A month ago we asked you readers and sports fan to join the ESPN vote to decide which individual or team has been the most dominant in the 21st century.
Today, we can announce the winner: Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
The King of Clay proved just too strong — and popular — for the fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, in our final.
Thanks a lot to everyone for helping us pick the safest bet in world sport in the 21st century. We will leave you with another look at the astonishing achievements of Nadal and Bolt.
Rafael Nadal at the French Open (2005-present)
Imagine winning a Grand Slam on debut. Imagine preventing Roger Federer, one of the greatest players ever, from completing a Career Grand Slam (winning all four majors at least once) not once, not twice, but four times in succession. Imagine doing that to Novak Djokovic, another GOAT contender, three years in a row.
Imagine winning that Grand Slam 12 out of the 15 times you’ve played it, racking up a ridiculous 93-2 win-loss record in the process. Imagine doing all this while facing the pressure of expectations so heavy that anything less than winning that tournament is taken to mean you are finished.
That is Rafael Nadal’s record at the French Open.
Usain Bolt at the Olympics (2008-2016)
Usain Bolt — the world’s fastest man, a record he has held for 13 years now — is the most dominant sprinter of all time.
Here are the facts: He won the 100m and 200m across three consecutive Olympics, the only person in history to achieve this feat. Include the relays, and he has eight Olympic golds. Between 2009- 2015, he won the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay in every World Championships (except for a false start disqualification in 2011). His 11 World Championship golds are more than anyone in history.
In this period, he went on a run (no pun intended) where he won 17 straight 200m finals, and 14 straight 100m ones. He broke the 100m record thrice, the 200m record twice and the 4x100m relay record thrice.
And he made it all look as easy as a jog in the park.