you can say, Ali's the greatest boxer, Phelps the greatest swimmer and so on....But the Olympics is about one thing like I've said before...winning medals and no one can touch his 20...whether you guys like it or not or like to admit he's the best
You can't quanitfy the sheer number of medals with the greatest olympian ever. I can't imagine any sports writer throwing themselves out there with that claim. Sure he has a bunch of medals. That's a huge accomplishment, not going to take that away form him. However, saying he's the best Olympic athlete ever is like saying Sam Jones is the second best NBA player ever cause he has ten rings. I doubt anyone has ever heard of him before now. Phelps is a great athlete and maybe the best swimmer ever. That's a title he can claim and one that is fitting.
India recently declared dolphins to be non-human persons and deserving of specific rights. Next, they'll try to do the same thing for women.
My one homemade wood grilled ribeye bacon cheeseburger on artisan batard sourdough...trumps 16 McDonald cheeseburgers...lol.
Hec, there's a few things I disagree with and OF COURSE I'LL SAY WHY ... I mean did you guys just meet me or what?
One thing a lot of people who don't swim don't appreciate about swimming is it's really damn harder than they think, and the demands are different than other sports.
There was a lot of media guff about "Phelps didn't turn in great times during preliminary heats, etc" which is asinine because the preliminaries happen right before the actual heat - there's no rest period - nobody goes all in for a preliminary, they save it for the race... and there's no down time like other sports where you get a few hours between or even a few days to rest up - Olympic swimmers go all out, every competition and they do them back to back. It's exactly like running a sprint and then turning around and doing it again, trying to beat your time... sometimes several times an afternoon.
One difference though is when you get to Medleys, because you have to change strokes. There's no chance for you to get your swimming rhythm and find a peak speed, so it's much more demanding overall.
And the thing about Phelps not placing on the podium? That was the first time it had happened in like, twelve years - which is why you saw the push from him later. Not only that, but Ryan Lochte put in an amazing run. You have very few shots at the race he won in your entire swimming career. He looked at that one and really dug deep because basically, this was his only chance. He beat the world time record holder in that event by 3 seconds. 3 seconds in swimming is like, a score of 190 to 1 in a team sport. Most of this stuff is decided by hundredths of a second. Lochte finished, got cleaned up, ate dinner, and sat waiting while enjoying a nightcap for the number two guy to finish in swimming terms.
And yet... "Phelps labored to fourth" one reporter wrote. When Lochte met the press they asked him questions like, "Do you think this is it for Phelps?" like... nevermind that you just beat the world record holder by three full seconds, let's talk about what an amazing washout that guy who was 5 hundredths of a second behind him is...
And that's another thing. It's the swimmer and the pool. Rarely, almost never will you hear a swimmer come up with any BS excuse why they didn't come out first, because it is always only them. Phelps said he just wasn't the fastest guy in the water that day, which in swimming is good sportsmanship, and the reporters bent that around like sour grapes.
Careers are super short because swimmers age out very very quickly. Phelps is an old man by swim standards and the sport takes SMDM running down a cheetah kind of endurance. He picked up his 20th Gold, has the most medals of any athlete (yes, evah) and gets a lot of hate for what he does on his own time (honestly it's mostly for not obsessively practicing between seasons) but the fact that he is the guy who doesn't have to? It kinda makes him the Cassius Clay of swimming.
Like in Beijing, when his goggles filled with water, he couldn't see anything and swam blind but still knew where he was and when to reach for the wall because he's technical in a way that few other swimmers can be - he counts his strokes and knows his timing and where his body is going to be, how many strokes to get where... He's swimming in bullet time.
And Jesse Owens? Listen I'ma be just as quick as anybody to say that was an amazing moment. But Hitler being there only added textual overlay. You can't say "so and so" can't be the best Olympic pig-pong player because that loser never played in front of Hitler.
And I think even you would give it up for swimming before Ping Pong.
Now let's all have a burger.
Last edited by Tothiro; Aug 2, '12 at 7:31 PM.
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