The Instigator
Phoenix61397
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Raymond_Reddington
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Track and Field is the best sport there is

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,060 times Debate No: 53157
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (0)

 

Phoenix61397

Pro

The first round will be for acceptance. Second round will be for opening arguments, third will be for rebuttals, and fourth will be for final rebuttals/closing arguments.
Some definitions:
Sport- An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.
Best- Better than all others (any way can be used to prove this, I do not have to prove that it is better in every single way than every other sport, just that overall its benefits outweigh those of every other sport. This resolution will be decided upon by the voters)

BOP is on both of us, but more on me than con. Thanks in advance to whoever accepts.
Debate Round No. 1
Phoenix61397

Pro

First of all, thanks to con for accepting.

Second of all, let's get to my arguments. I will restate the definition of a sport: An activity involving physical exertion and skill that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively.

I'll take the first part of that statement. An activity involving physical exertion. Track is probably the sport that challenges athletes the most physically overall. Sure, swimming and water polo are very physically engaging sports. However, these sports do not challenge the athlete in the variety of different areas of physical fitness quite like track. Hurdles and high jump test flexibility, while sprints test pure speed, power, and reaction time. Distance events test endurance, and throws test brute strength, while pole vault tests almost all of the above. Athletes must push their bodies to the absolute limit, striving for physical perfection. A track and field athlete, in order to be successful, must be in prime physical condition. For an athlete of almost any other sport (aside from swimming), while it is advantageous to be in good physical shape, an athlete can be the best without being in the best condition of any athlete in their sport. Look up a picture of Usain Bolt, the world's fastest man, and then look up Kevin Durant or Tiger Woods, the best athletes in their respective sports. Although both of the latter two men are in good physical condition, Usain Bolt is in noticeably superior shape to both of these men. Therefore,the track athlete (especially the decathlete) is a physically superior athlete to any other sport. For example, the Olympic champion and world record holder in the decathlon, Ashton Eaton, is considered the world's fittest athlete. [http://www.outsideonline.com...]

The next part of the definition of a sport reads, simply: and skill. Many people may state: oh, all you do is run around a track. It's not that hard. However, as I stated above, I am arguing for the sport of track and field. In track and field, there is a very large variety of events that one can be skilled in. Learning hurdles, javelin throwing, discus-hurling, high jumping, pole vaulting, and long jumping is no easy task, and requires many different kinds of skills. To compare this to basketball, one needs to know how to dribble, pass, and shoot. Although these skills may take a long time to master, so do those of hurdling, javelin-throwing, etc. Basketball can be hard to be skilled at, but not quite as hard as being a decathlete. So track and field requires copious amounts of physical ability and skill.

The last part of the definition of a sport is: that is governed by a set of rules or customs and often undertaken competitively. Track and Field has the longest-standing set of rules and customs in the history of sports. In fact, the discus throw, 200 meter dash, and 400 meter dash were included among the first Olympic events, which date back to 776 B.C. Track and field is the longest standing sport existing that still retains its basic rules today.
[http://www.olympic.org...]
Track and field is also always undertaken competitively. You cannot run track and field without having winners and losers, or it loses the sport's essence. However, pickup basketball games can be played where no score is taken, the same can be said for football, volleyball, etc.

Due to the aforementioned reasons, track and field is definitively the best sport in existence.
Raymond_Reddington

Con

While track and field is a prestigious sport with a rich history it lost its status as the best sport long ago. In order to succeed I must provide reasonable evidence that any sport in the world is better than track and field. Because “best” is a very vague term I will provide evidence that there are sports that require more athleticism, more skill, are more popular, and are more difficult overall.

Athleticism and Skill

While it takes great athleticism to be a track and field player it is questionable whether it takes more than other sports. A variety of reliable websites have compiled lists of the greatest athletes of all time. Unfortunately the only two track and field athletes to make it into the top ten were Usain Bolt and a man named Rafer Johnson.

They were each only on one of the lists once and neither placed better than sixth.

(http://bleacherreport.com...)

(http://bleacherreport.com...)

(http://www.thetoptens.com...)

Compare to…

And according to ESPN the toughest sport in the world is boxing.

(http://sports.espn.go.com...)-may have to copy and paste this link

This shows that when comparing the best athletes of each sport Track and Field athletes just can’t win.

It is extremely difficult to compare training and practices as they vary when it comes to team and athlete. Basically track and field athletes spend years mastering one skill whether it is sprinting, hurdling, or discus. Other more popular sports all take years to master as well but they require the athlete to become familiar with hundreds of facets of each sport to truly be successful at it.

