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Who's D.C.'s Most Popular Athlete?


Two of the candidates. (By Evan Vucci - AP)


Three years ago, Mike Wise wrote a column, dubbing Clinton Portis D.C.'s most popular athlete, ahead of Gilbert and Ovechkin. Two years ago, I did a similar Top Six list, leading with the same three names as Wise, but in a different order: Gilbert, then Portis, then Ovechkin. Then a few months ago, the AP's Joseph White wrote this:

Ovechkin has clearly become Washington's No. 1 sports star -- ahead of the Redskins' Clinton Portis (who seemed to spend all of last season grumbling about one thing or another) and the Wizards' Gilbert Arenas (who hasn't played all season because of a knee injury).

So is it a done deal then? I certainly thought so, and for months I've told anyone who asked that Ovechkin has the crown, full stop, next question. But then I started chatting with Wise the other day, and he still disagreed. If we were in a room with Ovechkin, Portis, Gilbert and a random sampling of D.C. area residents, he asked, would Ovie really attract the biggest crowd? I said yes. Wise said no.

But who cares what we think? Let's find out what you think? Even cooler, I'm going to find out what the local media thinks, via the first ever D.C. Sports Bog Top 5 Athlete Poll. To me, there are only five reasonable answers for the top spot: the three names of above, plus Zimmerman and Cooley, but I'll let the people speak. And, of course, I asked some wise observers for their thoughts on who's most popular. Read the thoughts of Portis, Cooley and Smoot below.


So....top five most popular athletes?

"After me?" Cooley asked.

"Probably Freddy Adu," Portis said.

"Freddy Adu?" Cooley repeated. "You're [extremely] crazy. Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss..."

"I don't think so," Portis said. "I think Alana Beard. What's the dude's name from the Nationals?"

"Zimmerman," Cooley said.

"Zimmerman," Portis agreed. "Ovechkin. What is it, Simeon? Simeyon? Man, number 28 for the hockey team."

"Oh, Semin," I said.

"Yeah, Semin..." Portis continued.

"I'll tell you right now, if you vote, there's gonna be three Redskins," Cooley interrupted. "If you have a vote, there's gonna be three Redskins picked in the top five."

And who's number one?

"That's a great question," Cooley said. "There's no way to tell."

Gilbert, Cooley, Portis or Ovechkin, I suggested.

"Gilbert's out," Cooley said. "Gil hasn't played for three years."

"Yeah, he ain't playing," Portis agreed.

"Clinton might be number one," Cooley guessed.

"I wouldn't even say me at number one," Portis said. "I think Ovechkin, I do."

"This is the first year anyone's cared about hockey," Cooley disagreed. "It'd be me or you. And if a quarterback came here and played, it's 100 percent the quarterback."

"Colt's got a lot of fans," Portis said.

"If a quarterback comes in here and takes us to the playoffs, it's him, bar none, no questions asked," Cooley concluded."

"I guess between me and Cooley," Portis finally said, being serious.

Then I asked Smoot, whose opinion I trust.

"The five most popular?" he repeated. "Ovechkin. Gilbert. Clinton. Jason Campbell is the quarterback, so Jason. Nationals? Nah, not quite getting there yet. So I'm gonna have to say Caron Butler."

And on top?

"Ovechkin may be number one," Smoot said.

Cooley then re-emerged from the locker room.

"Ovechkin nationally, yes, but you asked me in the D.C. area," Cooley said. "Redskins."

"The Redskins are the most popular thing," Smoot agreed.

So then, Portis?

"Do a survey," Cooley said.

"Football is number one, so if he's the most popular Redskin, give him number one," Smoot said.

"If you want jersey sales on this team, though, Clinton isn't number one," Cooley said, which is true. "Not by that close either."

(I also asked Randy Thomas for the top name on his list. "Probably Chris Samuels," he said. "Great guy." I started laughing. "See, you think I'm joking about that," he said. "What, O line can't be the most popular?")

To be continued....

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 27, 2009; 12:32 PM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats , Redskins , Wizards  
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Next: Morning Bog: Tony Plush's Broken Hand

Comments

I voted by thinking about who I'd want to talk to in that group of 5 athletes. So I voted for Zimmerman.

To ask "most popular" means you have to think about who other people like, which makes it a guessing game.

Posted by: dcborn61 | August 27, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Lebron James

Posted by: popopo | August 27, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

hahaha zimmerman, thats classic.

