Ronnie O'Sullivan believes 16-times world darts champion Phil 'The Power' Taylor should be ranked alongside the greatest sports icons of all time.
Ahead of his 30th season competing at the snooker summit since turning professional in 1992 in a career of astonishing longevity, the six-times world champion tells Eurosport about the icons he admires from the world of sport.
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While O'Sullivan – a committed middle-distance runner in his spare time – is in awe of the dedication of athletes such as 100m world record holder Usain Bolt to get better and better over their respective distances, he believes a special mention should be reserved for the ability of Taylor.
The Tungsten titan from Stoke lifted 16 world titles between 1990 and 2013 and has been rated among the 10 greatest British sportsmen of all time.
"When you look at sportsmen, there are a lot of sports people that I admire," said O'Sullivan, who begins his season on Tuesday 20 July against three-times women's world champion Ng On Yee of Hong Kong in his first match at the Championship League in Leicester.
"I'm obviously really big into athletics and I'm a middle-distance runner, but I look at Usain Bolt and I think he'd be a pretty cool guy to meet.
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"Coming from a longer distance background, I obviously have a lot of admiration for world-class runners like Kenenisa Bekele, Eliud Kipchoge and Haile Gebrselassie.
"That'd be more the stuff I can relate to a little bit more, the longer stuff.
I just think Bolt as a character and is an athlete has dominated his sport over 100m and 200m. It's a level playing field sport and you have to say he's one of the all-time greats, but there are so many.
"Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Tyson Fury..there are some phenomenal sports people out there.
Phil Taylor celebrates his 16th world title (AFP)
Image credit: Eurosport
"I've got to say, Phil Taylor would be right up there. I know some people don't classify it is an athletic sport, but if Phil Taylor played golf, he'd have been chasing Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors by now.
The Power would be up there. He'd probably have won about 30 majors. How good would he have been as a golfer? It's special stuff really.
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