Popularity

In terms of viewers “The FIFA World Cup is the world's most widely viewed sporting event”.

(http://www.fifa.com...)

“Super Bowl XLVIII was the largest television audience in American history

(http://www.businessinsider.com...)

My opponent is claiming that track and field is better than every other sport.

  • Soccer
  • football
  • hockey
  • basketball
  • cricket
  • rugby
  • baseball
  • softball
  • volleyball
  • tennis
  • golf
  • surfing
  • biking
  • martial arts
  • wrestling
  • MMA
  • boxing
  • horse riding
  • fishing
  • gymnastics
  • skiing

and literally hundreds more. Seriously. Look up list of sports on Wikipedia. Or use this link.

(http://en.wikipedia.org...)-may have to copy and paste this link

Several of these are better than track and field and many are equal to it, but that is irrelevant. All it takes is one sport being equal to track and field, or greater, and pro’s contention that track and field is the best sport is false.

Back to you pro.

Debate Round No. 2
Phoenix61397

Pro

Thanks for the argument, con.

So first I will rebut the opponents arguments.

Athleticism and skill
Your claim that the top ten lists are "reliable sources" to tell which athletes are the best is false. All three sites (two are actually the same site) are very subjective lists, containing only opinions as basis for argument. No scientific knowledge was lent to either list. While I will give a small amount of credit to the bleacher report sources, as they are at least written by a sports journalist with some amount of knowledge of sports, thetoptens.com is a completely unreliable source. It relies on biased mass authority, where only people who visit that site can vote on which athlete is the best. If you look down the list, I would concur it should be entitled "most well-known athletes of all time." Therefore these sources can be mostly discredited, especially the third. If mass authority is given credit, then the title of "Greatest athlete in the world" given to Ashton Eaton, the Olympic decathlon champion, should count for something.
The ESPN report is also somewhat subjective, though much less than the above two reports. Although it was conducted by experts, the rankings were solely based from opinion and no scientific testing. Therefore this cannot be used as scientific proof that boxing is the most difficult sport. Track and field exists as the purest test of an athletes athletic ability. It gives specific numbers (times, distances thrown, heights jumped, etc.) to demonstrate which athlete is the best. Almost all other "he is the best athlete of all time" arguments are subjective. Debates may rage over whether LeBron or MJ is better, but Usain Bolt, due to his world record time of 9.58, is the fastest 100 meter runner of all time, definitively. And isn't the point of a sport to test which athlete is better? Track is a definitive test of this. Elements of track and field are used in other sports as well. A very critical part of the NFL draft is the 40 yard dash, which originally stemmed from track. Many sports also run to train themselves.
Another point con brought up was that track and field athletes spend years mastering one event. This is not always true. Decathletes, such as Ashton Eaton, must master 10 different events and perform all at world-class standards. Jeremy Wariner, a world-class 400 meter runner (the 400 meters is a sprint requiring anaerobic energy) , has just announced he will move up to the 800 meters, widely considered a middle distance race, where both aerobic and anaerobic energy are needed. I even have a friend who is not a decathlete, who throws shot put and discus, runs the 110 and 300 meter hurdles, and runs the 100, 200, 400, and 800 meters.

Now for popularity. While soccer is definitely a very popular sport worldwide, it does not have the appeal of track and field. I will ask you to think of THE biggest sporting event in the world. While the World Cup is definitely huge, that distinction definitely goes to the Olympics, which is the worlds largest and most prestigious sporting event. Here's a quote:

"The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself."
- Dawn Fraser (Australian swimmer, 3-time winner at the Olympics)

Now what is the most-watched, most talked about event at the Olympics? Athletics (also known as track and field). There were more articles written about athletics in the 2004 Olympics in Athens than any other sport, and Usain Bolt was the most mentioned athlete on twitter during the 2012 Olympic Games. 3 of the top 5 Olympic moments on twitter in the 2012 Olympics were track and field moments. [http://www.topendsports.com...]
Track and Field best displays to the world the triumph of the human being that is the object of the Olympics.

Lastly, one more argument. All other sports stem from track. Track was the first sport, created to test human athletic ability. It tested athletes ability to throw with strength and accuracy, run fast, jump high, and be able to persevere through long distances. All other sports are just extensions in various ways of this. The events of track and field encompass the basic movements of all other sports. Without the base that is track, other sports would not exist.

