Front & Center: Sport Science’s
John Brenkus discusses SportsCenter’s ‘Greatest Athlete of All Time’

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Water cooler debates and bar room banter are as much a part of sports as touchdowns and home runs. The back and forth over who’s better/who’s best takes place every day in some quadrant of the sports world.

One of the most enduring of those disputes has always been “Who is the greatest athlete of all time?” For the most part, it’s a discussion that has never been resolved with any certainty.

Until now.

ESPN Sport Science prepares to take the question into its state-of-the-art lab where, with the help of fans, ESPN plans to once and for all decide who is most deserving of the lofty moniker.

Beginning next Thursday, Oct. 18 and continuing for the next four months, SportsCenter will include content and elements asking fans to vote at ESPN.com for human athletes in 16 categories ranging from football and basketball to action and endurance sports. Once weekly fan voting is tabulated for each of the groupings, the 16 finalists will be announced and will face-off in a single-elimination bracket.

This is where the ESPN Sport Science element will come into play: Emmy Award-winning ESPN Sport Science host John Brenkus and his team of technicians will “run” the competitors through a metric in which athletes are graded in various categories like speed, quickness, strength, durability and “clutch-ness.”

In the podcast above, Brenkus delves further into the exhaustive undertaking and shares details of why he believes this approach will produce the most accurate and representative athlete.

Portions of this podcast were edited.