Swimming: Phelps is 'probably not' the best - Coe

Updated: Wednesday, 01 Aug 2012 14:02

American swimmer Michael Phelps is "probably not" the greatest Olympic champion of all time, despite winning a record total of 19 medals, according to London 2012 Games chief Sebastian Coe.

Phelps eclipsed the previous record of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina's 18 medals, when the U.S. won gold in the 4x200 metres freestyle relay at the aquatic centre on Tuesday night.

Coe, a former Olympic champion himself, said: "I think you can say it is self-evident that he is the most successful. I am not sure he is the greatest.

"It is a pretty good haul, but who is the greatest? In my opinion he is probably not."

"I think you can say it is self-evident that he is the most successful. I am not sure he is the greatest" - Sebastian Coe

"I could throw out a whole series of names, I could throw out (British rower) Steve Redgrave, I could throw out (decathlon champion) Daley Thompson," said Coe.

"If I wanted to go back a few generations I think what Jesse Owens did in '36 (Berlin Olympics) was unbelievable, Nadia Comaneci. I don't know. It's the global pub game."

The swimming has dominated the first days of the Games, with high-profile athletics events yet to start.