Posted by: santanastark | August 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

At this moment...

1. Ovie
2. Cooley
3. Gilbert
4. Strasburg
5. Tony Plush

That'll change next month to...

1. Ovie
2. Haynesworth
3. Gilbert
4. Brian Orakpo
5. All of the Redskins back-up QB's (sadly)

Posted by: Kev29 | August 27, 2009 12:57 PM | Report abuse

And if a quarterback came here and played, it's 100 percent the quarterback."

"Colt's got a lot of fans," Portis said.

"If a quarterback comes in here and takes us to the playoffs, it's him, bar none, no questions asked," Cooley concluded."

So they don't think we've got a QB in that position at the moment, eh? Interesting!

Posted by: edmj | August 27, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Somewhat relatedly, what I'm wondering is has Ovechkin been in an Eastern Motors commercial? If not, I think we should begin a campaign to make that happen. His Russian accent would be totally visible in his lip synch and isn't he missing key teeth? Amazing.

~Kristin

Posted by: kpeterson | August 27, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Ovie.

But, Clinton Portis knows (sort of) who Alex Semin is?! Wow.

Posted by: RedBirdie | August 27, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

kpeterson, Ovie has been in an Eastern Motors commercial. Check out some of the outtakes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wpw-dJinzK0 (Ovie Sings!0

http://www.thedailytube.com/video/16505/alex-ovechkin-eastern-motors-newest-star (ovie and Cooley destroy the set!)

Posted by: RedBirdie | August 27, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Probably Freddy Adu

Posted by: d_skillz | August 27, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin currently. But if the Redskins go to the playoffs, then whoever is playing QB will jump to the top. And if Arenas goes back to playing at an All-Star level, then I think he goes above Ovechkin.

Posted by: tgoren71 | August 27, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Riggins
D. Green
Ovie
Cooley
Portis

No one said retired athletes don't count.

Posted by: fushezzi | August 27, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to be interested when you take this line of questioning to the United's locker room, or better yet, the Kastles (insert inapropriate comments...). But seriously, I'd like to hear what the other teams think about this.

Posted by: superpaqman | August 27, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin tops this list for the next ten years and it's really not close. Orakpo will be #2 in a couple years, maybe next year.

Posted by: CletusVanDamme | August 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Zimmerman isn't even the most popular member of the Nationals. In order, they are:

1. Nyjer Morgan
2. Livan Hernandez
3. Willie Harris
4. Adam Dunn
5. Steven Strasburg

Posted by: post5 | August 27, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

p.s. I wonder how Campbell feels about Cooley's comments regarding "bring in a quarterback"

Posted by: superpaqman | August 27, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

In terms of drawing the most fans to DC sporting events, I'd have to say Roethlisberger.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 27, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I personally don't think Gill is in there anymore.
1. AO8
2. CC47
3. CP26
4. Tony Plush
5. Zimmerman

Posted by: alex35332 | August 27, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Current players?

I figure Cooley's #1, then Portis, Ovechkin, Zimmerman, Brennan.

Posted by: riff156 | August 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

May I respectfully suggest that the fact that 82% of the current voters went for Ovechkin or Cooley stands as reasonable evidence that white people read Dan Steinberg's blog on washingtonpost.com.

Agent Steinz, care to confirm?

Posted by: usedtobemoco | August 27, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I would have gone with Zimmerman if I was answering based on my own opinion. However, I went with Cooley as the fan favorite.

Posted by: lordscarlet1 | August 27, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Dibble. You left out Rob Dibble, who, judging by the amount of blog ink spilled and tweets fired, is number one.

At least you need a space for a write-in candidate.

Donald Brashear?

Posted by: JoeBagadonuts | August 27, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Great article. This is the kind of stuff that gets people going. But anyways, it is not even a contest anymore, its OV. Hands down. He is the most popular athlete in DC, period. He’s a star.

I would have said Gilbert, but that pussy hasn’t played in like 4 years. OV is rarely hurt, and he plays a far more physical game, and he is real. I love the Skins, but they don’t have a bona fide international superstar (yet). Sorry Cooley, OV is know all across the world.

And mark my words, in 2 years Brian Orakpo will be on this list.

Posted by: cj658 | August 27, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

http://alexovetjkin.blogspot.com/2009/08/alex-ovechkins-reebok-clothing-line.html

Just look how the dude gets treated in Russia.

Posted by: cj658 | August 27, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I love both Cooley & Ovechkin but Mr. MVP has this one hands down.

