The Gym Dogs’ Courtney Kupets is easily the most honored and winningest collegiate gymnast ever. She is the only gymnast ever to win the all-around and every individual event in NCAA competition, and is the all-time NCAA leader with nine individual championships. She also won a silver team medal and an individual bronze at the 2004 Olympics.
So does she belong on a list of the five greatest UGA athletes ever?
I like the concept, though I’d argue the members of that list.
Walker, who was also a track star at UGA, is a given. I’d also have Trippi, who was the Heisman runner-up and Maxwell Award winner as the best college football player, on the list.
Beyond that, it gets tough. Wilkins certainly went on to be a dominating figure in the NBA after his career at UGA, but should he beat out Trippi’s teammate Frank Sinkwich, another two-sport star and Heisman Trophy winner, on the shortlist of greatest UGA athletes?
UGA sports legend Dan Magill, who probably knows more about UGA athletics than anyone, has written in the past that he considers “Long” John Carson, UGA’s last four-letter athlete, one of the greatest all-around Bulldogs. Carson was an all-America end on the 1953 football team, leading the nation in receiving; an all-American in golf; played forward in basketball; and was a first-baseman in baseball.
What about basketball star Teresa Edwards, who went on to become a four-time Olympian? Or Andy Johnson, a terrific all-around athlete who starred in football and baseball at UGA and went on to the NFL?
And then there’s Champ Bailey, an absolute iron man who played both defense and offense for UGA in football long after the days of the two-way player were over, and who also was on the track team.
I think if I had to cut the list down to five, it would include Walker, Trippi, Wilkins, Bailey and … Kupets.
You don’t think a female gymnast belongs on such a list? Maybe you’ve never heard about the Challenge of the Champions three years ago where Kupets and her teammates bested the Georgia football team in push-ups, pull-ups, leg lifts … everything except sprints.
Which brings me to our Question of the Day: Which of these UGA sports has the best all-around athletes: football, basketball or gymastics? Feel free to comment, vote in the poll or do both.