- 02/26/2012, 05:24PM ET
Mondo Jay said 02/26, 05:24 PM
This is a cool topic because it can be argued in so many different ways.
"Icon" doesn't necessarily mean "the best" (although I will factor in accomplishments too) but rather a person or thing regarded as a: representative symbol of something. (I am leaving out the religious connotation of "icon", but I guess sports are like a form of religion to many, so perhaps it still applies..)
As with the real Mount Rushmore, I will limit my choices to Four American men. I was tempted to use Mary Lou Retton -as she left an iconic impact on me and my special purpose during tireless self-exploration when I was a young teen during the '84 Games, but decided that would be too selfish. (Raging hormones cannot account for taste btw)
Jessie Owens (Track and Field)
Bruce Jenner (Track and Field)
Michael Phelps (Swimming) (Bong horking)
Eric Heiden (Speed Skating) *wanted to throw in at least one Winter athlete.
I will argue the merits of these four Olympic Icons in my next two arguments.
Now if you will excuse me, I am about to study some of Michael Phelps' "techniques".
Good luck ATPR.
And the Prophecy Read said 02/28, 11:43 AM
What first jumps out at me is the way you start out by saying iconic doesn't mean best but a symbol of something. Then you include Phelps over Mark Spitz. What Phelps accomplished in '04 winning 8 medals and 6 golds might have beat Spitz' total medal count but Spitz won 7 golds in one Olympics in 1972. Spitz paved the way for what Phelps was able to accomplish. Now i'm not trying to knock Phelps at all but usually the edge goes to the one that paved the way for the other. Spitz was Olympic swimming before Phelps.
There was also not a 50m freestyle when Spitz was competing. If there was he believes he would have won 8 golds, we'd have to believe that he'd at least medal in the event which would have given him 8 total.
So with that being said my first change is, Mark Spitz over Bruce Jenner. Phelps is too accomplished and well known to take out and Spitz was Phelps before Phelps. The bookends of my Rushmore.
Ray Ewry over Eric Heiden next. I wanted to change it to a Winter one as well but the story of Ray Ewry and what he accomplished was just to good to pass up.
Good luck Mondo should be fun.
Mondo Jay said 02/29, 01:41 AM
Okay, so lets talk about Mr. Kardashian A.K.A. Bruce Jenner.
Most of FN's younger users may only know Bruce Jenner from being married to Kris Kardashian and also for making Joan Rivers' plastic surgery look natural in comparison to his own Nip/Tuck efforts on his grill
But, when it comes to American Olympic "Icons", Jenner would most certainly have to be a prominent member.
Going into the '76 Games, Jenner had success in the '72 Munich games (10th place) and had been the U.S. champ in '74 and '76 in the decathlon. The world's "bad guys" (The Soviet Union) had punked the Americans in the '72 games winning the Gold in decathlon, basketball and the 100 meter. The outcome of the "cold war" was uncertain at the time and the Soviets certainly seemed to have the advantage in the sports arena heading into the '76 games.
Jenner Winning 'back' the decathlon title in '76 made Jenner an American hero and was a big **** you! to the Russians.
American pride was back!!
After his amazing success, Jenner appeared on the front of a Wheaties box (before it was passe.) It doesn't get more iconic than that.
And the Prophecy Read said 02/29, 06:58 PM
My choice of Ray Ewry is probably unknown to all. But Ewry is a great story and a great competitor. Born in 1873 Ewry was orphaned at 5 and bound to a wheelchair at the age of 7. A doctor even told him he wouldn't walk again.
That wasn't about to stop Ray. After a doctor introduced him to plyometrics Ray worked his legs out as often as he could. Just hoping to even stand on his own again.
Now flash forward to college Ray stands on his own legs with his 6 foot 3 inch frame. After demolishing the college competition America sent Ray to compete in the Olympics and Ray certainly didn't disappoint winning a total of 10 gold medals. How many events did Ray compete in total? 10. Ray went 10/10 gold medals in his events. Ray was so confident in his abilites he competed a few times without even doing the preliminary jumps would just jump once when it counted.
The only thing Ray did wrong was compete at a time when the media wasn't as big as it was for the others.
Ray was the first American Olympic hero at the start of the 1900's going perfect in his events winning 10 golds. Not bad for a boy who was once told he may not walk again.
Mondo Jay said 03/01, 02:39 PM
In February of 1980 American speed-skater Eric Heiden dominated the Winter Olympics like no man had ever done before.
During the course of those 9 glorious and Golden days at Lake Placid, the 21-year old Heiden won 5 individual gold medals, (a feat no Olympian had ever accomplished to that point, be it Summer or Winter) setting 5 Olympic records, including one world mark. His iconic performance earned him the nickname the "Man of Gold".
Heiden's accomplishments were somewhat overshadowed by the thrilling performance of the U.S. Hockey team beating the Soviets...but, this TD is about individuals, not "team".
Heiden's dominance may have only been eclipsed by his own reluctance to embrace fame. For the most part, he shunned endorsements, accepting only a select few and not becoming the pitchman that previous U.S. Olympic stars Mark Spitz and Bruce Jenner had become.
Heiden's excellence and humble persona represents everything I would want in an Olympic Icon.
While Heiden prefered to downplay his golden moment, announcer Keith Jackson didn't, "What he did in 1980 was one of a kind," Jackson said, "and we will probably never see it again."
And the Prophecy Read said 03/03, 06:09 PM
Ewry also has the humble persona you are looking for. Along with excellence, 10 for 10 in gold medals, as well as overcoming a huge obstacle. Its would be awfully hard to jump bound to a wheel chair. Ewry held down a engineer job and isn't solely responsible but had a part in some bridges and buildings still in New York. He was a working man fist and formost and just so happen to be a very good jumper.
When I found myself going back and forth and back and forth on Spitz and Phelps I really don't see how either could be not included. Both had two of the most memorable Olympic performances of all time no matter the country.
Ewrys story, persona, and accomplishments I feel like outweight Heidens, which are remarkable as well and Spitz far outweighs Jenners.
Maybe its the fact I wasn't alive then but I never knew the Olympics and the Cold War were that related. I feel like its more of a your generation type thing that makes those events so spectacular. The Mircale on Ice will live forever but since you all got to see the others at that time they mean more to you. For future generations my 4 picks I feel are better all around choices.
- Awful Announcing
- Free Darko
- Pro Football Talk
- The Big Lead
- Joe Posnanski
- The Sporting Blog
- Big League Stew
- Bugs and Cranks
- Every day Should Be Saturday
- Mr. Irrelevant
- With Leather
- The Sports Hernia