The con has not, to this point, given definitive proof that track and field is not the best sport that exists. Therefore I believe my argument still stands. Back to you, good luck!
Raymond_Reddington

Con

Thank you con for your rebuttals. I think I need to clarify something though. In your first round statement of the rules you said "BOP is on both of us, but more on me than con." In your last argument you said "The con has not, to this point, given definitive proof that track and field is not the best sport that exists." Your subtle attempt to shift the burden of proof has not gone unnoticed. I will remind you that I only need to provide reasonable doubt to your claim that track and field is the best sport.

" Ashton Eaton, is considered the world's fittest athlete."
Nope! Your source for this is just a magazine article interviewing him that is titled The World's Fittest Athlete.
( http://www.outsideonline.com...)
This is not even real evidence. Do you seriously believe magazine articles never hugely dramatize anything? If you Google "world's fittest athlete" this is the top result.
( http://www.menshealth.com...)
For some reason Mr. Eaton wasn't even in the top ten. Maybe magazine title's aren't the most reliable information.
Then you question my sources
" Your claim that the top ten lists are "reliable sources" to tell which athletes are the best is false. All three sites (two are actually the same site) are very subjective lists, containing only opinions as basis for argument. No scientific knowledge was lent to either list. "
Also false. Two are from the same web site but one is fittest athletes still alive and one is fittest athletes ever. Both were my Bleacher report sources (see my round 2 argument). Then you contradict yourself and say "I will give a small amount of credit to the bleacher report sources, as they are at least written by a sports journalist with some amount of knowledge of sports". You also question my ESPN source "The ESPN report is also somewhat subjective, though much less than the above two reports. Although it was conducted by experts, the rankings were solely based from opinion and no scientific testing. Therefore this cannot be used as scientific proof that boxing is the most difficult sport." As of right now there are not a whole lot of scientific studies available on the most fit athletes. What we do have however is expert analysis of these athletes which I sourced in round 2. And I will remind you again I do not need definitive proof but reasonable doubt on your claim. Oddly enough though you question my sources for not being "scientific" enough but you have failed to provide any scientific lists that prove your side. Perhaps there are none.

" Debates may rage over whether LeBron or MJ is better, but Usain Bolt, due to his world record time of 9.58, is the fastest 100 meter runner of all time, definitively. And isn't the point of a sport to test which athlete is better? Track is a definitive test of this."
Actually no. The difference is that in basketball it is to see what team is better not athlete. The controversy surrounding the MJ and Lebron controversy has actually gained basketball publicity and could be considered a positive part of the sport. When it comes to track you can't have friendly arguments with your friends about MJ vs Lebron, Brady vs Manning, or Ali vs Frasier. This takes away a huge entertainment aspect of any sport.

" Now for popularity. While soccer is definitely a very popular sport worldwide, it does not have the appeal of track and field."
Appeal to who? You? Most people actually think other sports have more appeal because they are more interesting to watch and play. Please provide evidence that actually shows track and field has more appeal than other sports.

You quote an Olympian here " 'The Olympics remain the most compelling search for excellence that exists in sport, and maybe in life itself.'
- Dawn Fraser (Australian swimmer, 3-time winner at the Olympics)"
Is your reasoning for Olympics being the best because an Olympian said they were? A football player would say football is the best sport. Same for any other sport. This is hardly evidence. The man is not even a track and field athlete.
Your source that you used to claim that track and field is the best sport at the Olympics (http://www.topendsports.com...) actually said track and field did not place first. Or second. It was the third most popular! At the Olympics! Did you think I wouldn't read your sources?

Your final argument "Lastly, one more argument. All other sports stem from track." Basically your saying that because track and field consists of running and jumping all other sports that also contain running and jumping are knockoffs. Track and Field containing basic athletic functions in no way makes it superior. Because bread products all contain baking powder does this mean baking powder will taste better? No. Just because track and field contains the building blocks of athletic movement it does not mean it is superior. It is practically obsolete.

A sport is only as good as the people playing it. Every sport will eventually reach a point where the greatest player ever will set their records and retire. Once the best athletes are gone from a sport it loses some value. Track and Field is reaching this point. Athletes in track and field have reached the pinnacle of human athleticism and there is no going back. Eventually world records will become impossible to beat and track and field will lose entertainment value. Here are several articles detailing how the best athletes have already lived.
(http://theweek.com...)
(http://io9.com...)
(http://www.ncsf.org...)
(http://grantland.com...)

