Thursday, July 10, 2014

Where does O'Donnell fall among area's greatest?

June 07. 2013 12:42AM

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I had a chance to catch up with Shavertown native and world class triathlete Tim O'Donnell last night at Leverage in Forty Fort.
Tim, 32, was in town to show support for Team Red, White and Blue — a wonderful program aimed at helping the country's returning service men have smooth transition to civilian life.
It's an organization that O'Donnell, a graduate of the Naval Academy, has been involved with for several years.
You can read about all that here.
But what got the conversation going in the newsroom last night was where does O'Donnell rank among the athletes produced by the Wyoming Valley?
Just a couple of weeks ago, O'Donnell tied the American record for fastest time in an Ironman event, finishing a race in Brazil in 8 hours, 1 minute and 31 seconds. That caused executive editor Joe Butkiewicz wonder if O'Donnell is the best the Valley has ever scene across all sports.
Some of the guys in sports weren't so quick to give the title to O'Donnell yet, though. Their argument was the Brazil race was just one event (even if that event included a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike race and a full-length marathon).
To be fair to O'Donnell he has won a boatload of other events, but this was his first victory in a full-length Ironman.
Certainly, O'Donnell deserves a place in the conversation when talking about the greatest athletes ever to come out of the Wyoming Valley.
And with all due respect to the many players from the area that have ended up in the NFL, professional basketball and baseball leagues and on the PGA Tour, O'Donnell is one of the few to be competing on worldwide stage on a regular basis.
But no matter where he ranks on the all-time list of area athletes (and anyway you cut it, it's pretty darn high on that list), one thing is for sure.
There aren't many area athletes that can lay claim to sharing an American record.
What do you think? Where should O'Donnell rank among the region's top athletes of all time? Let me know and I will run some of your responses in a future blog.

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