September 30, 2020

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Sports Showdown

Help choose Manitoba's greatest athlete of all time

There are many, many more important things than sports, but it hasn’t been easy seeing the sporting events we all know and love get either postponed or cancelled.

We may never know if the Jets were going to turn some heads in the playoffs, or if the Raptors could somehow defend their NBA title without Kawhi Leonard leading the way.

But instead of focusing on what we're missing out on, I wanted to think of something that would help pass the time and get sports fans back to doing what they do best — arguing (I'm kidding, sort of).

I've created a March Madness-style bracket called Sports Showdown to decide who is the province's greatest athlete of all time. So, I'm asking readers to speak up and cast their votes.

I'd be the first to admit it's extremely difficult to compare athletes from different eras, let alone different sports. To make it a tiny bit easier, the four regions in the 32-person tournament have been split into Jets, Bombers, Olympians and Local Pros. The top dog in each category will clash in the Final Four.

Now by doing this, I'm fully aware of what I've signed up for. Not everyone is going to agree with the 32 names selected and it's going to lead to some emails sent my way, but that's OK.

Do you think I feel good about Kaitlyn Lawes getting snubbed? I lost some sleep over that one. Or how about leaving off Bomber greats such as Joe Poplawski and Tyrone Jones? You could've also made strong cases for Bobby Clarke, Sylvia Burka, Donny Lalonde, Joey Johnson, Wanda Guenette and Jon Montgomery, just to name a few.

Unfortunately, there wasn't room for all of our local greats.

As for the voting criteria, the easiest way to go about it (at least in my opinion) is to imagine you're creating a Mount Rushmore of Manitoba athletes.

Who do you think is the most deserving of representing our province's rich sports history?

When we're at the stage where there are only four names remaining, your vote should be based on who you think should be the face of all Manitoba sports.

I think we could all use a distraction from pandemic talk and I hope this bracket can help with that, even if it's just for a few minutes.

OK, here’s how things are going to play out folks: Voting begins every Friday at noon, and remains open until the following Thursday at noon. You can vote on each match once per day. 

The pairings below open at noon on May 22, and you can vote daily until noon on May 28.

Thursday afternoon we’ll tally everything up and put the winners in pairings that will open for voting the next day at noon.

-Taylor Allen

Final showdown: Voting closed at noon on June 18

Final Showdown

Fantastic Four: Voting ended June 11 at noon

Manitoba Made

Battle of the All-Stars

Excellent 8: Voting ended June 4 at noon

Mr. Winnipeg Arena

King of Bomberland

Top of the podium

Not Your Average Joe

Super 16: Voting ended May 28

Portage and Main

Immortalized in Manitoba

Battle in the Trenches

Groundbreakers

Summer Bronze

We start with 32: Voting ended May 21

O Captain! My Captain!

Hot Line Bling

Running Routes

Old School

Hometown Heroes

Best D-Man

Need for Speed

Frequent Flyers

Here comes the Herd

Captain Serious vs. Ukey

Buffalo Battle

Big Man on Campus

Smoothest Swing

The Winnipeg Free Press invites you to share your opinion on this story in a letter to the editor. A selection of letters to the editor are published daily.

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• fill out the form on this page, or
• email letters@freepress.mb.ca, or
• mail Letters to the Editor, 1355 Mountain Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2X 3B6.

Letters must include the writer’s full name, address, and a daytime phone number. Letters are edited for length and clarity.