Talking Sport South Africas Greatest Sportsman
by Huguenot Hottentot
Recently I read a very interesting article on who was the greatest sportsman ever, written by an Australian. Here was his impressive list:
1. Muhammad Ali - Three-time world champion
2. Pele - Three time World cup winner and all time top scorer for Brazil
3. Lance Armstrong - Won the Tour de France seven successive times after overcoming cancer
4. Don Bradman - Highest test average of 99.94 - way ahead of next contender
5. Jack Nicklas - Record 18 major wins and 113 professional titles
6. Roger Federer - 12 grand slams, 55 career singles titles and the world no 1 for a record 229 weeks
7. Jesse Owens - Four time track and field gold medallist at 1936 Berlin Olympics
8. Michael Schumacher - Seven time formula one champion 91 victories in 249 starts
9. Mark Spitz - Nine time gold medallist winning seven golds in 1972 Munich Olympics setting a world record in each.
10. Michael Jordan - Six time NBA champion (6 times final MVP) Five -time NBA MVP - 2 Olympic golds
The Aussie picked Bradman of course over Tiger! Who would be your pick? Interesting...no South Africans, but who is South Africas greatest sportsman ever?
The sports we have done particularly well in are rugby of course, cricket, golf, swimming, athletics, road running, boxing and hockey. At the beginning of the sports isolation, it was team sports we were world top dogs in, including cricket, rugby, mens hockey and of course one individual we will all remember, Gary Player.
If I had the responsibility of giving an award it would be to the cricket team captained by Ali Bacher, which contained so many world class champions like Graeme Pollock, Barry Richards, Michael Procter, Eddie Barlow, Peter Pollock, Denis Lindsay, Colin Bland, Tiger Lance and Lee Irvine, who were all major class players.
We all know about the Springbok tradition which produced many world class rugby players. Well never forget that Stransky drop kick in 1995! Frik du Preez, Naas Botha, Carel du Plessis, Byran Habana are all great players, but if there was a real stand out for me, for the real excitement he created, it was the one and only Danie Gerber. They still talk of him with awe in New Zealand and that says it all. Just a pity we never saw him at his peak in test rugby.
Track and Field has produced a few world record holders; Marcello Fascesnaro - 800m, John van Reenen - discus, Danie Malan - 1000m and those road running superstars Temane and Yawa who held the 15km and 21km world records respectively.
We also have a proud tradition in swimming. The first swimmer to go under 50 seconds, Jonty Skinner and who can forget the multitude of world records set by Karen Muir and Anne Fairlie. Recently the South African 4 by 100m freestyle quartet broke the world relay record.
Golf is a sport we astound the world with, Gary Player, Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goose, Trevor Immelman and a whole new batch coming through.
Other great names to mention are Brian Mitchell, Jody Schekter, Bruce Fordyce, Oscar Chalupsky who are other South Africans who put us on the international sports map. If Ive left any out please excuse me.
In summary Id like to say that the Tri Nations will be very even this year except for Dan Carter. If the Bokke want to win the 2011 World Cup they need to implement operation Find a flyhalf. Where are the Nasties, Boschs and Visagies, we used to have them popping out of every province