How to determine all time best?


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

How to determine all time best?

Postby curious » Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:47 pm

I was having a discussion with someone about how to determine the best alltime performer in a sport.

Should it be based on # of major titles/championships, best performance, consistency, or something else. I think track lends itself to this kind of discussion.
Cheers
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Re: How to determine all time best?

Postby Jon » Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:51 pm

Whatever criterium you use, the debate could go on for ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, etc.....
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Re: How to determine all time best?

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 17, 2003 1:59 pm

Why would you use a bicycle race to determine the best track athlete?
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Re: How to determine all time best?

Postby Hunter » Wed Sep 17, 2003 2:16 pm

i've thought about this quite a bit. There are a lot of different variables, especially when you consider athletes now vs 80 years ago.

I think the best way is to look at consistency over time. Who was ranked #1 or in the top 3 in their event the most times?

I think we can find these answers somewhere on this site.
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Re: How to determine all time best?

Postby schmke » Fri Sep 26, 2003 6:37 pm

I compiled a spreadsheet with the top-10 800-10000 runners since 1968 and with a few equations arrived at a ranking of the best. The equation was based on the number of times ranked in the top-10 minus the average ranking. Thus the best by this definition would be someone who was ranked in the top-10 at different distances, ideally #1.

Using this definition the top 10 (well 11, 10th is a tie) are as follows:

Geb - 20.2
Aouita - 14.1
Coe - 14.0
Morceli - 13.2
Komen - 9.3
El G - 9.3
Ovett - 9.0
Tergat - 8.3
Cram - 7.7
Yifter - 7.0
Ondieki - 7.0

Geb's being #1 is due to being ranked in the top-10 at 3 different distances for a total of 22 top-10 rankings and an average ranking of 1.8. Aouita is close behind with an average of 1.9 but was only ranked in the top-10 16 times. What is impressive about Aouita is that he was ranked in the top-10 in a 5 distances.

Kevin
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Re: How to determine all time best?

Postby Guest » Sat Sep 27, 2003 11:20 am

For my project I saw no reason to reinvent the wheel. I took T&FN's world ranking criteria and adapted it to an all-time setting.

http://personal.bgsu.edu/~jsquire/intro.pdf
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