performance dominance... (longest span between world championship victories)
I got into the debate about who were the greatest experts in their area of performance ever this afternoon and I thought I would look up some statistics on unusual records.
The one I am looking for in this post is the longest span of time between world championship victories in any sport or suitable challenging endeavour.
(I am limiting these searched to the modern era, or at least to where there was a well developed championship programme in place)
Phil Taylor - 20 years between first and last (or most recent, he don't look done yet ...)
One of my favourite best of the bests is Phil "the power" Taylor, the 13 times PDC world champion darts player and twice BDO world champion. He credits his success to practising more than his opponents and I like that.
He holds a bunch of records like 2 nine-dart finishes in a single match, total nine-dart finishes. But his first world-championship victory was the BDO crown in 1990 through to the PDC crown in 2010, giving a starting span of 20 years.
George Foreman - 21-ish years between victories.
The next contender is George Foreman, who won his first world title on January 22, 1973 George defeated Joe Frazier to take the undisputed title, previously stripped from Muhammed Ali.
George controversially regained the IBF/WBA heavy weight titles on November 5, 1994 with an unlikely defeat of Michael Moorer more than 20 years later.
George was later stripped of those titles for refusing to fight the statutory challenger, but there is little doubt he was a top quality boxer for a long time.
If I expand the search to include wider types of performance, The Academy Awards have some interesting examples;
Katharine Hepburn - 49 years
An outstanding span of performance with this one.
Won her first best actress oscar for playing Eva Lovelace in 1932 in the film Morning Glory, and won her 4th best Actress oscar in 1981, some 49 years later at 74 years of age.
Jack Nicholson - 22 Years
Won Best Actor oscar for one flew over the cuckoo nest in 1975, and again for as good as it gets in 1997.
Steve Redgrave - 16 years
Won gold medals at 5 consecutive Olympic games from 1984 through to 2000 in Sydney.
This is more of an honorary mention, as compared to the other guys, he is a toddler among old geezers.
Chess - 27 years
I started with the obvious first thought for most; Gary Kasparov Clearly a very dominant chess player for many years. His records of the all time ELO score of 2851, held the longtest time as the number 1 ranked player continuously. I think few doubt that Gary Kasparov is the greatest modern chess player. he held the highest ELO ranking in the world from 1985 to 2004, so a 19 year span.
However Anatoly Karpov was the chess world champion of 1975, and was the FIDE world champion of 1998, ceeding the title by default in 1999, hence has 23 years between world champion titles.
However the true champion of longevity in chess is Emanuel Lasker , who first was world championin 1894, and finally 1920, a period of 27 years.