03/22/2013 11:58 am ET Updated May 22, 2013

What Was the Greatest Personal Rivalry of all Time?

This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Alia Caldwell, Writer/Designer

In 1910, two explorers began an intense rivalry -- their quests to become the first men to ever set foot upon the southernmost point on earth.

The South Pole represented one of the last unexplored areas on earth. Robert Falcon Scott hoped to claim the bottom of the world for England; Roald Amundsen wished to plant the Norwegian flag there on behalf of his countrymen. Their race to the pole was epic.

Scott was the essence of rugged determination but Amundsen was the better tactician. Amundsen worked with dogs well suited to cold and snowy conditions while Scott used ponies that quickly perished. Amundsen wore furs, emulating Inuit attire; Scott wore heavy wool clothing.

Amundsen reached the South Pole first and returned home on a trip that was relatively smooth and straightforward. Scott arrived at 90 Degrees South only to experience the crushing disappointment of seeing one of Amundsen's flags flapping in the wind. He would never make it back; he and his four companions died of starvation, exhaustion, and exposure as they attempted to make the 700 mile return trip to their base camp.


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