Summary: All your arguments have been refuted and your rebuttals have been discredited. Your argument does not stand. Track and Field is not the best sport since the time of ancient Greece and it will never be again.

Back to you Pro and good luck
Debate Round No. 3
Phoenix61397

Pro

Thanks for the argument, con. You brought up several good points, but not ones that I cannot refute.

First of all, I said the BOP was shared. It is more on me, as I have to prove that track is greater than all other sports, whilst you only have to prove that one sport is better than track. In this statement I was basically saying that although a burden of proof was on both of us, mine was greater. Sorry for the miscommunication.

Secondly, that men's health article that you used did not even have the word athlete in its title, and Daniel Craig, an actor, was the first thing that appeared on the screen when I clicked the article. Numerous other actors appear in this list. Again, this is also a subjective list. Now I will provide you with numerous sources claiming Ashton Eaton as the world's greatest athlete.

http://www.teamusa.org...
http://espn.go.com...
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com...
http://www.cbssports.com...

In fact, the title of world's greatest athlete is given to all Olympic decathlon winners, as they are recognized to be the world's greatest athlete, able to demonstrate all areas of fitness more than all competitors. This stems from when, at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, King Gustav V of Sweden said to Jim Thorpe, who won the decathlon, "You, sir, are the world's greatest athlete."" (http://en.wikipedia.org...) This shows that track and field was not obsolete once the Ancient Greek Olympics were over with.

You also claim that my criticisms of your supposed "best athletes ever" lists were false. Yet you give no reason why they were false. I accurately stated that two of the sources were from the same site. You conceded this. While they may be different lists, they have the same sources for their information, and therefore the same subjectivity. I did not contradict myself, as I was merely stating that the bleacher report sources had slightly more credibility than the top tens source. This is not saying much, as the top tens source had no credibility whatsoever, about the same amount of credibility a high school election actually gives to who is actually qualified to lead the school, actually only testing which students are most well known. I think you realize this, as you did not argue for it. You also stated that only two track and field athletes appeared on those lists. However, Jim Thorpe, the number one athlete on one of your lists and in the top ten on another, WAS A TRACK AND FIELD ATHLETE.

I do agree that scientific studies are not readily available. However, based on the knowledge that we have, the only nonsubjective measures of an athlete's ability come from numbers. Ashton Eaton demonstrated his physical ability in a definitive way, putting up solid, non-debatable numbers. Until athletes from other sports can prove their athletic dominance, the decathlon will be the standard for best athlete in the world.

The difference is that in basketball it is to see what team is better not athlete.
Ok, maybe that's the design of basketball. However, this doesn't always work. Just look at March Madness, and the amount of upsets there are. The best team does not always come out on top. Therefore basketball is not a true test of personal or team skill.

The controversy surrounding the MJ and Lebron controversy has actually gained basketball publicity and could be considered a positive part of the sport. When it comes to track you can't have friendly arguments with your friends about MJ vs Lebron, Brady vs Manning, or Ali vs Frasier. This takes away a huge entertainment aspect of any sport.

This kind of controversy actually does occur in track. It just doesn't occur in the specific event that an athlete runs. For instance, Michael Johnson set the world record in the 400 meters in the 1990's. Donovan Bailey had won the 100 meters. Even though both men were undisputedly the fastest men in each of their races, a big dispute occurred over who was the "fastest man in the world." They eventually raced over it. Here's an article:
http://si.com...
So although track takes away much of the subjectivity of other sports and gives a better meaning to "the best", friendly debates are still possible.

Next for popularity/appeal.
USATF.org states track as the most popular sport in the world.
http://www.usatf.org...

Meanwhile, this article says it is the second most popular,behind soccer.
http://www.post-gazette.com...

It definitely is NOT obsolete, as you say. That is an unfounded and quite ignorant statement. In fact, track and field is a GROWING. In 2011-2012, boys track and field actually gained more participants than any other sport.

As for the Olympics, here are a few more quotes, (I didn't use a track and field athlete's quote because I wanted to show the Olympics' appeal beyond track and field.

"For me, by far, the Olympics is the biggest sporting event in the world."
-Andy Murray

"It is the inspiration of the Olympic Games that drives people not only to compete but to improve, and to bring lasting spiritual and moral benefits to the athlete and inspiration to those lucky enough to witness the athletic dedication."
R13; Herb Elliott

You also misread my article about the Olympics. Track and Field, overall, was the third most-talked about event on Twitter. One medium. However, also on Twitter, its athletes were the most-talked about and its moments were considered the most important. It also had the most articles written about it in newspapers.