Ovechkin
Cooley
Laich

Posted by: Semvechkin | August 27, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Hands down, OV! No questions...

Posted by: CapsIn6 | August 27, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

USEDTOBEMOCO:

Why don't you file a complaint. And tell your pal Gilbert that if he had actually played in the past 2 years, he would have got some votes.

Facts are facts buddy. Cry me a river. haha

Posted by: cj658 | August 27, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

It's Ovechkin right now. Once Gil starts playing he'll be number 1.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 27, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Dan,
please do this story again in March and i am positive Agent Zero Gilbert Arenas will be on to... Two words my friends HE'S BACK!!!!!

Posted by: igotwork | August 27, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Dibble's not an athlete (anymore). He doesn't count.

So by my rarely used math skills, Zimmerman has about 23 votes right now, while Ovi has nearly 600. Ouch.

Posted by: misschatter | August 27, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Time for a second round of uniform sale checkups, this time with NFL NHL NBA and MLB. But to be fair I think you got to do it comparing not only quantity but where the player ranks in his sport? More people seem to wear Redskins jerseys in public then the others, and I don't recall seeing a Nats jersey outside people going to a game, same with wiz and caps for that matter.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 27, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I see Zimm's number being much higher when the Nat's are good in 3-4 years.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 27, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

if you're speaking of the whole DMV, then it's probably Ovie just cuz of the recent playoff success. if you're talking about just within the city limits, i think gilbert wins hands down ;-). people still remember what he's done, and all you need is a couple of games to show he's back and the bullets winning to get everyone filling verizon center again..

do this poll come december when at least 4 of the 5 are playing, and we'll see how it turns out

Posted by: 3tripleiii | August 27, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Honestly this depends on backround and race.
There is two D.C's after all.
Nationally there is no question that Ovechkin would be number one... there is even a case internationally that he is the most popular Hockey Player.
Ovie is well known in D.C. ... but more popular (as in liked in) then a Redskin in D.C??? No
I'd say Cooley, Portis, Ovechkin.

Posted by: pecdec8705 | August 27, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

By mid-Nov, when the Redskins are 3-8, Campbell on the bench, Zorn on the street and another season has gone down the tube, no one will remember who plays for the Redskins.

Ovechkin is #1. Caps season going until June.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | August 27, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Thats what i'm saying pecdec. Demographics matter. And people sitting at work clicking through sports blogs can sympathize with 'every-man' chris cooley or the crazy russian. That makes them the ideal sports stars in a certain world, but not in others.
But when Gil returns, we're going post-racial baby!!!
Just kidding. but seriously....

Posted by: usedtobemoco | August 27, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to change my vote to Obama and his ridiculously exagerrated basketball skills.

Posted by: pecdec8705 | August 27, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

It's gotta be Elijah Dukes.

Posted by: GuzDukes | August 27, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Gooch!?
Adu? Does he even play anymore? Anywhere? Then again Gooch isn't looking so hot in that department either.

Posted by: DadRyan | August 27, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin tops this list for the next ten years and it's really not close. Orakpo will be #2 in a couple years, maybe next year.

Posted by: CletusVanDamme | August 27, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Orakpo will be a Yankee in 2012

Posted by: Terpsrule | August 27, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Selection Bias!

Posted by: TheGreat8 | August 27, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin and the Caps have broken through to everyone in the city. The little girl across the street from me rocks out in the Fedorov t-shirt. And I don't live in the "white" part of town.

Posted by: RedBirdie | August 27, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

two words...Sean Taylor

Posted by: rc2223 | August 27, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"If a quarterback comes in here and takes us to the playoffs, it's him, bar none, no questions asked," Cooley concluded.

Yeah, because this town just went ape sh*t for Mark Brunnell back in 05.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 27, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

My Top Five

1) Chris Cooley
2) Clinton Portis
3) Gilbert Arenas
4) Caron Butler
5) Jason Campbell

Honorable Mention: Grievis Vasquez

Sorry folks, there simply are far too many more football and basketball fans in this town to make Ovie relevant in this discussion. If we're talking about best overall athlete in this area, of course Ovie is number one. But this is about who is the most popular, and in that discussion he's not near the top spot.

