Welcome to ESPN's fan vote, where you, the reader and sports fan, will decide which individual or team has been the most dominant in the 21st century.
In our first quarter-final, we have one of the greatest drivers of all time squaring up against the most decorated Olympian in history.
(Please vote in the poll at the bottom of this page to decide the winner.)
Michael Schumacher with Ferrari (2000-2004)
Michael Schumacher won the first race of this millennium, the 2000 Australian Grand Prix, and that set the tone. He would go on to win that year's World Championship, and the next, and the next... For five years, back-to-back, he was the undisputed king of motorsport.
Between 2000 and 2004, he won 48 out of 85 races and went about setting records that stand to this day. In 2002, he became the only driver in F1 history to finish in the top three in every race of the season. In 2004, he went on a quite ridiculous run, winning 12 of the first 13 races (the one miss was when he crashed out of the Monaco GP, while leading). He was relentless, brilliant, and made winning look routine.
Oh, and for those who dismiss it as wins for car more than driver, a reminder -- Ferrari had not won a World Championship for 17 years before Schumacher joined in 1996. They had won seven by the time he left in 2006 [all him, of course].
Michael Phelps at the Olympics (2004-2016)
For 12 years, Michael Phelps dominated the swimming pool. He was probably, in that time, the most dominant individual athlete across sport. Sure, he lost races; he famously lost his last individual Olympic race to Singapore's Joseph Schooling, who looked up to Phelps and had a photo taken with the American when he was 13. But from 2004-16, every time he entered the pool, he was the swimmer to beat. And in a sport with a relatively short shelf life, that's a long time to be so dominant.
No wonder when he retired, after the Rio Olympics, he had these all-time records to his name: Most Olympic medals; most Olympic gold medals; most gold medals at a single Games; most swimming world records. The list goes on. His standout year was 2008, when he won every event, individual or team, he competed in at the Beijing Olympics; and his standout event was the 200m individual medley, which he won in four consecutive Olympics.
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