August 17, 2008

Eight.: Phelps.

posted by Joey Michaels to other at 03:56 PM - 16 comments

+ 7 WRs and 1 OR

posted by kokaku at 04:50 PM on August 17, 2008

amazing. the man was born to swim.

posted by dviking at 05:08 PM on August 17, 2008

Yeah, don't know what to say... it was incredible, and the difference between Athens and Beijing was a couple of photo piezoelectric finishes in the pool that turned Silver into Gold.

It's a pretty amazing accomplishment, because while swimming certainly allows its best to compete in many events and rack up medal counts, doing so is taxing- how many times did we hear someone had to get out of the pool, go to the medal ceremony, run back to get a few minutes in the warming pool, and then hit the blocks for their next heat/semi/final? And to get that many Gold medals, when we see how good the competition is? If Phelps had run that Olympics 10 times, he might very well have come up short of his goal 9 of the 10 times, with people like Cavic and Cseh and the accursed French team surpassing him on races he won this time.

posted by hincandenza at 06:25 PM on August 17, 2008

Huh- the strike tag isn't allowed anymore, that was supposed to be a strikethrough on "photo" finish, since even when doing frame-by-frame on my DVR of the slo-mo replay of that finish, I couldn't be 100% sure when Cavic and Phelps' hands touched the wall- even on that slo-slo-mo replay, I'd have given them a tie for Gold based on the video. But I guess the touchpad is accurate, presumably to the millisecond at least. It was amazing though to see Cavic a couple of inches from the wall, Phelps a foot and a half back but his big long arms whipping through the air in his last half-stroke and just accelerating to the finish; watching frame by frame as Cavic is slowly gliding to the wall in that last inch and Phelps' arms are catching up, catching up...

And the video of his mom, wryly holding up two fingers as in "Second place", and the shock on her face as she sees her son won, collapsing into her chair. Or his coach and friends having that moment of dejection, followed by elation. So many great images...

8 Golds, 7 WR, 1 OR... and quite a few amazing races to watch. I didn't realize how truly exciting swimming could really be until I saw the 4x100 finish with Lezak, or the Cavic/Phelps race, or Torres missing Gold by the same margin as Phelps won it (she was all class by the way, including asking the officials to pause a race while a competitor rushed to replace her torn suit).

I think Cavic was wrong: Phelps winning has done a lot more to help the sport of swimming than his losing out on a Gold would have. How many people are going to be that much more interested when they see that ESPN or ABC are broadcasting some swimming competitions over the next 4 years?

posted by hincandenza at 06:32 PM on August 17, 2008

Great FPP Joey -- succinct and to the point!

Back in the 70's you could watch swimming on Wide World of Sports. Maybe now they'll bring back swimming on TV. and yep Cavic was wrong (unless it was his way of motivating Phelps to win).

posted by Monica Poland at 07:03 PM on August 17, 2008

i caught the late late night interview of Michael Phelps and Mark Spitz last night. Mark was super gracious and went on and on about how he admired what Michael had accomplished. Michael P. was also in awe of those who had gone before and considered them to be and to remain great Olympic champions. Two very classy guys.

I hear the pools and athletic clubs across America are seeing a huge surge of new memberships as young people want to begin their quests. Huge impact.

Cal Ripken sent a message and has asked Michael for his autograph!!!

How do you say lock for Male Athlete of the Year.

posted by Fly_Piscator at 08:25 PM on August 17, 2008

It was fantastic. I could barely watch the last leg of the last race.

Olympics question - why do they squeeze all the swimming events in, so that they are already over. Why don't they spread them out over the duration of the Olympics?

posted by bperk at 09:59 PM on August 17, 2008

why do they squeeze all the swimming events in, so that they are already over. Why don't they spread them out over the duration of the Olympics?

They need the pool for synchronized swimming.

posted by goddam at 10:55 PM on August 17, 2008

Funny, because eight is probably the number of substances he'll test positive for!

(Somebody had to burst the patriotic fervor.)

Seriously though, hell of an achievement. My olympics peaked with the womens cycling road race. I loved that, and I don't even like competitive cycling.

posted by Drood at 11:55 PM on August 17, 2008

As great as Phelps was, Usain Bolt gave me more wow and did it in under 10 seconds. Let's see them race, I want a swimming running combo. Run 100 yards and dive into a pool and swim 100. Make it happen, there are stranger Olympic events.

posted by tron7 at 01:34 AM on August 18, 2008

There's already the swim-bike-run of the triathlon. Women's is over, but Men's is tomorrow, I think.

posted by Jugwine at 10:34 AM on August 18, 2008

Here's what .01 seconds at the wall looks like.

In the previous photo from this sequence you can see how Phelps' fingers are pushed back from contact with the wall and in this blowup you can see that Cavic isn't quite there yet.

posted by offsides at 11:31 AM on August 18, 2008

Funny, because eight is probably the number of substances he'll test positive for!

Phelps is one of several US athletes who have voluntarily signed on for a special drug screening program that involves frequent and random testing. He did this realizing that his performance could potentially be questioned on the basis of being chemically enhanced.

posted by Howard_T at 10:22 PM on August 18, 2008

Howard_T - that officially seals Phelps as my favorite athlete of this decade.

posted by Joey Michaels at 04:32 AM on August 19, 2008

When Cal Ripken wants your autograph, the discussion is over (to me anyway). MP is one of the greatest athletes of our time, and his decision to submit to ALL testing is a testimony to a culture and objective that Cal could have easily passed. Two of the worlds greatest athletes together on the same page with no regrets and no secrets....wadda want??? seriously...what else is there?...I mean REALLY...Fishboy rules!

posted by knowsalittle at 01:43 AM on August 20, 2008

"Cal Ripken sent a message and has asked Michael for his autograph!!!" You knew Costas would work in a baseball reference. I feel like I should automatically say "greatest performance by an athlete in my lifetime" but I'm holding back for some reason. Eight golds and still something is missing a sense of weight. Still, Michael Phelps has brought the sport (the art?) of swimming into the conversation and I'n glad to see that happen.

posted by Newbie Walker at 02:23 AM on August 22, 2008

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