(when the vast majority of DC residents cannot even spell your name, there's a good chance you're not on their radar)

Posted by: Barno1 | August 27, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert will clearly be at the 2 spot, if not the one spot, after this coming basketball season. Agent Zero is poised for a 26 point per game comeback and the Wiz finally get out of the first round with our stacked team. The most memorable moment in DC sports (because the Caps once again failed against Sid the Kid) in recent history has to be Gil's 35 foot buzzer beater where he turns in victory while the ball is still in the air. He's gonna bring sexy back.

Posted by: SirTwist | August 27, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Gilbert will clearly be at the 2 spot, if not the one spot, after this coming basketball season. Agent Zero is poised for a 26 point per game comeback and the Wiz finally get out of the first round with our stacked team. The most memorable moment in DC sports (because the Caps once again failed against Sid the Kid) in recent history has to be Gil's 35 foot buzzer beater where he turns in victory while the ball is still in the air. He's gonna bring sexy back.

Posted by: SirTwist | August 27, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to buy you a beer. Finally someone with some common sense around here.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 27, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

"In terms of drawing the most fans to DC sporting events, I'd have to say Roethlisberger."

Good point. I'd say Kevin Youklis, Chase Utley, Nick Markakis, and Derek Jeter would all probably get higher scores in the poll than Zimmerman as well.

Posted by: dugly2ugly | August 27, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

And a second poll:
1) Number of SportsBog comments, 5/1/09 - 8/26/09

2) Number of SportsBog comments, 8/27/09

Good job Dan. Though you forgot to include Erin Andrews.

Posted by: GshawnJohnson | August 27, 2009 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Good point. I'd say Kevin Youklis, Chase Utley, Nick Markakis, and Derek Jeter would all probably get higher scores in the poll than Zimmerman as well.

Posted by: dugly2ugly | August 27, 2009 3:46 PM

That's why John Lannan is my favorite DC athlete - for breaking Chase Utley's hand during his first MLB start. I've also nominated that as my Nats "Defining Moment" commercial. Just need to get my Super Mario mustache before filming.

Posted by: Kev29 | August 27, 2009 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Logically.. If you're doing this according to success and impact on their sport.
It's definitely OV
If you're doing this by importance in the DMV. The quarterback position has always been the #1 story. Whether it was Sonny and Billy, Gus or Heath, Get Mark Brunnell's ass outta there or whatever.
So like Cooley said if JC were playing really well and really had command of the team, it'd be him. But he doesn't so....
That leaves things open. Gil's been hurt, I think alot of people are Split about how they feel about CP (attitude, taking himself out, lack of big moments, or breakaway runs), and OV is the most spectacular athlete in all of American Sports right now. What can beat an Amazing OV goal?? How many times have ya'll watched that goal against Montreal or the one against Phoenix on Youtube? A ton probably!!!

1. OV
2. CP 26/CC 47
3. Gilbert
4. Zimmy
5. Caron/The Captain AJ#4/ Jason Campbell

Posted by: RobAnthony | August 27, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Maryland basketball will finish with a 15-16 record

No NCAA bid

No NIT bid

Maryland Football will finish with a 2-10 record.

Maryland's defensive line and linebacker corps are a joke --- no pass rush whatsoever and give up a ton of long yardage plays.

I have seen harder hitting teams in powder puff leagues.

The only hard hits the Terps make - are out of bound plays - which cost them an additional 15 yards - which are quite frequent.

California's running back - Best - will gain 296 yards in the opening game

I love it, when Maryland constantly gets embarrassed on national TV.

Prediction:

California -- 56
Maryland -- 10

It's hilarious to see Maryland win a game - and the very next week get clobbered by a Virginia Tech - Boston College.

It is great to see Maryland go down to a crushing defeat on the football recruiting front (the kids they have received commitments from - are a joke! - taking the bottom of the barrel)

Carolina Blue - Carolina WHITE - Go Tar Heels - Let's go Tar Heels !

Posted by: hclark1 | August 27, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

How long since the DC area was home to an MVP-caliber athlete in his prime? If you want a charismatic, electrifying, once-in-a-generation Athlete wearing a local uniform, I got Eight letters for ya...

Posted by: redlineblue | August 27, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

1. Chris Cooley seems very adept at gauging fan appreciation.

2. No love for Nyjer Morgan?

3. The number one athlete at this moment is Chris Cooley. It changes with the media cycles. In three weeks it will be Campbell. Three months it will be Gilbert.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | August 27, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

It's not even fair, Ovie all the way.

Barno1, I don't think not being able to spell someone's name means anything. Ask anyone in DC who Ovie is and they'll tell you.

