Rank 'Em: Great Athletic Achievements

Created: August 15, 2008, 3:11 PM

We want SN to give us some historical perspective.

When the waters finally calmed at the Water Cube in Beijing, Michael Phelps had accomplished something no other Olympian had ever done. His eight gold medals edged out Mark Spitz's old record, seven, for the most gold medals won at a single Olympic Games, and now some are wondering if Phelps is the greatest athlete, never mind greatest Olympian, ever.

Here at SportsNation, we have no intention of waiting on history to put Phelps' 2008 Olympic performance in perspective. That is why we want to know where the 23-year-old's incredible performance ranks among some of the greatest athletic achievements of all time.

Is Phelps' performance more impressive than Graf's "Golden Slam," or Joltin' Joe's 56-game hitting streak? Does it rank above Gretzky's 92-goal
season or Chamberlain's 100-point game?

Vote now and let the debate begin!

  • After overcoming cancer, Lance Armstrong wins a record seven consecutive Tour de France titles.
  • In one of the greatest single-game performances in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points in a win against the Knicks.
  • At the Montreal Olympics, in 1976 14-year-old gymnast Nadia Comaneci scores seven perfect 10.0s.
  • In the summer of 1941, the Yankees' Joe DiMaggio goes on a 56-game hitting streak, a record that is still unmatched.
  • In 1926, the competitive swimmer becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel while breaking the men's record for time by nearly two hours.
  • In 1988, Steffi Graf wins every major title in tennis, as well as an Olympic gold medal, in a feat that has become known as the Golden Slam.
  • While playing for the Edmonton Oilers during the 1982-81 season, the Great One scores 92 goals. In that same season, he becomes the first player to break the 200-point mark.
  • Speed skater Eric Heiden wins all five long track skating events at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic Games.
  • In 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay become the first men to successfully scale Mount Everest.
  • At the 1996 Olympics, Michael Johnson becomes the only man to win both 200m and 400m events at the same Games. He also shatters the previous 200 world record.
  • At the 1935 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich., Jesse Owens sets four world records, in 70 minutes.
  • At the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals, surpassing Mark Spitz for the most gold medals won at a single Olympic Games.
  • During the 2006 NFL season, the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson scores 31 touchdowns, breaking the single-season touchdown record.
  • Bill Walton is nearly perfect in the 1973 NCAA title game, going 21-for-22 from the field and scoring 44 points, as UCLA hoists another championship banner.
  • After winning the 2001 Masters, Tiger Woods becomes the only man to hold all four major championships in the modern era. The feat becomes known as the Tiger Slam.