Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The greatest athlete in the world

I don't know if you recall that famous quote from the late American climber Alex Lowe, who when asked who he thought "the greatest climber in the world was" he replied "The one having the most fun". It was probably a throw-away quip to a too often posed boring question a bit like Mallory's legendary "because it's there". But it does seem to have summed up a lot of the attitude Alex Lowe took to the mountains.

Anyway I was reminded of that attitude when I read about the top female "Ironman" triathlete of the moment Chrissie Wellington. Recently she broke the female world record for an Ironman by over 13 minutes. That's an incredible margin equivalent to the sort of thing Usain Bolt has been doing at the World athletics championships, but that's not why I think she's a contender for the world's greatest athlete. The reason why is that as far as I can gather at the end of every Ironman race, which she wins - i.e. everyone she's ever entered, she stays on at the finishing line congratulating every single other competitor who finishes right to the last, often around midnight. Read more about Ms Wellington at her rather entertaining blog http://www.chrissiewellington.org/blog/


Miles said...

It was Mallory who quipped 'Because it's there', Hillary was famous for 'We knocked the bastard off'

Ian Parnell said...

Doh! you're quite right. Hilary's is a fine quote.