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  • rachid

    where is nadia comaneci???? she is the gratest gymnast in history!

    • Stéphane

      Indeed, without Nadia, this list is null and void.

  • Rachid beat me to it.. I recognize a top ten list can't include everyone, but seeing as how 4 gymnasts made this list, I don't see how Nadia could not have been one of them.

  • Rachid and Trixie – I also agree. Nadia had the following medal count:

    Gold 1976 Montréal All-Around

    Gold 1976 Montréal Uneven Bars

    Gold 1976 Montréal Balance Beam

    Gold 1980 Moscow Balance Beam

    Gold 1980 Moscow Floor

    Silver 1976 Montréal Team

    Silver 1980 Moscow Team

    Silver 1980 Moscow All-Around

    Bronze 1976 Montréal Floor

    5 gold x 5 points = 25 points

    3 silver x 3 points = 9 points

    1 bronze x 2 points = 2 points

    total = 36 points

    This puts her at #9 and should push out Amy.

  • Pax

    This is a good list but… it's hard to accept this list as a 'greatest' list when athletes like Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Bonnie Blair, Nadia Comaneci, Tracy Caulkins, Florence Griffith Joyner, etc aren't included. Nadia, for example, is considered by many as the greatest gymnast of all-time yet she barely makes the list at 9 (thanks TopTenz Master) and even gets beaten by 4 other gymnast based on the parameters used. I also expected to see Olga Korbut in here somewhere…

    This list is more like comparing simple career numbers vs peak performance.

  • mmuunnttee

    nice list but i'm preety sure that number one is Nadia Comaneci but nice job

    • manciurian

      Nadia isn't exactly number one but it should bee in the list

  • Shayin Beijing

    Very US-centric choices of swimmers. No argument with Jenny Thomson, but the others were decent swimmers with their numbers inflated by virtue of being in US relay teams. Dawn Fraser or Krisztina Egerszegi were far greater swimmers, without the artificial relay numbers to push them along.

  • David

    Some great posts and many thanks for all your comments! Whether you agree with the Luchies Olympic Formula (LOF), let’s not forget that my selection of this list was based on that key factor. Using this formula, Nadia Comaneci received five five golds, three silvers and one bronze for a total of 36 points, and therefore, I stand to be corrected as she did in fact place as number nine on this list nudging out Amy Van Dyken. As for comparing simple career numbers versus peak performance, let’s not forget Birgit Schmidt-Fischer, Dara Torres, and Raisa Smetanina all made the list using the same formula. Finally, the potentially inflated numbers for swimmers for team medals could also be true of gymnast, but again remember, efforts at objectivity was made by equally applying the LOF. Thanks again for bringing Nadia Comaneci to my attention. My oversight was certainly not intentional.

  • lb

    the greatest olympian ever is just that, shes not a summer olympian and shes not a winter olympian, shes both, Canadian Clara Hughes , the multi medalist in both the summer and winter olympics (cycling/speed skating) , no other olympian has accomplished that feat.

    • dg

      absolutely! She’s now 40 years old and still our most talented athlete! Go Clara!

  • Rich

    without Nadia, this list is dead on arrival

  • rachid

    I'm so proud that people want Nadia on this list, because I'm half Romanian

    • @rachid

      I'm so proud to be a "full" Romanian! 😉

  • tasmanian devil

    Typical American list. They seem to think the level of athletic brilliance is directly related to the number of medals they have won. Quantity over quality. What about those athletes who compete in events where there is only one gold to win (e.g. Judo). These people train their whole life for one chance at gold. If the number of medals determines ones greatness then obviously athletes like gymnasts and swimmers are going to top the list. A swimmer can win 7 gold medals by swimming a little bit further or changing their technique slightly. If greatness was determined by dignity, honour and humility there wouldn't be many Americans on the list.

    • So you are saying Americans, as a rule, don't have dignity, honor or humility? You paint us all with a wide brush, my friend. Be careful what you say, you don't want to be thought of as American.

      • tasmanian devil

        No I am not saying Americans, as a rule, don’t have dignity, honour or humility, just the athletes and in various combinations. Americans have a terrible culture in sports where winning is everything. When they do win they rub it in the oppositions face and are loud and arragont. When they lose its like they have been shot. This is not the case with many or even most but America is the best known for it in the world. Just trying your hardest and leaving with a smile on your face makes you a great athelete.

  • spk

    Granted, as a Canadian, I'm a little biased here…but I'd think you would have to include Clara Hughes. I'm not aware of too many Olympians who have participated in both the Summer and Winter Olympics…much less won medals in both. Over her career in speed skating and cycling she has won a gold medal (speed skating), one silver (speed skating), and 4 bronze medals, (cycling and speed skating).

  • Lex

    Where's Kerri Strug?!?

  • London La Quinta

    MICHELLE KWAN. Greatest.

  • qystein

    Marit Bjorgen???

  • made them as an inspiration, so we are able to succeed like them.

  • ion

    Nadia is no. 1.

  • Peter Boucher

    Katarina Witt (figure skating), Fanny Blankers Koen (track and field), Babe Didrickson (track and field), Jackie Joyner Kersee (track and field), Olga Korbut (gymnastics), Dawn Fraser (swimming), Fu Ming-Xia (diving), Bonnie Blair, (Speed Skating), Mary Lou Retton (gymnastics), Sonia Henje (figure skating), Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey Team, Patricia McCormack (diving), Wilma Rudolph (track and field), Wyomia Tyus (track and field), 1976 East Germany women’s swim team starring Kornelia Ender, Ludmilla Tereshkova (gymnastics), the late Florence Griffith Joyner (track and field), Jenny Thompson (swimming)

    • Peter Boucher

      Shall I dig deeper into the list that I have accumulated ????

  • Grambo

    Yegorova was found gilty in taking performance enhanced drugs in 2002. Just sayin’..