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I don't know about Lance, but who SHOULD have been #1 for last year was Tyler Hamilton. I'm still amazed at his broken-collarbone-ride. But then, what do you expect from USA Today? Certainly not accuracy.
 

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Have you ever heard of Vegard Ulvang?

Multiple olympic and world cup xc ski gold medalist?
taken from a olympic hero web site:
Vegard Ulvang came from Kirkenes, far north of the Arctic Circle. An adventurer, in the year before the Olympics he climbed Mt. Denali in Alaska and spent 15 days skiing across Greenland in the footsteps of explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Ulvang had earned a bronze medal at 30km in 1988. At the Albertville Games, he moved up to the gold. Three days later he entered the 10km race. At the last minute, for the first time in his career, he decided to compete without wax on his skis. He finished strongly to earn a second gold medal. He added a silver medal in the combined pursuit and then a third gold medal as a member of Norway's 4x10km relay team.

What this does not say is that Ulvang had cached food for a trip planned for 23 days. Exept he got stuck in a snow storm for 7 days so he had to "hurry up" a bit so he would not die... Not tracks, no hotel, no masseur, no shower. And then I add: try cross-country skying for a change. Try a 10k race. Then remember the longest olympic event is a 50 km up and down track... Marathon is "only" 42.2km.

So I ask you; what's tough?

Other tough sports to try: go for a water-polo game; you can't even breath when you want to!!!
 

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Two Golfers?!?

I question the whole thing--basically, they want to make sure they'll have the names that will sell papers. Two golfers were on the list! I won't argue the general athleticism of them (aside from a comment below), but golfers don't strike me as particularly tough. Contact and endurance sports--certainly. However, Tiger Woods doesn't strike me as particularly tough, relative to what some athletes do every day.

Annika Sorenstam is a woman competing against men. I can appreciate that degree of toughness to an extent. However, Tiger Woods is a different matter. The readers responded with "mental toughness" for him. I simply don't see how he demonstrates mental toughness more than any other athlete at the top of his or her sport. There is little that sets him apart.

The football and basketball players made a bit more sense to me. I won't argue his placing, except that it doesn't strike me as a tough list to get on.

I was on a bike trail yesterday, that snakes through a golf course. An older guy parked his <strong>cart</strong> on the trail, and had a <strong>cigarette</strong>! How tough is a sport that one drives a cart from point to point, and can have a cigarette in the middle of?

At least there weren't any auto racers in there.

The good news is that Armstrong leads the reader's poll by a good measure. Why is it that on internet polls, he is a good way ahead of the #2 for best/toughest/best looking athlete, but he's not similarly recognized by the media pundits?
 

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reminds me of the Yukon Quest dogsled race (and the book "Yukon Quest"...)

The Itidarod may get more press, but the Yukon Quest has to be one of the toughest, if not THE toughest, race in the world. Great book- highly recommended.
 

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Tough?

"Professional athlete" and "tough" is an oxymoron. Most are pampered babies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
smoking and golf and golf as a tough sport

last weekend I was watching a golf tournament on tv and John Daly was either leading or a contender. Anyway, while waiting for others to play through, he hung out with his caddie taking drags from a cigarette. How much mental toughness is required to play golf when you can detatch yourself from the game like that?

I've played 18 holes before. My non cycling muscles were plenty sore after spending 4+ hours chasing my ball around. Even considering all the pressure a pro golfer is under as well as the physical grind of practice/travel/competing I can't see how a golfer makes it on any list describing 'toughness'.

oh, and Water Polo hurts big time- that is Tough!
 

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ruger9 said:
I don't know about Lance, but who SHOULD have been #1 for last year was Tyler Hamilton. I'm still amazed at his broken-collarbone-ride. But then, what do you expect from USA Today? Certainly not accuracy.
I think they had the complete list in Men's Journal or some mag like that and Tyler was either 11 or 14... He still got screwed...
 

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Actually, Sal Ruibal is one of the better...

....cycling writers for a major newspaper. Obviously, USA Today is not going to cover anyone but Lance because of their focus on the mainstream, but Ruibal is a cyclist himself who knows exactly what he is talking about.

And the article was not about who was toughest last year, but over a career. Certainly, Lance by overcoming cancer and keeping his focus for five years, has been tougher than Tyler, who while a great talent has not been able to keep his bike wheel-side down enough.


ruger9 said:
I don't know about Lance, but who SHOULD have been #1 for last year was Tyler Hamilton. I'm still amazed at his broken-collarbone-ride. But then, what do you expect from USA Today? Certainly not accuracy.
 

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Anybody willing to make their own list.

I think we all agree the list is laughable. Anybody want to compile there own list so there is something to actually debate about. All one can say about this list is that it's clearly wrong.Tough is a tricky word.

Maybe a "who goes through the most pain" list would be more appropriate.
Another list could be “one with the most mental toughness.”

The list needs to focus on winners or near winners so things don’t get too cloudy.

My vote would go to Tyler Hamilton for last year, but for career definitely Lance.

A list compiled of athletes based on recent year’s performances, I believe, would be more interesting than career performances.

Thanks John
 

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That list is lame

How do you have two golfers on a list of 'toughest' athletes, and not one boxer, wrestler (I mean real wrestler), or UFC fighter?

Golfers are right up there with bowlers and billiards players on the toughness scale IMO. Owee, I got a blister on my thumb!!!
 

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I have to agree

While all professional athletes work hard, they are also preposterously well paid and endlessly coached to do something at which they are naturally talented. And they do it full time. And, while we hate to admit, are generally given a healthy dose of chemical enhancement.

I hate to sound like an Afterschool Special, but anyone who gets his legs ripped off in a car accident and, instead of buying a 1000-gallon barrel of Jim Bean, goes out and hops in a hand bike and does... anything, is tougher than any pro.
 

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Kinda figured out the golf thing with <CITE>USA Today</cite>. I checked their page today. No golf or cycling stories on the front page of the sports section. There was a big "golf" link. No cycling link, but, if you dug 'cause you were looking for it, you could find a <i>blurb</i> about Landis and Tour of the Algarve. We're lucky Lance got listed at all!
 

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Funny way of Measuring Toughness

I don't think that anybody who's heart rate doesn't at least reach 90% of their max should even qualify for this! Golf? What is wrong with this? At least Nascar drivers have to deal with heat and carbon monoxide! I can't believe how idiodic the article is. Seriously any endurance athlete is tougher than even the most hardcore football players on the list. Name one of those guys who would even think about going outside in -1 degree temperatures, never mind going out for an 18 mile long run!
 

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jprog7 said:
I don't think that anybody who's heart rate doesn't at least reach 90% of their max should even qualify for this! Golf? What is wrong with this? At least Nascar drivers have to deal with heat and carbon monoxide! I can't believe how idiodic the article is. Seriously any endurance athlete is tougher than even the most hardcore football players on the list. Name one of those guys who would even think about going outside in -1 degree temperatures, never mind going out for an 18 mile long run!

Don't forget that Brett Favre plays in Lambeau Field. I think that Favre is very deserving of his position at #1 on that list.
 
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