The Greatest Olympian

Photo: SI

Michael Phelps completed the unthinkable last night, winning eight gold medals in a single Olympics to surpass Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven gold medals in one games. Phelps swam 17 races, won 8 gold medals, and set seven world records. He won one of the closest races of all-time, when he snuck in front of Milorad Cavic at the last moment to beat Cavic by .01 seconds. He watched Jason Lezak complete on the greatest comebacks in swimming history to keep Phelps’s hopes of eight gold medals alive. He has secured the title of Greatest Olympian of all-time. Some are even asking if he is the greatest athlete ever. Phelps’s accomplishments at this Olympics go past the unreal, past dreamland, and into the absolutely unimaginable.

Only Mark Spitz knows what Michael Phelps is going through. When you swimming 17 races at full speed in 10 days, conduct countless interviews, and get mobbed by fans everywhere you go, life must very tiring. Phelps pushed through though. He carried a smile at all times, except before races when he walked out headphones in his ears and a stern, concentrated look on his face. He may need a couple weeks off before getting in the pool again, but I don’t think so. With someone like Michael Phelps, he lives for he water and no amount of pain is going to keep him away from that liquid bliss. Will he back in 2012? Yes. Now I can’t say that for certain, but I cannot imagine a situation other than injury that would keep Phelps away from the 2012 games. Continue reading “The Greatest Olympian”

Phelps Dream Still Alive

Photo: ESPN

It one of the most improbable, amazing, and utterly incomprehensible comebacks in not just the history of swimming, but the history of swimming, US swimmer Jason Lezak kept Michael Phelps’ dream of eight gold medals in one Olympics alive Monday morning. It was the final of the 4 x 100 meter and Phelps was going for his second gold medal of the Olympics. Many forecasted that this would be the race that would stand between Phelps and history. The US team consisted of four world-class swimmers in Phelps, Lezak, Garret Weber-Gale, and Cullen Jones. Phelps led off for the US team, but when he finished his 100 meters, the United States sat in second behind a strong showing by Australia. As Weber-Gale finished off his 100 meters, the US had taken the lead by a slim margin, with the French coming on fast. Then came Jones, who lost significant time in his swim and left the US with almost no chance at gold.

Lezak entered the pool six-tenths of a second behind French swimmer Alain Bernard, who had stated earlier that the French were going to “smash” the Americans. The fast swimmer in the world at the 100m freestyle and with a big lead, Bernard was all but certainly going to make that promise come true. Bernard even began gaining ground on Lezak until he was a full body-length ahead of him, an insurmountable distance in swimming. Then, like a switch was turned on, Lezak started to fly. Bernard tightened up and the arena grew louder with people muttering “could he actually do this”. Ten meters to go and Bernard still held a significant lead on Lezak, but Lezak was not about to give up. He continued gaining ground and reached his hand out to the wall as far as possible, touching it just eight-hundredths of a second before the Frenchman, giving the US the victory. Lezak and his teammates erupted, screaming at the top of their lungs and pumping their fists into the air. Phelps was ecstatic, realizing that he had just won gold in his toughest event and the path was now clear for him to make history. Continue reading “Phelps Dream Still Alive”

The Olympics Begin

Photo: Boston.com

With an unprecidented, magnificent opening ceremonies, China has officially opened its doors and let the world enter into Beijing for the Summer Olympics. The show that the China put on will forever live as the greatest opening ceremonies in the history of the Olympics. I just don’t see how any city, any country, anyone could possibly top last night’s performance. It was truly magical. And I would expect nothing less from the Chinese, who are determined to prove that they are not a corrupted, evil empire, but a just, skillful country. Though everyone who saw the lighting of the Olympic Torch was no doubt left in awe, it won’t be as easy to convince the world that China is just. My question is: Are the Olympics the place to share political opinions and uproot years of planning with protesting?

The Olympics are designed to bring the world together for two-plus weeks of incredible events to showcase the greatest athletes in the world and the incredible sportsmanship and respect that exists between those athletes. It is for the four athletes from Malawi to show that their country has pride and passion. It is for Michael Phelps to win nine gold medals and the United States Basketball team to reclaim gold. But most of all, it is for the Chinese to take the world by storm. China has spent four years and millions of dollars developing a strategy and training athletes so that when all is said and done at this year’s Summer Olympics, they will be left holding the most medals. Continue reading “The Olympics Begin”