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The method I use to identify the 10 all time best athletes is a very simple.
From the Top 10 lists in the yearly statistics (Men 1891-2004, Women 1921-2004), the athlete in the first position receives 10 points, the athlete in the second position receives 9 points and so on down to the tenth position.
Athlete with the most points is the best.
The same method is applied to Olympic Games, World Championships, and European Championships.
The athlete in the first place receives 10 points, the athlete in the second place
receives 9 points and so on down to the tenth place.
 
 
Top 10 Olympic Games
Points
Robert Korzeniowski  POL  30   
Jared Tallent  AUS  27   
John Ljunggren  SWE  27   
Abdon Pamich  ITA  25   
Hartwig Gauder  GER  23   
Ronald Weigel  GER  17   
Denis Nizhegorodov  RUS  17   
Larry Young  USA  16   
Valentí Massana  ESP  15   
Evan Dunfee  CAN  15   
Christoph Höhne  GDR  15   
Top 10 World Championships
Points
Jesús Ángel García  ESP  50   
Robert Korzeniowski  POL  38   
Jared Tallent  AUS  29   
Valentin Kononen  FIN  25   
Trond Nymark  NOR  22   
Denis Nizhegorodov  RUS  22   
Sergey Kirdyapkin  RUS  20   
Robert Heffernan  IRL  19   
Ronald Weigel  GDR  19   
Yohann Diniz  FRA  19   
Top 10 European Championships
Points
Christoph Höhne  GDR  36   
Abdon Pamich  ITA  36   
Veniamin Soldatenko  URS  33   
Jesús Ángel García  ESP  33   
John Ljunggren  SWE  32   
Otto Barch  URS  30   
Yohann Diniz  FRA  30   
Robert Korzeniowski  POL  26   
Hartwig Gauder  GDR  25   
Peter Selzer  GDR  25