, is a double decathlon gold medallist.
“If I wanted to go back a few generations I think what Jesse Owens did in ”36 [Berlin Olympics] was unbelievable, Nadia Comaneci. I don”t know. It”s the global pub game,’ Lord Coe added.
Owens won gold medals in the 100m, 200m, long jump and 4x100m relay at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, much to the chagrin of Nazi Games organizers who were eager to use the Olympics as political propaganda to highlight German superiority.
Comaneci of Romania was the first gymnast to achieve a perfect 10 at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
Phelps eclipsed the previous record of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina”s 18 medals, when the U. S. won gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay at the aquatic centre on Monday.