Posted by: Moose33 | August 27, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Re: Clinton Portis and hockey - we sat in front of him at last year's playoffs against the Flyers - center ice, lower bowl. I'm not surprised he's up on DC's hottest and of late, winningest team...

Posted by: Section416akatheAlps | August 27, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Lots of love for Nyjer Morgan from me!! <3

Posted by: rachel216 | August 27, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

It's Ovie, not even close. Cooley is popular and so is Arenas. But Ovechkin is going to be on the Mt. Rushmore of DC superstars before he is through along with Baugh, Johnson and Gibbs. And Mike Wise is again proven to be a know nothing idiot.

Posted by: poguesmahone | August 27, 2009 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Ovi. And it ain't close.

Posted by: Chris57 | August 27, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

He is technically still an athlete in DC. Saint Juan Dixon is number one in our hearts and bringer of the NC. Juan juan juan juan dixon dixon dixon. Oh yeah hclark - head to head in the Fridge era MD is 5-1 vs. UNC (thanks Barno). Most popular player is the one that brings that most elusive of championships - the mens BB NCAA.

Posted by: HughGRection | August 27, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

When the hottest rapper in the DMV (and soon to be US) nicknames himself after a white hockey player, all debate is dead.

Wale Ovechkin

Posted by: fushezzi | August 27, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

which is the more popular youtube - Barnes hit on Best and the aftermath or Ovechkin's goal? Not that I follow hockey myself but if I did I'd root against the Caps. And if we are talking about retired athletes, I think Saint Cal Ripken is up there with Darrell Green and John Riggins (because lets face it, the Orioles are still more popular than the Nats and not quite as crappy).

Posted by: HughGRection | August 27, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

By the way, if I'm not mistaken, Ovie just won a survey by Washingtonian magazine for DC's most popular athlete. Ovie appeals to everyone because he is no only the best hockey player in the world, he has a magnetic personality and is a showman. Yet, he is not an "all about me" guy like certain others on your list.

Posted by: poguesmahone | August 27, 2009 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Despite Portis's talent, looks like people are skeptical of his persona...

Posted by: johnvandermyde | August 27, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Ovie, hands down the most exciting player in the NHL. Might be a tighter race if Gil could get healthy again........

Posted by: albatross | August 27, 2009 7:27 PM | Report abuse

It's that sort of cocky attitude why I don't care for this crop of Redskins nearly as much as I used to the teams of the 80's and 90's. What have Cooley and Portis accomplished in the NFL? Any MVP's there? Have they lead the league in scoring? Not even close. It's Ovechkin and it's not even close.

Posted by: garg8050 | August 27, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Ovie not only is super star but has a great fun loving personality. The guy backs up his talk

Posted by: LongTimeSkinsFan | August 27, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow, Cooley is crushing Portis! Surprised Zim is only at 2%-----are you blocking Nats fans from voting? LOL

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 27, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Who can root for ANYTHING that the punk Dan Snyder owns. The Redskins are just too dysfunctional and have turned into a grotesque profit machine. Gimme Ovie any day. Sorry Skins - used to love 'em - no more.

Posted by: birvin9999 | August 27, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Who is D.C.'s Most Popular (Person) Athlete?

1) Obama
2) Collin Powell
3) Hillary Clinton
4) Joe Biden
5) Bill Clinton

This is DC who cares about sports.

Posted by: nativeva1 | August 27, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Jason Campbell will be number one come January.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 27, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

#1 Ben Olsen

The rest are just minnows.

I'm sure there are more popular players for the Frederick Keys than the Nationals.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 28, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

What about Ben Olsen?
I would rank him #1, with Gilbert at 2nd and Ovie 3rd

Posted by: drummastajoel | August 28, 2009 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Colt Brennan
Clinton Portis
Alex Ovechkin
Jason Campbell
Chris Cooley
Ryan Zimmerman
Gilbert Arenas
Simeon Varlamov
Luciano Emilio
Caron Butler

Posted by: bobnowell | August 28, 2009 3:51 AM | Report abuse

Ovie's the best. most dominant player in DC, but in terms of overall, general popularity, I don't think it's close. I'm thinking in terms of demographics. Anyone seriously think the average 8 year old growing up in Barry Farms in SE DC would know who Ovie is? If you gave that kid an Ovie jersey, would he appreciate the fact he has the jersey of the most dominant player in hockey? I doubt it. However, every demographic knows and likes the 'Skins players. Cooley wins because (1) he's a Redskin, (2) he's damn good, (3) he looks kinda dorky (I mean that in best way possible), and (5) he always seems to be having a good time. People don't like multi-million $$$ athletes crying because a broadcaster dares to question how he performed in a game.

