NBC Greatest Olympians Of All Time List Include Just Two Aussies, Ian Thorpe And Cathy Freeman

28/04/2016 9:09 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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UNSPECIFIED - AUGUST 26: In this handout provided by LEGO Australia, a LEGO recreation of Cathy Freeman winning gold in the 400m at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, on August 26, 2012. LEGO Australia today unveiled LEGO Minifigure recreations of the top ten Australian moments from the past 50 years. (Photo by Mike Stimpson/LEGO Australia via Getty Images)

Wednesday marked 100 days to go until the Rio Olympics. That got a whole bunch of journos in a whole bunch of newsrooms around the world churning out a whole bunch of lists.

One such list was compiled by NBC Sports. NBC is the U.S. broadcaster which has held the rights to the summer Olympics since 1988, and which two years ago paid $US7.75 billion for the exclusive broadcast rights to the six Summer and Winter Olympic Games from 2022 to 2032.

Bottom line, they know a thing or two about the Olympics.

NBC Sports national columnist Joe Posnanski compiled the list. He's a well regarded sports writer with awards galore to his name. And he's been to about a million Olympic Games.

His top five? We're sure Joe won't mind us giving them away, especially if we provide a lovely hyperlink to his story.

But first, you should know that just two Aussies make the list. That's a bit wrong by our reckoning, but only a little bit wrong. Australia has won 138 of the 4809 Olympic gold medals awarded since the first modern Games in 1896.

That means we've claimed 2.87 percent of all (Summer) Olympic gold medals, which suggests NBC might have snuck a third Aussie in alongside the two who made it.

ian thorpe

35? Yeah I'll take that.

Those two? Thorpey at number 35 and Cathy Freeman at number 67 -- for her ability to handle the pressure as much as her Sydney 2000 gold medal in the 400 metres.

Apart from those two, you might have squeezed in Dawn Fraser for becoming the first swimmer to win the same event (the 100m freestyle) at three consecutive Olympics (1956-64). But otherwise you can't really argue.

NBC's top five?

5. Carl Lewis: US sprinter with ten medals, nine of them gold.

4. Usain Bolt: the Jamaican sprinter with six golds and potentially more to come in Rio.

3. Larisa Latynina: the Soviet Union gymnast who won 14 individual gold medals. Which is actually more individual gold than the next bloke on the list who has won 11 (plus seven in relays).

2. Michael Phelps: who may yet add to 22 medals, 18 of which are gold.

1. Jesse Owens: the US sprinter who not only won four gold medals at the Berlin 1936 Games, but who bravely defied hateful Hitler propaganda.

Oh, and in case you missed the story we ran to mark 100 days to go, you'l be EXTREMELY surprised at how you pronounce the host city Rio de Janeiro in proper Brazilian Portuguese. Well, you will.

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