it's definitely an interesting article. after reading it however, it seems to me that maybe msnbc wanted to get a little point-counterpoint thing going and he was forced to defend that side of the debate. if you look at the webster's definition of an athlete, i don't know that there is any debate...
Main Entry: athÂ·lete
Pronunciation: 'ath-"lEt, Ã·'a-th&-"lEt
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin athleta, from Greek athlEtEs,
from athlein to contend for a prize, from athlon prize, contest
Date: 15th century
: a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games
requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina
he is certainly both trained and skilled in an exercise, has physical strength, (agility maybe), and stamina. however, they are all or statements so it seems to me that to be an athlete you need to be either skilled in exercises, sports, or games, not all three, and this endeavor must include either physical strength, agility, or stamina, not all three. i would say that under this definition you would be a lot more hard pressed to call a baseball player and athlete.
There is a great counterpoint elsewhere on the MSNBC website (can't find it, will post if I do). The other guy knows exactly what he's talking about.
The Borges guy sounds like some type of clown that is just looking to piss people off. Yeah, pedaling a bike is a simple concept, the concept of pedaling 2,200 miles in three weeks adds to the difficulty just a little bit.
That meathead is obviously a moron, and he completely embrasses himself when he says, "How fast is he when they take the bike away?"
By the way, there is a poll on the left side of the article which asks something like, "Do you agree that this author's IQ is above 70?" Last time I checked, out of 31,000 people 96% voted NO. 'Nuff said.
PS I bet 5 bucks against 1 that Mr. Borges revels in heckling runners on the road as well.
This is as bad as ESPN giving the "Athlete of the Year Award" to Tiger Woods.
Here's my e-mail to Ron for what it's worth:
Apparently you lost the coin flip when the point/counterpoint Lance Armstrong articles were to be written. Even so, (if you even really believe what you wrote) you went too far, and you didn't make any good points. To say that Lance Armstrong is not the greatest American athlete, fine, I'll give you that as an argument, but to say he is not an athlete at all is insane. You list your criteria for an athlete and then you discount cyclists and marathon runners but you say that Marion Jones is an athlete? According to your criteria, she should not be. What does she do other than pump her legs up and down? At least with Armstrong and marathon runners (I'm talking about elite marathon runners, not 5-hour Bob), they have the endurance factor involved too that Marion Jones doesn't have. You mention more than once that cyclists are "skinny". How is that an argument against being an athlete? Are you saying that skinny people can't be athletes? When was the last time you looked at Lance Armstrong? He has thighs the size of oak trees, and they make Michael Jordan's look like toothpicks - I would not call him skinny at all - he is simply remarkably fit with little fat, but he is not skinny. You say that most of the world couldn't care less about what Armstrong is doing over there in France. While I don't completely agree there, I ask you this question - So what? Is an athlete defined by whether people are interested in him? Your comparison to the lumberjack contest is also not a fair one. For one, although certainly in some of those lumberjack contests athleticism is required, it is mostly a skill contest. Armstrong's feat requires speed, power, endurance, mental toughness an direct competition with others. Granted there isn't much hand-eye coordination involved here, but are you saying that he would be considered an athlete if they were suddenly required to juggle while riding? Here's yet another silly thing for you to have said, "How fast is he when they take the bike away?" What does that mean? How great of an athlete is Michael Jordan if we took his basketball away? Would you like to bet me who would do better in an endurance test or any other overall fitness test between Micael Jordan and Lance Armstrong? Jordan is an amazing athlete, but Lance wins the fitness test hands down. Here's another one of your gems, "Is he as fast as Chipper Jones?" What? How about if you choose a baseball athlete who is actually known for being fast. Do you even know anything about sports at all?
I don't care about whether cycling is "given it's due". I honestly couldn't care less. People in fringe sports have to realize that one of the reasons they are fringe sports is that there is something about them that keeps them from joining the mainstream (too difficult for people to compete in, too boring as a spectator sport). I realize the business of writing is often to gain a reaction, and you've obviously done that here, so if that was your goal, then well done. It's too bad though that you had to do it with poor writing, an erroneous stance, and evidence that you don't know what you're talking about from cycling to baseball.
