League of Legends Overall & Stroke Podiums: Phelps Tops Spitz & Matthes/Thorpe Snap

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The League of Legends Overall Podium: Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz and a snap for bronze, with Roland Matthes and Ian Thorpe - Image courtesy: SwimSketch

Last week, Swimming World Editors Craig Lord and John Lohn put together an event-by-event League of Olympic Swim Legends in which the likes of Michael Phelps excelled, to the surprise of no-one (we hope).

The rest of the SW team, Liz Byrnes, Ian Hanson, Matt de George and Andy Ross, aided by the watchful eye of Dan D’Addona compiled our Tokyo2020 Visions, with previews that take races up to the closing metres of battle but not beyond.

Here, we sum up with stroke and overall podiums. Today, Men

The future of Olympic swimming is a year away, all being well. In the void left by postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic, we marked the days by following the Tokyo 202One schedule event by event.

Our League of Legends focused purely on Games results in solo events to allow us to line-up a battle of the ages for each race in the modern Olympic program. Given the many changes to the sport over the past 124 years back to Athens 1896, we tried to balance actual Olympic results with the world-record pioneers who set the pace at a time when events such as 200m freestyle, 200m medley, medley and butterfly at all, and so on, hadn’t yet made it to the world of Olympic swimming.

Our emphasis was on Medals, World Records, Longevity. We set a rule: no swimmers suspended for a positive doping test were eligible, nor were those who, sadly, were abused by systematic doping. We also provided a Lane 9 to add spice to line-ups with phenomenal athletes who were denied their chance to show their best, whether by boycott or because of other kinds of barriers, such as ‘no such event in his/her era’ or ‘beaten by those whose performances were enhanced by doping.

Michael Phelps – King of The League of Legends

Now, to sum up the series, we tally up our scores to produce stroke podiums and an overall podium of greats for both men and women. Our men’s podiums below feature Michael Phelps three times. No great surprise there: overall victory is built on the strength of the versatility packed into podiums earned on freestyle, butterfly and medley.

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Michael Phelps – Photo Courtesy: SwimSketch

Our virtual ‘fly and medley podiums are topped by the American coached by Bob Bowman. Phelps won the 100, 200m butterfly and the 200 and 400m medley in our event-by-event battles (links below).

For the overall and stroke podiums, we use a count that reduces the heavy emphasis on longevity to provide balance for the huge, if short, impact of those who came, conquered in magnificent fashion, and moved on, for a variety of reasons, before their full potential might have been realised.

How to measure impact? Not easy. For the podiums below we grant points for medals of each colour in strokes, the number of World records set, lend weight to multi-medal efforts at a single Games, take account of the range of events, strokes and distances excelled in nod to the longevity of pioneering pace achieved by the protagonists. For the overall podiums, we take account of the versatility of the athletes: bonus points were awarded for the number of strokes and events and distances the athlete excelled in.

Obviously, that may well be an advantage to those who make the podiums in sprint and distance freestyle (more shots) but the history of swimming also shows us how relatively rare it is to find a swimmer capable of making an Olympic podium over a stretch from 100m to 400m, let alone 100m to 800 or 1500m.

All such exercises are imperfect and the fact is: there is no race for an overall podium nor indeed across the ages. We’re in the virtual world and each of you will have your own thoughts about what that looks like. Fun and filling the void of a missing and much missed Olympic was the point, so we hope you enjoyed it.

The men’s overall race produced convincing winners in most categories; in the women’s races, there were a few more ties.

Today: League of Legends – Men

Overall – Gold For Phelps

  1. Michael Phelps (USA); 2. Mark Spitz (USA); = 3 Roland Matthes (GDR); Ian Thorpe (AUS)

Phelps’ dominance is to be found nowhere else in swimming:  he won with more than twice as many points as the closest man to him, Spitz, a winner of seven golds, four of them in solo events, compared to the 13 gold, 2 silver and one bronze in  solo events claimed by Phelps at the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Games. Spitz was extraordinary, of course, and his count placed him more than 20 points ahead of the snap for bronze.