Track does, in fact, contain the building blocks for all other sports. However, your baking powder analogy is false. Baking powder cannot stand on its own. Nobody just eats baking powder. However, people DO run track. It makes them better at other own sports as well. Numerous running backs and wide receivers in football run track as well. Tedd Ginn Jr., a wide receiver in the NFL, owns some Ohio high school track records. Bryshon Nellum played football and ran track at USC, and is now a professional track athlete. Track is the reason other sports exist. This argument should hold credit in this debate.

Now for my last rebuttal. Look at the name of the debate. Track and field IS the best sport. "Is" is the present form of the English verb "be". Not the future form. Whether or not records will be impossible to beat is irrelevant, as they are not impossible to beat right now. Records seem to be irrelevant anyway, at least in the moment, according to the Olympic page I posted last round, where the top two most-discussed Olympic events were both wins by Usain Bolt, neither of which was a world record.

In conclusion, the tradition of track and field allows it to be known as the best sport in the world. It attracts attention, showcases pure athletic ability in all five of the areas of physical fitness, cardiovascular and muscular endurance (distance) , cardiovascular and muscular strength (sprints and throws) , flexibility (jumps and hurdles), and body composition (just look at pictures of Olympic athletes)
(http://www.vigoco.k12.in.us...)
I realize I didn't group these areas in quite the same way as the website, but I wanted to demonstrate which areas of track and field related to which kind of fitness. Other sports may demonstrate athleticism, but not as purely as track and field. Track and field also best fits the definition of sport as defined in the first round.

Sorry for the long argument. Thanks, and your turn.
Raymond_Reddington

Con

Firstly you questioned my men's health article which I need to address. You are correct it did have the fittest people in the world and not just the fittest athletes. Unfortunately this only makes the evidence more convincing given that track and field athletes were not the highest placed people.
I also looked up your sources and was glad you pointed them out to me. Mr. Eaton whom you claim is the world's greatest athlete is actually not. Your entire basis for the winner of the decathlete being the greatest athlete of all time is a compliment a king gave to an athlete a hundred years ago. Here is the wikipedia article. (http://en.wikipedia.org...) This is purely a tradition and supported by no scientific evidence. As for Jim Thorpe he was a professional baseball, basketball, and football player. He also participated in track and field as many other athletes do simply to train for their primary sports. More and more frequently now athletes are placing less value on track and field and merely participate to train for their preferred sports. This is increasingly prevalent in High School and College nowadays.
Now to your basketball comments. March Madness is defined by many upsets but frankly that is just the process of figuring out which team is best. It is not about who has the most star players but who can consistently play hard and come out on top. Therefore I would argue that the best team is the team that wins regardless of whether it was an upset or not.
As for your quotes saying track and field is superior I challenge you to watch any major basketball, soccer, or football sporting event to see that finding some quotes for any sport's superiority is not challenging and hardly evidence.
As for the popularity debate, this one is pretty easily resolved. Googling "world's most popular sport" will give you several results based on television views and people attending major events. Here are the top five results.
(http://www.sporteology.com...)
(http://mostpopularsports.net...)
(http://wiki.answers.com...)
(http://listdose.com...)
(http://www.clicktop10.com...)
Soccer tops each list. The reason that soccer is not the most popular Olympic event is because the Olympic will allow no players over the age of 25 in order to stand apart from the world cup.
Your argument that without track and field other sports would not exist is absurd. Swimming, fishing, and hunting were all established in the same time period if not before. Gymnastics was also popular in China as early as 2000 BC. This is easily confirmed by looking at the history portion of this wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
As for your rebuttal of my pinnacle of human achievement argument this hardly applies as my sources clearly claim it is very possible it has already been reached in many events.
Conclusion: It is very bold to say track and field is the best sport and I believe I have provided sufficient evidence that it is false. I have very much enjoyed this debate though, so thank you for an engaging and interesting argument.
Vote Con
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by 9spaceking 3 years ago
9spaceking
this just proves that pro should make this kind of debate like mine; only choosing one sport to battle the "best of all sports"...con simply puts far too much burden on pro, not to mention he doesn't even talk about fictional sports...
Posted by Phoenix61397 3 years ago
Phoenix61397
Here's my source that says track and field is growing...wouldn't fit in my argument haha
http://blog.everythingtrackandfield.com...
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