Ato Boldon convinces American sprint icon Gail Devers that Fraser-Pryce is indeed the greatest

By April 22, 2021

Is Florence Griffith-Joyner, the greatest female sprinter of all time?

It depends on who you ask.

For many Americans, the late flamboyant American woman who holds the world record in both 100 and 200m, and also won three gold medals at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, is the one. Outside the US, the answer is not as clear as many believe that a certain Jamaican, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, is in fact the greatest.

This week, Olympian turned coach and broadcaster Ato Boldon might have changed one iconic American’s mind about who is truly the greatest female sprinter of all time.

During his Athletics Live interview on Instagram with Flo-Jo's best friend and two-time Olympic 100m champion Gail Devers on Wednesday, Boldon asked Devers, who she thought was the greatest female sprinter. It was a question posed by a viewer.

‘I’ve got to go with the world-record holder,” said Devers matter-of-factly, after a brief pause. 

Boldon, a big fan of Griffith-Joyner, replied: “I get into trouble with that because I have to broadcast with my head and not my heart. I can’t have any allegiance and I look at what Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce has done. Two gold medals and a bronze in back-to-back-to-back; the four world titles, more than anybody else, male or female. I know she doesn’t have the world record, obviously, but if you go ‘Tom Brady is the greatest or (basketball legend) Bill Russell or whoever is the greatest; it’s based on the championships,” Boldon opined while Devers nodded in agreement.

Boldon, who like Griffith-Joyner attended UCLA and admitted that he worshipped the ground she walked on, also reasoned that Flo-Jo only had one great season when she set world records in both the 100m and 200m and then went to the Olympics and won the sprint double and the 4x100m relay and picked up a silver behind Russia in the 4x400m.

“Yes, it was the greatest year ever, but it was the one year,” he said.

Devers then responded saying “I get what you’re saying” but Boldon continued to reinforce his point pointing out that if anyone asked Mike Powell, who has held the long jump world record for 30 years now, who is the greatest long jumper, he would say Carl Lewis “without even thinking about it.”

Lewis won long jump gold in four consecutive Olympic Games – 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996.

But the Trinidadian was not done. He added that most people would never consider Wayde van Niekerk, the 400m world record holder, the greatest 400m runner of all time over Michael Johnson.

“You have to apply the rules the same way,” Boldon said. “Most world record holders aren’t necessarily the greatest.”

Confronted by the veracity of the points Boldon made, Devers relented.

“You’re right, you’re right,” she agreed. “It’s as you said, it’s the consistency, it’s how many titles, can they come back-to-back. I have to give some second thought to that. You’re right.”

 

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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