Jimmy Johnson wins male athlete of the year
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  1. #1
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    Jimmy Johnson wins male athlete of the year

    NASCAR’s Johnson wins male athlete of the year

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)—There was little recognition outside the racing world when Jimmie Johnson won his first NASCAR championship.

    ...Johnson, the first driver in NASCAR history to win four consecutive titles, earned mainstream recognition Monday when he was honored as the Male Athlete of the Year by members of The Associated Press.

    Johnson received 42 votes from editors at U.S. newspapers which are members of the AP. Tennis star Roger Federer (30 votes) and Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt (29) were the only other athletes with totals in the double- digits.

    Although Tiger Woods was named Athlete of the Decade, the golfer received only nine votes for Athlete of the Year. He was tied with NBA star Kobe Bryant and slugger Albert Pujols.

    ...“I’ve looked at other sports, particularly baseball, and I’ve seen plenty of out-of-shape, fat players,” said Johnson, who counts among his close friends former NFL player Jason Sehorn, and MLB players Brian and Marcus Giles.

    “So to anyone who wants to go head-to-head with me in athletic ability, let’s go. I talked a lot with Jason Sehorn about this, and I don’t know how exactly you measure athletic ability, but I know my 5-mile run time will destroy most NFL players.”
    I've been known to enjoy a NASCAR race or two (short tracks rule!), and I will acknowledge Jimmy Johnson is one of the all-time great drivers, but come on, ATHLETE of the year? I don't consider race car drivers to be athletes.

    Just like there are "plenty of out-of-shape, fat players” in other sports, there are also plenty of out-of-shape, fat drivers in NASCAR. And some of them win races. It's not athletic ability that wins races. So while it's great that Jimmy can run 5-miles faster than most NFL players, it's irrelevant to what he does for a living.

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    Let's see him take a hit from an NFL player and get up and jog away....

    How does a guy who sits in a car for hours and makes left turns beat out the likes of Federer or Bolt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray_from_SA
    Let's see him take a hit from an concrete wall at 150 mph or faster and get up and jog away....

    How does a guy who sits in a car for hours at upwards of 120 degrees fahrenheit and makes left turns with no power steering, fighting intense g-forces beat out the likes of Federer or Bolt?
    fixed that for ya

    NASCAR drivers have a pretty darn intense fitness and program...i daresay jimmie johnson could bench more clowns than you...or me...i can't bench many clowns
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  4. #4
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    On that note, I think Tiger should win multi-sport athlete of the year.
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji
    fixed that for ya

    NASCAR drivers have a pretty darn intense fitness and program...i daresay jimmie johnson could bench more clowns than you...or me...i can't bench many clowns
    Sorry dude but I follow Nascar amongst other motorsports and I can appreciate that it takes a lot to hit a wall and jump out the car and wave to 50,000 rednecks, but Nascar cars are still designed to dissipate the shock of hitting the 'soft wall' (How many tracks still have solid concrete walls now?).

    Nascar cars do have power assisted steering BTW.

    He compared himself to an NFL player, not me.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray_from_SA
    Nascar cars do have power assisted steering BTW.
    huh...when did they change that? i was talking to a nascar tech dude a few years back, and he was saying how great of athletes everybody was due to the heat and strength it took to handle the cars, due to no power steering.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by old_fuji
    fixed that for ya

    NASCAR drivers have a pretty darn intense fitness and program...i daresay jimmie johnson could bench more clowns than you...or me...i can't bench many clowns
    Any athleticism that drivers have is not a primary factor in what they do. How fast Johnson can run and what he can bench has nothing to do with how well he drives.

    Also, NASCAR has had power steering for a long time. The great David Pearson was famous for not adopting power steering because he didn't want to give up the 2 or 3 hp it sapped. Pearson was also famous for having a cigarette lighter in his race car, and would puff away during races. He was quite an athlete!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    On that note, I think Tiger should win multi-sport athlete of the year.
    Tiger just won athlete of the decade. Who knew that boinking was a sport!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwiftSolo
    Tiger just won athlete of the decade. Who knew that boinking was a sport!
    Have you ever tried doing "it" all day? With other people in the room?

    I havent either but can imagine it takes alot out of you.

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    While I don't know the intricacies of Nascar, F1 drivers are very fit. The stresses the body endures for 1,5-2 hours are enormous. You have to stay focused for all of that time. 2-tenths of a second sloppy and you end up in the tire wall.

    case in point: fitness button-tackles-triathlon.html

    onboard cam on Monza circuit (Narrow, lot of sun/shadow transitions), good old Schumi! Ferrarie Monza
    look at the effect of the vibrations and G-forces on his head!

