General Question

Ltryptophan's avatar

What is more prestigious to be an astronaut, or to win a world record setting gold medal in the Olympics?

Asked by Ltryptophan (11810points) October 21st, 2016

These both require physical excellence and dedication. The role of an astronaut is maybe more demanding of your intellect.

But, which one carries the greatest actual honor/recognition in our world.

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19 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Hard to say, you’re mostly comparing two versions of “meh”.

I recognize the names of astronauts from 40 and 50 years ago, but none in the last ten years except for what’s his name the Canadian who sang from the space station.

And, other than a few of the swimmers and track athletes, hardly any Olympians. There was what’s her name, the woman shot putter.

Neither pursue their goal for honor or recognition.

flo's avatar

Are you asking which should be more prestigious?

Ltryptophan's avatar

yeah right! Nothing at all to do with recognition! shhhhhhhheeeeeeeeet.

Ltryptophan's avatar

No, I’m asking which is most prestigious.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Prestigious to whom? Me or someone else?

I think there are two ways to look at it. Are we talking about prestige, as in what do others think of me?

Or are you asking “what do I feel good about myself?”

Two completely different scenarios. And there is no answer to either, because they both depend on all sorts of other factors, like self-image, pride, value system – and those are different from person to person.

Basically, it’s a silly question, because it is so situation dependent that there is not one answer.

flo's avatar

@Ltryptophan It depends I guess which paricular astrounaut and which particular olympic sport. Some olympic sports are obscure.

I think the general population values the astraonauts more in the western democracies.

ucme's avatar

I think I know where you’re coming from on this & my answer hopefully reflects that.
In the world we currently live in sport is a major global business, elite athletes are recognised all over the world & so are their finest achievements, a gold medal, a world record.
The same can’t be said of astronauts, aside from pioneers like Armstrong/Aldrin/Gagarin & those were generations ago, there’s not many you could call household names.

You can go as far back as Jesse Owens/Bob Beamon, moving onto Ed Moses/Carl Lewis & eventually Michael Johnson/Usain Bolt, that’s just a handful of Olympic greats who, in my opinion at least, rank way higher than any astronaut & their endeavours.

Seek's avatar

Well, in my opinion, the astronaut. Look at the requirements:

Pilot astronauts need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in engineering, biological/physical sciences or mathematics. They also require a minimum of 1,000 hours pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft.

Pilot astronauts need to be able to pass a NASA space physical, which includes the following items:

Distant visual acuity: 20/100 or better uncorrected, correctable to 20/20 each eye
Blood pressure: 140/90 measured in a sitting position
Height between 62 and 75 inches
For applicants applying to be Pilot astronauts, NASA strongly recommends flight test experience. While it is theoretically possible to obtain these credentials without going into the military, the majority of NASA Pilot astronauts come from either the Air Force or Navy.

The applicant must be free from any disease.
The applicant must be free from any dependency on drugs, alcohol or tobacco.
The applicant must have the normal range of motion and functionality in all joints.
The applicant must have visual acuity in both eyes of 100% (20/20) either uncorrected or corrected with lenses or contact lenses.
The applicant must be free from any psychiatric disorders.
The applicant must demonstrate cognitive, mental and personality capabilities to enable him/her to work efficiently in an intellectually and socially highly demanding environment


Those are the minimum requirements, and as a result of a high number of applicants NASA can choose the cream of the crop.

Olympic athletes just have to, basically, be the best at exercising. Big deal.

flo's avatar

I think if you ask people they would say it’s astronauts, but if you go by how much they know about space related things and how much they know and contribute to Olympic sports it would be the Olympic sports.

zenvelo's avatar

@Ltryptophan Really dedicated athletes don’t do it for recognition.There were 974 total Olympic medals awarded this summer. There were more than 10,000 athletes. Clearly the vast majority knew their chances of medaling were slim, but in the Olympic spirit, they did their best for sake of competing in their sport at the highest levels.

And astronauts are men and women that are particularly fascinate with a journey into space, they aren’t there for recognition, they do it for the adventure and the exploration.

Prestige is just a side note, and it is fleeting.

imrainmaker's avatar

I would be honoured if I’m able to achieve either. Both achievements are special to me and requires lot of hardships, never say die attitude and perseverance.

Pachy's avatar

I don’t know (or care) which is more prestigious, but me, I’d much rather be an astronaut for the adventure in outer space.

Ltryptophan's avatar

@zenvelo Firstly, originally I did not say that an athlete or astronaut performs their function to gain honor or recognition. Secondly, although I engaged you by replying to your answer I did not intend to recommend that. Lastly, at least one from each category definitely has sought honor, recognition, or both from their efforts.

You remain free to answer the question as asked.

filmfann's avatar

About 450 people have won multiple gold medals.
About 536 people have gone into space.
I would say the astronauts have more prestige, and deservedly so.

Sneki95's avatar

None, it’s just two different jobs.

scotslass's avatar

Astronauts. I would be more impressed to meet someone who has he endurance to go into space, and look back at the world, than someone who could run fast.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@flo “I think the general population values the astraonauts more in the western democracies.”

I’m not too sure about that. I doubt most people could name any astronaut not named Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin or John Glenn. And most folks think the meager half a penny we spend on NASA is too much as it is. But we all revere Michael Phelps.

kritiper's avatar

I would think the astronaut would make more money and be more in demand.

filmfann's avatar

I don’t revere Phelps, and I can name upwards of 20 astronauts without any effort.

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