the westminster news
Published by the students of Westminster School
By James Frangos '24
I believe Wayne Gretzky is the best athlete of all time. When I say athlete, I do not mean in terms of athleticism – I mean most dominant in their sport. Wayne Gretzky is the best hockey player of all time, and there is no argument that can be made otherwise. However, his unbelievable records and stats set him apart from other athletes throughout the sports world.
Wayne Gretzky is a former professional ice hockey player and head coach from Canada. From 1979 to 1999, he played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League for four different teams. Many sportswriters, players, the NHL, and coaches have dubbed him "the Great One" as the best hockey player ever. Gretzky is the all-time leading goal scorer, assist maker, and point scorer in NHL history, with more assists than any other player in the league's history. He is the first NHL player to ever score 200 points in a single season, which he did four times. Gretzky also scored over 100 points in 16 of his professional seasons, 14 of which were consecutive. In 1999, he announced his retirement.
Gretzky’s dominance in the NHL shows us why he is a top athlete through his stats and records. I suppose there could be an argument to be made for an athlete in an individual sport. For example, when I asked my roommate, Will Whiting ‘24, who he thought the best athlete of all time was, he suggested Michael Phelps. However, no other athlete in team sports history has ever come close to generating and lifting a team to the level that Wayne Gretzky has. Gretzky's athleticism resulted in unmatched productivity, as well as awards and titles. No other athlete has ever dominated their sport for as long as Gretzky. The fairest way to assess his exceptional athleticism is to look at the points he's amassed. There are 61 NHL records that are either held or shared by Wayne Gretzky, and some are unbeatable. Among those is his record for most points of all time, where Gretzky has 2,857 career points; meanwhile, the person in second place has 1,921. If you took away Gretzky’s all-time goals, he would still obtain the record for most points ever. Gretzky has four Stanley Cups and 87 more playoff points than Mark Messier, who is second on the list, having played in 28 fewer games. Though Wayne Gretzky played in an era where sports were played in a much different style, his records are still insane even to this day.
I believe Wayne Gretzky should go down as the greatest athlete of all time. His athleticism displayed on ice is unmatched. Gretzky’s records will stand for a long time, if not forever. His dominance in a team sport for such a stretch of time has never been done as well as his. For all these reasons, I believe Wayne Gretzky is the best athlete of all time.