Sschumacher, Federer, Woods and Armstrong are surnames synonymous with world domination.
But a 39-year-old surfer by the name of Robert Kelly Slater staked his claim for the right to be labelled the greatest athlete of all-time, clinching a record 11th world title on Wednesday, 19 years after his first.
While Schumacher (last formula one title in 2006), Federer (last grand slam win 2010) and Woods (last major win 2008) have all seemingly been surpassed by the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Novak Djokovic in recent years, Slater has comprehensively dominated world surfing throughout three decades.
He has reinvented himself and the sport on countless occasions and, today, 99 days short of his 40th birthday, remains the best surfer in the world, while his decorated world sport counterparts battle for placings among their respective chasing packs.
"And I can't see him slowing down either," said two-time world champion Mick Fanning, the only other surfer to have won the world championship since 2005."
I definitely think some of the surfing he's done in the past 24 months is some of the best surfing ever seen. And definitely in competition.
"Eleven world titles . . . he's a freak.
Most of us grew up watching him and he's still here, still getting better.
"If anything, he's definitely gotten faster and more nimble in the last two years than say 2007 or 2009 when I beat him."
"He just doesn't seem to age and there's something in him that just keeps inspiring. He hasn't let anyone know exactly what it is yet."
At 20, Slater was the youngest surfer to ever win the world title in 1992 and almost 20 years later, he is also the oldest to hold the crown.
"Part of it is people always talk about my age and you know I'm 39, almost 40, and to me that's literally just a number," Slater said when celebrating his win.
"You can prove people wrong and stay super healthy. I don't see why at 50 I can't be in better shape than I am now. If anything, I'd like to try to represent that to people. I eat well and I talk about it and I walk the walk and it shows in my ability physically."
From one world champion to another, four-time women's title holder Stephanie Gilmore considers Slater not just an inspiration to surfers but to people the world over.
Gilmore was three years old when Slater won his first title and now sits alongside him as a Quiksilver ambassador and world champion.
He's still an idol.
"It's amazing at his age and it's amazing for any type of human being to see progression of a human being well beyond what should have been their peak age," Gilmore said.
"He's setting new limits. I don't know if anyone in such a competitive world sport has been so dominant for so long."
Eleven world titles . . . it makes four world titles, even seven world titles look silly. It's unbelievable. He must be immortal."
Australian 21-year-old Owen Wright was the only competitor capable of upsetting the historic title before Slater's third-round win on Wednesday over Yamba product Dan Ross.
Many, including Slater, have labelled Wright, from Lennox Head, a future world-title winner. But despite an 18-year age advantage – and spending much of his 21 years aspiring to be as good as "The King" – Wright is yet to unseat arguably the most dominant force in world sport.
"Last year from Kelly was unbelievable but this year it's kind of gone out of this universe," Wright said.
"I don't know if anyone actually comprehends what he's doing and how he's doing it."
He started on tour the same year I was born and he is still the best surfer in the world.
"He's a champion and there's a lot of guys looking at him trying to watch and learn. And the younger generation are really going to pick up on some of his tricks. Jordy [Smith], myself and Julian [Wilson] and the other young guys keep pushing him and it's a good thing for him, maybe not so much us, because why would you want to compete somewhere when you're not getting pushed."
He took surfing to the next level in the 1990s and he's done so every decade since.
Kelly is surfing.
He has to be one of the greatest athletes of all time.
And there are no signs of him stopping yet.
- HuffingtonPost : Kelly Slater will likely win his 11th World Title in San Francisco
- GeoGarage blog : Kelly Slater wins his 10th surfing world title
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