Lyn Davies was clearly a terrific athlete, it is not easy to say he was the "worst" at anything. But he was not even close to being in the same class with Boston or Ter-O at the '64 games. The rains came, though, and Davies came away a winner.
"There are lots of early OG champs who never accomplished much of anything else."
This is, of course, entirely true; a result of the fact that the first several OG were (athletically speaking) utterly inconsequential. In this particular hall of shame, we're focusing on the more recent "undeserving" because this--supposedly--is the era in which the OG is the ULTIMATE of ALL SPORT.
True. I actually would vote for LE Myers & WG George in the 1880s as the first truly "modern" track athletes. The sport took a big step backward with the establishment of the AAU, imposition of hardcore amateurism rules, etc. But, as they say, that's another story...
Kederis. I still dont think he sould have run. Mike was supposedly injured at the trials. Mo was a jack ass and did that fake pull up thing after Mike in the trials and John Capel messed up on his start.
It's not so much that Nouriah Mérah was one of the "worst athletes", but her win in the Sydney OG 1500m was quite a shock (beating Szekely, Szabo, Holmes, Chojecka and Runyan). 2000 was undoubtedly Mérah's best season, but her winning time (4:05) was hardly spectacular and well inside the capabilities of most of the other athletes in that race.
>but I don't think this topic is very fair for the
>athletes. You make it sound like their
>accomplishment was nothing.
I agree. "Biggest shock Olympic win" would be more appropriate. Surely, anyone who wins an Olympic gold medal, doesn't really deserve to be associated with the word "worst" (when used in this context).
Since the question didn't specify the summer games, my vote goes to the Aussie speed skater Steven Bradbury who took gold in the men's 1,000 metre short track event in 2002. I'm sure you remember this:
"In one of the most bizarre races in Olympic history, Bradbury was well back in fifth and last position going into the final turn before the finish line. But the leading skater, American Apollo Anton Ono, was touched by the Chinese skater, who was in second place and attempting to pass. Both skaters fell and the Korean and Canadian skaters behind them crashed into the leading pair and all four slid off the track leaving an open line for Bradbury, who pumped his arms in victory as he crossed the line. The judges held a short deliberation and decided to let the result stand."
"I don't think this topic is very fair for the athletes. You make it sound like their accomplishment was nothing."
Lighten up! We're not saying their accomplishment was "nothing"--we're saying it was utterly undeserved, dumb luck, a ridiculous fluke, whatever. Pretending that these immediately-forgotten OG gold medalists are all timeless "greats" is like saying every jackpot winner in Vegas is a financial genius. They ain't! And further, these folks don't need your defense: they have their gold medals, after all...and we don't!
I suppose Klyugin was somewhat lucky to win the H.J. in Sydney before the rain washed them all away. But Beamon was no surprise winner and Josy Barthel was clearly the best 1500 runner in '52. Who should have won that 1500m if not Barthel?
I think Remigino was ranked 1st in '52. Art Bragg was injured, so what?
>"I don't think this topic is very fair for the
>athletes. You make it sound like their
>accomplishment was nothing."
>We're not saying their accomplishment was
>"nothing"--we're saying it was utterly
>undeserved, dumb luck, a ridiculous fluke,
>whatever. Pretending that these
>immediately-forgotten OG gold medalists are all
>timeless "greats" is like saying every jackpot
>winner in Vegas is a financial genius. They
>ain't! And further, these folks don't need your
>defense: they have their gold medals, after
>all...and we don't!
Now, who needs to lighten up? Yes, we don't have a gold medal, that is why we appreciate them. Anyway, this is a dead end argument.
One way to look at this (post-WWII only) is to use World Rankings. You can't rank #1 on the strength of an Olympic victory alone -- if the rest of your season sucked, it's taken into consideration. So while guys like Remigino or Biwott may have been one-off successes, they were at least decent for the remainder of that Olympic season.
I don't feel like spending a lot of time on this, so I won't make an exhaustive search. So far I haven't found an Olympic champion with less credentials than Peter Rono -- #5 in his championship season of 1988 and nothing else. If you're willing to count boycotted Olympics, you can't top Ria Stalman, the '84 women's DT champ -- her only ranking ever was that year at #10.