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Could Bolt be the greatest ever athlete?
6:00pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Sport By Steve Carley - Midlands Sports Journalist of the Year 2013, @stevecarleyWN
OFTEN you hear debates about who is the greatest in a particular sport.
Pele, Maradona and Lionel Messi are the usual candidates in football, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras and Roger Federer when it comes to tennis.
Every sport allows itself to indulge in such arguments from time to time but it is ultimately futile as judging across generations is a pointless exercise.
If it were possible, I, for one, would love to see Usain Bolt go up against Michael Johnson over 200 metres.
Two of the greatest athletes of all-time but a generation apart.
However, the next best thing would be for Bolt to take up the challenge of running 400m in a major event. The Jamaican has done it for exhibition purposes but never when it truly matters.
The double Olympic and world champion holds the world record over 100m and 200m and has clocked competitive times over the longer distance.
His personal best of 45.28 seconds, set in 2007, is shy of Johnson’s 1999 world-record 43.18 but is not a million miles away, even in the split-second arena of athletics.
With Johnson already having seen Bolt usurp his 200m record, I’m sure the BBC pundit will be hoping Bolt sticks to the shorter sprints. But the wider sporting public would relish the prospect.
Then there really would be a debate to be had about who is the greatest.