...I'd say that Jim Thorpe is at least worthy of consideration in that discussion, though I'm no expert on his exploits.
13 feet for a guy of his build is pretty darn good. I'm guessing he didn't spend a heck of a lot of time training for it.
Isn't Bo Jackson considered by many to be the best all around athlete (in that he could excel at any sport he tried) in history?[/quote]
"I can shed a little more direct witness info to Bo's decathlon scores as I was there for each and actually have his actual marks in old copies of newsletters I published at the time but I am in Italy and the marks are in the US and my return is not for some time. I converted his marks to the IAAF tables so I will include those as well.
The state association in Alabama has for decades conducted an official state decathlon & heptathlon a week or two after the state meet. When Bo competed they used an old system of scoring tables someone had devised that scored things essentially along the lines of a likely average state winning time in each individual event being the 1000 point mark and working their way down. There was no corelation to the IAAf tables. At that time the triple jump was substituted for the javelin and they ran a mile rather than a 1500. The first time he picked up a pole was in his first decathlon when it got to the vault. He threw the shot like he was taking a jump shot in basketball with no contact with the ground at release. There was no rule he had to run the mile the first year and he had it won so he skipped it because he also played baseball and they were in a playoff game that evening and if memory serves me right he went and pitched a no-hitter and hit 3 home runs. Honest! He did throw the javelin once, a legit 247' on his only real effort I think he ever tried in the event while at Auburn during practice. I was able to witness that as well as he was taught how to grip and throw and after a couple easy tosses let one rip and the rest is legandary. I can also add his high school had no hurdles or track and so to practice hurdles he had to hurdle over chairs in the parking lot.
Bo was responsible for a push I and some others made to move the state decathlon to use the IAAF tables when I pointed out there were marks for events like triple jump also available."
Above taken From Track and Field News forum.
He threw 247 feet in the javelin!!!