Happy Canada Day everybody! For hockey fans, Canada Day means watching TSN's coverage of NHL free agency day. But here at Greatest Hockey Legends, we're going to spend Canada Day deciding Canada's Greatest Athlete of All Time.
Canada's Top 100 - The Greatest Athletes Of All Time. Author Maggie Mooney assembled an expert (though west coast biased) panel to determine Canada's greatest athlete. I've got a full book review at Hockey Book Reviews.com, or you can just go ahead and buy the book - Amazon.ca - Chapters - Amazon.com
I'll let you read the review to learn who was chosen as number one. I was really impressed with the book's struggle to define greatness. To me, that is the biggest obstacle to these debates. In order to adequately compare candidates, you need a set definition to hold everyone to.
The definition of greatness varies widely from person to person. For me, the key ingredient is legacy. Great athletes can win championships and gold medals, but the absolute greatest leave a profound influence on their sport. In rare cases, their legacies transcend their sport.
But is the Canadian athlete with the greatest legacy the country's greatest athlete? Is it possible that Canada's greatest athlete is not a hockey player?
The book I mentioned above did not quite know how to handle Terry Fox. There can be no denying he has the greatest legacy, which was how they defined greatness, too. But is he a true athlete? Did he accomplish enough as an athlete to really compete against Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Steve Nash, Lionel Conacher or Cindy Klassen?
They named Wayne Gretzky as Canada's greatest athlete, but gave Fox "special honour" status, almost naming him #1a. All at once that seems entirely fair and a complete cop out all at once.
Who's your greatest Canadian athlete of all time? I want to hear either here in the comments or on Twitter @HockeyLegends. (and no, wrestlers Gene Kinisky and Iron Mike Sharpe don't count, despite what they may have claimed themselves)
My greatest Canadian athlete? I've got to go with The Great One. Here's my top five: 1) Wayne Gretzky, 2) Terry Fox, 3) Lionel Conacher, 4) Bobby Orr and 5) Steve Nash.
Happy Canada Day everybody!