Posted by: CapHill32 | August 28, 2009 3:57 AM | Report abuse

Swede Ellstrom was a FB on the 1934 Redskins...no one will ever be bigger then him.

Posted by: SA-Town | August 28, 2009 5:46 AM | Report abuse

#1 Ben Olsen

The rest are just minnows.

Posted by: alecw81 | August 28, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse


Agreed.

Posted by: M__N | August 28, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Ben Olsen?? LOL!!!

Nobody cares about him. How many times has he been on sportscenter?? Or better yet, how many times has he been on the front page of the wapo sports section.

Ben Olsen could be on the red line during rush hour, and nobody would give a rats a$$.

I am sure there are high school athletes more popular than "Ben Olsen" in DC.

Posted by: cj658 | August 28, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Sorry Dan you missed the boat again. DC's mos tpopular athletes are Joey T, Kate, Fiver, Granite, Lily. These are the DC areas top herding dogs. More personality than anyone on your list. They work 12 hr days for praise, scratch behind the ear and for the opportunity to raise sheep. Their 100 meter time would leave Bolt in the dust. How long would it take Cooley to run a 600 yards to get behind the sheep? Overchkin? agent Zero? And they would all need O2 and that's just the first part of the course. Then drive the sheep 400 yards to handler's post, around the handler's post and drive 200 yards through the first panel turn right with sheep and 200 yards through the second panel and then turn right and another 200 yards to the pen. Then take sheep out of the pen and get them under control and then separate one off or shed it and in under 10 minutes.

These are DC's best and favorite athletes, bubba!

Posted by: vaherder | August 28, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

A year ago Ovie gets the key to the city. A month or so ago the President goes to Russia and thanked Russia for Ovechkin. No other athlete in DC gets that kind of buzz outside of the sports world...mucn less outside of Washington. Ovechkin...hands down.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 28, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

MVP Alex dominates the league at his position, plus his temaates love him, and he's straight-up with fans. He's Super-Hero calibre.

Posted by: Max231 | August 28, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Its hard to have Ovie #1 because this is Chocolate City and 9 out of every 10 blacks have no idea who Ovie is or even what hockey is. So basically you eliminate all of PG County and half of DC. In DC the biggest draw is Redskins, so I believe you have to vote a redskin #1 overall.

1. Portis
2. Ovie
3. Gilbert
4. Cooley
5. Zimmerman

Posted by: dominic10464 | August 28, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It's got to be a redskin. I don't think most people would even recognize Zimmerman (or any of the Nats) off the field...same with Ovie. But people know who Portis, Cooley, Moss, Campbell are. Only reason Campbell won't make my list, is because I'd call him infamous in DC right now.

1. Cooley
2. Portis
3. Gil
4. Ovie
5. Moss

Posted by: likethebean | August 28, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Heath Shuler
Kwame Brown

Posted by: SA-Town | August 28, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Clearly, most of the people commenting aren't from here. There's no way Ovie is #1. George Michael doesn't host "Capitals Comment" on Saturdays. It's "Redskins' Report." Let's just be honest. Ovie is awesome. But this town gets excited about September to January. #1 player is Darrell Green, because Washingtonians love him and always will. Art Monk would be in the top 10. Sean Taylor is close because everyone loves a fallen hero, and he was a damn good player. But current athlete, it's Cooley, probably with almost 50% of the vote. Clinton is #2 because he's too whiny. Santana is #3. Gilbert Arenas isn't in the top 5 because he annoyed everyone last season. And best coach will always be Joe Gibbs. We're all willing to forget the past few years.

Posted by: sqweakie | August 28, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Although he isnt on an official roster Wiz Pr kid Daren Jenkins may be the most popular sports figure in DC just ask anyone they will say yeah I know him

Posted by: igotwork | August 28, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

sqweakie- Don't really agree. Yes football is the most popular sport but that doesn't mean the biggest star has to be a football player.

Posted by: rachel216 | August 28, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

so dominic10464, is your definition of DC, MSA, or the DC line?-using the dc line is nto the majority of the market.

