Note: we have an entire post dedicated to baseball’s most impressive records here.
Paavo Nurmi’s runs everything, really well
- Paavo Nurmi establishing official world records in 15 different events between 1500 meters and 20 Kilometers: He at one time held the world record in the 1500 Meters, the Mile Run, the 2,000 Meters, the 3,000 Meters, the 2 Mile, the 3 Mile, the 5,000 Meters, the 4 Mile, the 5 Mile, the 6 Mile, the 10,000 Meters, the 15,000 Meters, the 10 Mile, the One Hour Run, and the 20,000 Meters. Many of these races are rarely run today, but even if they were it’s very unlikely that any one person could successfully compete at such diverse distances. Never say never, but this record seems unbreakable.
- Paavo Nurmi winning 121 consecutive races in distances between 800 meters and the Marathon. The streak began in 1921 and ended in 1925. People make a big deal about Edwin Moses’ 122 consecutive wins in the 400 Meter Hurdles (rightfully so), but he only competed in one event. The Flying Finn was competing in multiple events, and winning every time.
Bolt dominates the sprints
Usain Bolt winning the 100 Meter, 200 Meter Sprint combination in three consecutive Olympics: The financial incentives for current Olympic Athletes to prolong their careers has never been higher. We see this record as amazing yet still attainable.
Edwin Moses can jump
- Edwin Moses’ 122 consecutive wins in the 400 Meter Hurdles: No one has come close to winning the same event 122 times in a row. He went ten years without losing a race. Unbelievable!
Wilt Chamberlain does nothing wrong
- Wilt Chamberlain Avg. 50.4 points per game (1962): Next highest by someone not named Wilt Chamberlain is 37.1 by Michael Jordan in 1987.
- Wilt Chamberlain scoring 100 points in a game: Not likely to be broken in near future, but this record is more vulnerable than the 50 PPG Avg. Kobe Bryant scored 81 in 2006.
- Wilt Chamberlain averaging 27.2 rebounds a game in 1961: Next closes not Chamberlain was his rival Bill Russell at 24.7. Chamberlain and Russell have the top 18 spots. Nobody since 1994 is in the top 50 (Dennis Rodman 17.3)
UCLA Dominates College Basketball, for years
- UCLA winning 7 straight NCAA Basketball National Championships: Next longest streak is two. The present one and done practice is not a way for schools to run off consecutive championship. Not likely to even be challenged.
Tiger Woods Dominance
- Tiger Woods winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by 15 shots (2000): The record for largest victories in other Majors are: PGA Championship; 8 Rory McIlroy, 2012; British Open, 13 Old Tom Morris, 1862; Masters, 12 Tiger Woods 1997. As impressive as Tiger was in 2000 this record seems more vulnerable than Nelson’s 11 straight wins in 1945.
Bobby Jones wins them all
- Bobby Jones winning the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, British Open and British Amateur all in the same year (1930). No Amateur has won either Open since John Goodman’s U.S. Open win in 1933. The last Amateur to win the British was Jones in 1930. Only six players have won the two Opens in the same year, the last being Tiger Woods in 2000 (Jones did it twice). Doesn’t seem likely that Jones’ Slam will ever be done again.
Byron Nelson’s win streak
- Byron Nelson’s 11 consecutive PGA Tour wins in 1945: Seems out of reach. Tiger did win seven straight in 2006-2007, but that was Tiger. Jack’s longest streak was three. Nelson’s record was achieved during a war year, when most of his serious challengers were in military service.
Gretzky is “The Great One”
- Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points in a season (1986): Since Gretzky has the next three highest totals and the next in line is Gretzky’s contemporary Mario Lemieux at 199. As good as Alexander Ovechkin’s been his best year (2008) was 112 points, more than 100 points behind the Great One.
Nurmi in Speed Skating
- Eric Heiden winning all five of the Olympic Speed Skating events in the 1980 Olympics: Nobody today even competes in all the distances. To win both the sprints and the distance events is one of the greatest achievements in sports.
Petty’s records are unbelievable
- Richard Petty’s 200 career NASCAR wins: 2nd place is David Pearson with 105. Jeff Gordon retired in 3rd with 93. Jimmie Johnson entered the 2018 season with 83 wins, he will be 43 in September. Nobody has come close to challenging the record. Today there are 36 races in the NASCAR season. During Petty’s career there were as many as 62, averaging 51 races a year between 1959 and 1971. Unless NASCAR increases the number of races in a year, this record seem unbreakable.
- Richard Petty 27 wins in 1967 season: Besides Petty the next highest total is Jeff Gordon with 13 in 1998. He won 27 out of 48 races. NASCAR currently only runs 36 races a year. Probably untouchable.
- Richard Petty winning ten straight races in 1967: More vulnerable than the other two Petty entries, but still a very difficult achievement in today’s environment.
Nadal is the Clay King
- Rafael Nadal’s 12 French Open Titles: This record will be difficult to match, but it’s not as out there as others on this list. If Bjorn Borg had played till he was 35, as modern players do, his numbers at the French would be in this neighborhood. Borg won at Roland Garros six times and then retired at 26. Just think that another player of quality on clay is probably going to emerge in next 30 years. Of course Nadal is still adding to his total, so it might eventually be way out there.
Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian
- Michael Phelps wins 8 of eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is an amazing record for a couple reasons. One is that rarely do swimmers swim so many events in an Olympics, which makes the eight a spectacular number. Another impressive point is 3 of these gold medals came from relays, making anyone who wants to equal that be reliant on not just themselves but others as well.
- Michael Phelps’ 28 medals is the most of any male in Olympic history. This will probably be a record that is broken since athletes careers are continuing to lengthen. But it is still a pretty impressive record.
Secretariat may be a horse, but he’s also the GOAT
- Secretariats record at Belmont seems neigh unbeatable (like that pun). But seriously he defeated the field by 31 lengths. His time of 2:24 hasn’t been challenged in the past 45 years. There have been a smattering of talented horses clock in at 2:26 since Secretariat ran. But 2 seconds still remains a mountain between other talented horses and Old Red.
Want to know more?
We also have a list of the best college basketball teams of all time, in which the UCLA Bruins, during their streak, make multiple appearances.