You're a asshole
Coolio, you are such a butt kisser.
Is it me, or does he look like an Oompa Loopa?
It comes down to this. Running, cycling, and swimming are the highest fitness oriented sports. If held any other athletes to the same standards of testing such as VO2 max, vVO2max, Lactate Threshold, and Running Economy they would fail miserably. So these athletes in other sports cannot call themselves "fit" by any means. But then again we can't say running is a skill sport either. But running is probably the toughest thing around to do and better yet to master.
Hmm, where to begin...
First, it does take coordination to ride a bike (that is why training wheels were invented in the first place!) Or maybe he was like Calvin and was attacked by his bike when he was a child?
Second, on the "playing defence" idea, I doubt that the writer has any idea what it is like to ride in the Peloton, and what kind of a messy traffic jam that is, the only that could be worse would be the 405 or Critical Mass.
Then again there is pure speed. The average speed in the the 98 tour was 25.8 mph, that is incredibly fast.
And then on the juggling subject, they do. After the top of a climb they don their other clothes for colder weather, etc while traveling well over 30 mph, try that on for size.
So, Ron, try again and research a little more, and don't go telling me that a chess player is more of an athlete than a cyclist (and ohh, do chess players play defence!)
Here's the link to the reader responses, unanimously beating up on Borges, some quite funny.
I have a little saying for times like this: "Never argue with an idiot...". It's a variant of something a co-worker used to say: "Never try to teach a pig to sing. You'll just waste your time and irritate the pig."
Ron?s piece was hilarious! The clincher was the footnote that stated that he usually covers football and boxing. Apparantly, he covers these sports because he did not have the athletic ability to do too well at them? I can only imagine the devastating shots that he blocked with his rather disadvantageously sized Oompa-Loompa head that now encases the mush that developed that piece.
I applaud MSNBC for being so clear and upfront with its readers that when they retain Ron, they are desparate for some space filler, and that it is a waste of time to bother reading.
I think he looks like Stephen Hawking
I tend to think of things like Golf and Baseball more as "Games" than sports, but that's just a personal bias. I can see why all they're all linked together at places like ESPN. There's a huge billboard somewhere around here with John Daly on it - you know, the alcoholic, 2 pack a day smoker who is one of the top "athletes" in golf. I think you get my drift.
The author of this piece is just trying to stir up attention, like those guys on Sports Talk Radio.
Armstrong is good for at least a 32:00 10k, no problems.
Answer - Golf, bowling, billiards, all just sports not requiring the participants to be athletic. Tiger Woods may very well be athletic and even an athlete, but his golf isn't any indication of it.
I agree with the post that this guy is trying to make controversey. If people do not respond to this guy though, we will look like we don't really care about our sport. People may actually begin to think that this guy is right. So.... please take a few moments and write this guy that is if we're not too busy watching "real" athletes like Chipper Jones.
Even if you buy his argument that the endurance and toughness aspects of a sport do not make you an athlete, he is fundamentally wrong about biking (but not running). I am quite sure it requires lots of skill. How many of us could ride closely bunched to so many other for all those miles and not crash 100 times? How many of us could descend twisty, sometimes wet, alpine roads at 60 mph and not lose it?
What, Cheesehead?? How exactly is it that running in a pack or cruising down a hill is different (athletically speaking) than doing so on a bike? Both are learned skills with the only difference being that cyclists have a greater risk for greater damage because they are going so much faster (relative to non-moving surrounding environment). Therefore, it's just a lot more scary (especially for those who have not learned the skill). It's just as second nature for them to ride in their peloton as it is for us to run in our packs.
Wow, I bet he's getting a truckload of hate mail today!
Haha, he covers mainly football and boxing, which have absolutely NOTHING to do with biking.