Posted by: Max231 | August 28, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

As a white guy who lives in MoCo, I'd never presume to be an expert on what the D.C. African-American community knows or feels about Ovie and hockey. What I do know is that when I hear Ivan Carter on WPL say that he returned to his U Street neighborhood -- which he called a "black neighborhood" -- after Caps playoff wins, he saw people out celebrating, when I hear John Thompson say he was surprised by the number of excited text messages he received from fellow brothers after the Caps beat the Rangers, when Mayor Fenty says in an interview that he bought his twin sons Ovie jerseys for their birthdays, when I see an African-American student ask two guys wearing Penguins jerseys who won the game earlier that day and then start talking about how great Ovie is--I get the impression that "Chocolate City" definitely knows who Ovechkin is and why he's special.

It's definitely Ovechkin #1--and among kids, it's Ovechkin by a huge margin.

Posted by: TheFingerman | August 28, 2009 11:31 AM | Report abuse

This is a football town, but when the Redskins reach the 6-8 point, and the playoffs are out of reach, you have and will hear this at FedEx Field.."hey..at least we have the Caps."

This is a "what have you done for me lately," sports town.

Ovie is MVP, and the Caps are the talk of the town...The Redskins will easily get the crown back by doing one thing.."PLAYOFFS."

Lets hope both can do well.

Posted by: SA-Town | August 28, 2009 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Also..winning makes you feel good...when you have pride in your city, you full for all teams..

it doesnt matter if your black, white, red, green...you see people celebrate and do well, and you want to be part of the fun...Thats what Ovie and the Caps have going, and I would expect all types of people to tune in next year.

Posted by: SA-Town | August 28, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Here's the problem with you doing a poll from your blog - it's not enough of a sampling of the entire Washington fan base.

Jersey sales are nice and all, but there are a lot of us who are fans who don't buy jerseys.

Wouldn't it be great to have some kind of competition? A face off where all five are at different places at the same time and whoever draws the biggest crowd is the favorite. Because isn't "favorite" a measure of passion? If you are willing to get up off your butt to go somewhere to support a guy, that shows some love.


Posted by: LisainSilverSpring | August 28, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

1. Ovechkin
2. Cooley
3. Arenas
4. Campbell
5. Juan Dixon
6. Butler
7. Portis
8. Backstrom
9. Green
10. Olsen/Moreno

if Haynesworth and Orakpo have a good year they shoot way up. Sadly no Nats are even in the top ten.

Posted by: PindarPushkin | August 28, 2009 1:43 PM | Report abuse

What is it with all these dumb Caps fans? Ovechkin #1?? He's a european hockey player playing in a NFL football town that's mostly African -American. When Ovechkin finally figures out he plays for a real choking dog loser like the Capitals, he will ask to be traded and the Caps and their fans will crawl back under their rocks and the Verizon will empty out once again. The NHL and the Capitals aren't long for this town, just ask Caps owner Ted Leonsis how much money he has lost since 1999 ($100 million +) and is still losing, that's why he has been trying to raise ticket prices to get this team from the botton 1/3 of NHL teams in ticket prices to the middle. Skins never have these type of problems and any decent Skins player will always be more popular than any player on the Caps.

Posted by: skinsareking | August 28, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Fact: If the Capitals are in the playoffs, Ovie is the most popular player in town.

Fact: Once the Capitals are eliminated from the playoffs, Ovie moves out of the top 5 of most popular players in town.

Sorry, this is reality. Ovechkin isn't on most DC sports fans' radars the greater part of 300+ days of the year.

I would have to say right at this very moment, Chris Cooley is the most popular DC athlete and it's really not that close.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 28, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

What is it with all these dumb Caps fans? Ovechkin #1?? He's a european hockey player playing in a NFL football town that's mostly African -American. When Ovechkin finally figures out he plays for a real choking dog loser like the Capitals, he will ask to be traded and the Caps and their fans will crawl back under their rocks and the Verizon will empty out once again.

Posted by: skinsareking |
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

For his first two years here, Ovechkin played for "a real choking dog loser" of a team. And when his contract was up, what did he do? Hint: He didn't ask for a trade. He re-signed for 13 YEARS! Why? He likes the team AND the city.

Skinsareking, I'm afraid you'll have to deal with us "dumb Caps fans" for a long, long time.

Posted by: bagace | August 28, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

What's ironic about this question is that by far, Ovechkin is a more marketable athlete outside of DC. His jersey sells all over the world and who, other than DC area residents and football buffs, know who Chris Cooley is? Clinton Portis, maybe.