League of Legends Stroke Podiums

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Those Feet… SwimSketch

Freestyle

Men: 

Overall: 1. Ian Thorpe (AUS); Alex Popov (RUS); Vladimir Salnikov (URS)

Winners of the spectrum:

Sprint: Alex Popov (RUS). Distance: Vladimir Salnikov (URS)

(Original Caption) Munich: Roland Matthes of East Germany is shown winning the final of the 100 meters mens backstroke at the Munich Olympics and setting a New Olympic record of 56.58 for the event.

Roland Matthes – SwimSketch

Backstroke

Men: 

1. Roland Matthes (GDR); Aaron Peirsol (USA); John Naber (USA)

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Kosuke Kitajima – SwimSketch

Breaststroke

Men: 

1. Kosuke Kitajima (JPN); John Hencken (USA); David Wilkie (GBR)

Butterfly

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Michael Phelps and coach Bob Bowman Photo Courtesy: SwimSketch

Men: 

1. Michael Phelps (USA); Mark Spitz (USA); Michael Gross (FRG)

Medley

Men: 

1. Michael Phelps (USA); Tamas Darnyi (HUN); Ryan Lochte* (USA)

Our Day-By-Day Coverage

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Ian Thorpe – SwimSketch

Day 1

League

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Michael Phelps Tops 400 IM Podium With Darnyi & Dolan

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Ian Thorpe Tops 400 Free Podium With Rose & Salnikov

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Yana Klochkova Tops 400IM Podium With De Varona and Caulkins

Day 2

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Mary T. Meagher Tops 100 ‘Fly Podium With Sjöstrom & De Bruijn

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Kosuke Kitajima Tops 100m Breaststroke Podium With Hencken & Peaty

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Janet Evans Tops 400 Free Podium With Norelius, Meyer & Ledecky

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Roland Matthes – SwimSketch

Day 3

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Ian Thorpe Tops 200m Free Podium With Schollander & A Snap For Hoogie & Gross

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Natalie Coughlin Tops the 100m Backstroke Podium With Egerszegi & Muir

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Roland Matthes Tops The 100m Backstroke Podium With Peirsol & Kealoha

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Leisel Jones Tops 100 Breaststroke Podium With Heyns & King

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Federica Pellegrini – Photo Courtesy: SwimSketch

Day 4

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Federica Pellegrini Tops 200m Free Podium With Fraser & Babashoff

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Michael Phelps Tops 200m Butterfly Podium With Spitz & Gross

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Historic Three-Way Gold For Tracy Caulkins, Donna De Varona & Yana Klochkova

Tokyo Vision: Katie Ledecky Makes Inaugural 1500 Freestyle for Women a Coronation

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Duke Kahanamoku -Image Courtesy: SwimSketch

Day 5

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Ian Thorpe Tops 800 Podium With Salnikov, Holland & Hackett

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Mike Barrowman Tops 200m Breaststroke Podium With Kitajima & Wilkie

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Mary T Meagher Tops 200 Butterfly Podium With Ada K and Susie O

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Duke Kahanamoku Tops 100 Free Podium With Weissmuller & Popov

Day 6

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Rebecca Soni – SwimSketch

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Rebecca Soni Tops 200 Podium With Galina & Amanda

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Roland Matthes Tops 200 Back Podium With Peirsol & Naber

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Dawn Fraser Tops 100 Free Podium With Durack & De Bruijn

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Kieren Perkins Tops 1500 With Hackett & Salnikov

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Krisztina Egerszegi – Image Courtesy: SwimSketch

Day 7

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Michael Phelps Tops 100 ‘Fly Podium With Spitz & Morales

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Krisztina Egerszegi Tops 200 Back Podium With Tanaka & Coventry

League Of Olympic Swim Legends: Katie Ledecky/ Janet Evans Top 800 Podium With Adlington/Meyer

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Kieren Perkins – Image Courtesy: SwimSketch

Day 8

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Alex Popov Tops 50 Free With Hall Jr – Ervin, Biondi, Jager Snap For Bronze

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Inge De Bruijn Tops Podium With Steffen & Kromowidjojo

League of Olympic Swim Legends: Kieren Perkins Tops 1500 With Hackett & Salnikov

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