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Caster Semenya leads Olympians in Time 100; streak hits 16 years

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An Olympian has made the Time 100 Most Influential list every year since its annual inception in 2004. South African runner Caster Semenya, soccer players Alex Morgan and Mo Salah and LeBron James kept the streak going in 2019.

It’s the fourth appearance for James (2005, 2013, 2017), extending his record for an athlete, and the first for Semenya, Morgan and Salah. Semenya made it in the “icons” category, while the other three are “titans.”

Two-time Olympic 400m hurdles champion Edwin Moses penned an essay about the two-time Olympic 800m champion Semenya, who is fighting a legal battle with the IAAF over a potential rule change limiting women’s testosterone levels in her events. If the rule goes into effect, Semenya’s dominance (three years undefeated at 800m) is expected to vanish.

“Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications,” Moses wrote. “Ultimately, this incredibly difficult issue is a political one for sport to resolve. But however it is addressed, Semenya will have already made a singular historical contribution to our understanding of biological sex.”

Here are Olympians and Paralympians on past Time 100 lists, counting only athletes who competed in the Games before being listed:

2018 — Kevin Durant, Roger Federer, Chloe Kim, Adam Rippon
2017 — Simone Biles, LeBron James, Neymar
2016 — Usain BoltCaitlyn JennerKatie LedeckySania MirzaRonda Rousey
2015 — Abby Wambach
2014 — Cristiano Ronaldo, Serena Williams
2013 — LeBron James, Li Na, Lindsey Vonn
2012 — Novak DjokovicLionel MessiOscar Pistorius
2011 — Lionel Messi
2010 — Yuna KimSerena Williams
2009 — Rafael Nadal
2008 — Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Oscar Pistorius
2007 — Roger FedererChien Ming-Wang
2006 — Joey CheekSteve Nash
2005 — LeBron James
2004 — Lance Armstrong, Paula Radcliffe, Yao Ming
2000 (20th Century) — Muhammad Ali

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Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale have Olympic 100m final speed, Liverpool manager says

Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale
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Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale are so fast they could be in an Olympic 100m final, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers told Spanish newspaper AS.

Rodgers’ comment, meant more as admiration of the counter-attacking prowess of the Real Madrid superstars, nonetheless brought back the debate of “track speed” versus quickness in other sports.

Many NFL players have challenged Olympic sprinters to races. At the same time, some sprinters have tried to transition to the NFL (notably, Justin Gatlin during his drug suspension).

If Ronaldo and Bale literally had the speed to make an Olympic 100m final, they’d be able to run from one end of their home field, the Bernabeu, to the other in a little over 10 seconds.

Ronaldo actually is an Olympian. He played for Portugal’s soccer team at Athens 2004, two years before his World Cup debut.

Bale could run the 100m in 11.4 seconds as a promising 14-year-old track and field athlete, according to the Telegraph.

(h/t @olympicstatman)

Landon Donovan and the Olympics