Davinder Jhamat, Head of Research and Education at BCSC
So they have finally arrived - the Olympics. With all the recent documentaries on TV, particularly the Olympics' Most Amazing Moments, the fastest man on the planet - Usain Bolt, the BBC evening news coming live from the Olympic village and more, with all the excitement getting a tad too palpable, something struck me.
There is a long list of male athletes (not necessarily Olympians) I can name as being the greatest athletes of all time. To name a few:
- Muhammad Ali
- Aryton Senna
- Usain Bolt
- Roger Federer
- Steve Redgrave
- Pele. Let's not even begin on the rest of the Brazilian football team - it's a list of its own!
- Chris Hoy
- Maradona. Messi in due course will have his place in sporting history. Excuse the bias.
- Haile Gebrselassie
- Daley Thompson
- Michael Johnson
- Michael Phelps
- And others, though it pains me to say Tiger Woods.
The list goes on for the men. However, upon deep contemplation I am struggling with the ladies. To name a few are:
- Nadia Comăneci - Romanian gymnast to score the first perfect 10's. A true inspiration for me though my attempts to follow suit were quickly shortlived.
- Martina Navratilova
- Steffi Graff
And that's where I become stuck. I can't even name five women! However, I am confident there are others and am currently scouting other sports.
So here is a shout out for your recommendations in padding out the female list. Remember it's a list of the greatest athletes that have lived and not just any athlete. And just before it gets too competitive, ladies and gentlemen may I iterate it is not a 'them and us' issue - it's about bringing knowledge to the table.
So as we clammer to grab the best sofa seats, I really hope that these games live up to expectations. I for one will be following track and field, gymnastics, diving, boxing, judo, weightlifting... guess that's the whole of August written off for me!