Posted by: AMD2 | August 28, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

anyone that doesnt say ovie by a landslide is kidding themselves. wake up and smell the coffee.

Posted by: ahbest3 | August 28, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ummmm I think that the Dead Skins are a little lucky Mike Green, Backstrom and Valamov arent up there to vote for. I think Greenie might be more popular than CP.

Oh and skinsareking, ummmmm eat it?

Posted by: numero94 | August 28, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Based on play Ovie and Varlamov 1+2 but, Varlamov's career is only about a month long. Cooley and Colt might be the most popular they even look alike. The man and minnie man. They may be too popular because of their looks. Cooley was like a 4th or 5th round guy a touch too slow for reciever. He has skill, he's filled out, but I'd bet money Shannon Sharpe would win the pose down, TODAY. Sharpe was a seventh rounder. Cooley's probably not that fast and could lose 20 lbs of soft weight. Forget the web page and hit the weight room.

Zimmerman is having a decent year which brings him up to above average for utility infielders. Chris Samuels, Portis, Sellers and even Rock warrant higher rankings. Hopefully Orakpo will break in like Varlamov.

Posted by: chavez66 | August 28, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

skinsareking,
great post. really chocked full of great facts. like the one about this town being predominantly african american. i suppose if you are talking about DC proper, but my guess is that the caps and skins draw most of their fans from md and va.

as far as losing money, thats pretty typical of the nhl given they dont have a big TV contract. wonder how much danny would lose if he didnt have all that tv money to bank on. and dont talk about ticket prices. my center ice seats to the caps are still less than my end zone seats at fed ex.

and skins dont have ticket sales problems..not when the steelers are in town i suppose. if they arent having problems why did i, a current ticket holder, get email after email and a LIVE phone call at work offering me additional lower level seats? danny is doing a great job at convincing folks that there is some massive waiting list so they wont give up their season tix (hey, i'm one of them). thats a sham and one day there will be blackouts in this town.

but keep thinking that ovie cant be the number one sports star in town. keep ignoring the reality. one day you'll wake up and realize you missed out on one of the great players ever to play in this town. the skins will most likely always have the most loyal following because of their history and the popularity of the NFL. but it wont take more than a few years of the ownership continuing to take its fan base for granted for the caps to come pretty close to being number one. hell, the nats could be there too...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 29, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

People like Barno and Skinsareking have their heads up their you know where. I've been a Redskins fan for four decades, but I can see that things are changing. Ovechkin is the kind of player who comes along once in a generation. We haven't had his likes here since Sammy Baugh. Ovechkin is the kind of player who brings people to a sport based on his sheer talent and magnetism. And if the Caps ever win the Cup, they will own the town. Now a lot of this has to do with Snyder being a terrible and greedy owner. But it is what it is and the Redskins, while still the big gorilla, are a lot less smaller than they used to be.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | August 30, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Ovie is the man. And I don't buy the black/white thing either. Dominance in a sport and winning transcend race. Brothers recognize the former and want to be associated with the latter just like anyone else. Would Ovie beat Arenas in a brothers only poll? Maybe not. But I bet he would do a lot better than some of the naysayers on this board suggest.

Posted by: poguesmahone | August 30, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

By the way, I would agree that the Skins are likely to always be number one. But they are still living off their 1980's legacy. If the Caps win a Cup or two, or the Nat win a series some day. Dan Snyder should start worrying.

Posted by: poguesmahone | August 30, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

for me personally, Gil, but I must admit, Ovie is popular because I am from DC and would never ever think of looking at a hockey game. I even bought a caps tshirt during the playoffs. And being from DC, I love the skins, Portis, Moss, Cooley, Campbell, Colt, etc (Lavar). Also, a poster above commented on young african american boys getting into hockey. I was shocked when i saw a little boy in my bldg going out to hockey lessons in full attire.

Posted by: washwiz | August 31, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

correction: (would have never thought of looking at hockey, until now, because of Ovie, the caps playoffs).

Posted by: washwiz | August 31, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The fact that Ovechkin is on so many people's minds in August says a lot! With season ticket plans sold out, the Washington Capitals organization has come a long long way during the past decade. I can see for myself that D.C. is becoming a "hockey town" though we will never take that title from Detroit, I have never seen so much Caps support around town!

By the way, I live in PG County and am proud to be a Capitals season ticket holder! I couldn't even name a single current player on the Redskins (though 20 years ago I could rattle them off!)

Posted by: HockeyChick | August 31, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

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