Six-time Ironman World Champion and 1989 ITU Olympic distance World Champion Mark Allen received 52 percent of the votes to win the Endurance Sports category of ESPN’s Greatest Athlete of All Time contest.
With his win over eight-time Olympic gold medalist cross country skier Bjorn Daehlie, marathon world record holder (2:03:38) Patrick Makau, endurance swim legend Diana Nyad and first woman to win the overall title in the Badwater Marathon Pam Reed, Allen advances to the single elimination bracket round of the contest in which he will face legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
ESPN established 16 different sports categories which include football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, boxing, combat fighting, soccer, track and field, Olympics, endurance, auto racing, action sports and two special categories – game changers and multisport athletes. ESPN nominated 5 candidates in each sports category and solicited votes from the public via Internet to establish winners who would advance to the next round of voting.
Fan voting via the Internet in the Endurance Sports category began November 22 and lasted a week.
Once fan voting has determined one winner each from all 16 categories, ESPN will begin a single-elimination bracket competition to determine which athlete is the greatest of all time.
The first matchup will be Michael Jordan versus Tiger Woods on Feb. 17. In the bracket phase of the competition, Allen will square off against boxing legend Muhammad Ali on February 19th.
Each day forward, ESPN’s metric system will determine the winners of each round of the bracket until only one athlete remains.
ESPN states that the bracket portion of the contest will measure athletes from different disciplines using a “unique metric that factors in attributes such as strength, power, speed, quickness, reaction time, endurance, durability, also factoring in an athlete's resume, clutch performances and the overall difficulty of their sport. Each athlete will be scored in each category, using a unique ranking metric that allows them to compare an athlete's ability to his peers and also to athletes from other eras.”