    I'll concede that Nascar drivers likely have it a bit easier, but still, they have to be in top condition.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pablo
    On that note, I think Tiger should win multi-sport athlete of the year.
    Dammit. i was going to try for the first tiger-related joke. you win.
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    Speaking of weird awards, I caught a glimpse of a CNNSi headline that said Lance Armstrong was the Most Interesting Athlete of the Year. WTF does that even mean?
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swish

    I'll concede that Nascar drivers likely have it a bit easier, but still, they have to be in top condition.
    Did you ever see Jimmy Spencer? They are not athletes in the caliber that should even be nominated for "Athlete of the Year". Even if Johnson could run a 4 minute mile, that has nothing to do with Nascar and the 'athleticism' it requires.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrRoebuck
    Speaking of weird awards, I caught a glimpse of a CNNSi headline that said Lance Armstrong was the Most Interesting Athlete of the Year. WTF does that even mean?
    I'd say that Schtupping one of the Olsen Twins qualifies as interesting.
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    Does NASCAR do drug testing?
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  17. #17
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    Athlete

    The semantics of "what makes this a sport," and "what makes one an athlete" are always funny to me.

    I mean, if it is throwing a ball around, then, yeah, a driver doesn't do that.

    When I think "athletes," race car drivers don't come up by default in my head, but as equipment gets more and more homologated, the driver becomes more and more of the equation.

    Most people seem to think golfers, for instance, are athletes, and I think that what Jimmie Johnson does is far more "athletic" than golf.

    So, where the line is, I don't know, but, for magazine straw polls, why not?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mohair_chair
    I've been known to enjoy a NASCAR race or two (short tracks rule!), and I will acknowledge Jimmy Johnson is one of the all-time great drivers, but come on, ATHLETE of the year? I don't consider race car drivers to be athletes.

    Just like there are "plenty of out-of-shape, fat players” in other sports, there are also plenty of out-of-shape, fat drivers in NASCAR. And some of them win races. It's not athletic ability that wins races. So while it's great that Jimmy can run 5-miles faster than most NFL players, it's irrelevant to what he does for a living.
    No doubt that pushing one of those around an oval is a demanding effort, I don't diminish what they do, and some of them are in terrific shape... but 'athlete' somehow doesn't seem to fit.
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  19. #19
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    I think Jimmy is a great driver but I have a problem with this award on a different basis. You put him with a different crew, crew chief and team and the results would be different. Sure he would still win once in a while...the guy has talent...but he's got the perfect fitting of all the pieces. To give him an individual based award when it's clearly a team sport is absurd to me.
    Last edited by tconrady; 12-21-2009 at 10:46 AM.
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  20. #20
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    Sure, but couldn't you say the same thing for any team-sport athlete?

    Aren't there tons of rock-star ball-and-stick sport players shoved on a losing team who then underperform?

    Quote Originally Posted by tconrady
    I think Jimmy is a great driver but I have a problem with this award on a different basis. You put him with a different crew, crew chief and team and the results would be different. Sure he would still win once in a while...the guy has talent...but he's got the perfect fitting of all the pieces. To give him an individual based award when it's clearly a team sport is absurd to me.

  21. #21
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    A friend of mine once set the definition for what is a sport and what is a game.

    His was: A sport is something you can't do and smoke a cigarette at the same time. I thought that about captured it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by tconrady
    I think Jimmy is a great driver but I have a problem with this award on a different basis. You put him with a different crew, crew chief and team and the results would be different. Sure he would still win once in a while...the guy has talent...but he's got the perfect fitting of all the pieces. To give him an individual based award when it's clearly a team sport is absurd to me.
    The same could be said of certain cyclists who have won the award.

  23. #23
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    All I'll say regarding the importance of fitness in a modern day stock car driver is that I think its no coincidence that Mark Martin who almost beat the much younger Johnson this year despite being what in his 50's, is also a well know fitness fanatic.

    It would be great if every time one of these awards came up there was a Thorpe or Bo Jackson to vote for but that just doesn't happen. I saw a really good discussion of this topic the other day on ESPN. Mike Golic had a pretty good point that you really can't limit the people who might be considered by their sport as you never know who might come along and change your mind. His example was Tiger and that if some years ago you had said a golfer would come along and even be considered as the greatest athlete of a decade you would've looked crazy. But then came Tiger and whether you think he deserved the decade award, is a douche, etc he certainly merited consideration.

    I don't pull for Jimmy Johnson, but its not lost on me how amazing what he has done is. My only reservation about him receiving the award is did people vote for him because he had a great year, or because he's had a good multi-year run? But you could say the same for a guy like Bolt, and plenty of others its hard to look at just one calendar year in isolation.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by q_and_a
    A friend of mine once set the definition for what is a sport and what is a game.

    His was: A sport is something you can't do and smoke a cigarette at the same time. I thought that about captured it.
    That eliminates cycling as a sport.
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  25. #25
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    Power steering aside, I think you are seriously underestimating the wear and tear those guys see on their right arms from all those left turns.

    Anyway, I'm putting my own self up for Male Athaleet of the Year (for 2010) because I just finished clearing up the 547 mail messages I received last week while I was on vacation. I did it hunched over my living room coffee table to boot. And, the light in here isn't all that bright. If I didn't turn in 3000 miles on the bike last year, there is no way I could have done it.
    You'd be better off with a netbook, they do everything better.

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