Sunday, August 17, 2008

Best Olympian Ever or Beneficiary of Circumstances?

Okay, I get it. Mike Phelps is a great swimmer. Probably the best in the world right now. But with the breaking of Mark Spitz’s record there’s the claim that Phelps is the best Olympian ever. He might be…but what are we basing that on? I’m not even 100% sure what that means. Does it mean that Phelps is the best athlete that’s ever competed in the Olympics? I mean if the Olympics are the hallmark athletic event and you’re being dubbed the best Olympian ever I guess that means you’re the best athlete right?

Its clear that Phelps is a freak of nature and has completely bent his sport over and had his way with it. However, if I was an athlete either competing in this Olympics or in the past I’d be friggin’ livid about dubbing Phelps the best Olympian ever. Lets see, Phelps has a record 8 gold medals which means he’s had at least 8 chances (actually he swam 17 times so he had 17 chances!) to medal. What if you make the Olympics as a soccer, hockey or baseball player? Last time I checked you only win one medal for winning those events.

I’m not all that well versed in the arts of swimming but I get that for Phelps to win 8 medals he has to use different skill sets in each race. But isn’t baseball a five tool sport? Don’t all sports require a variety of athletic ability? You don’t also get a gold for most home runs hit or most bases stolen. If you did it might level out the playing field if you’re basing the title Best Olympian Ever solely on medal count.

I guess we should just give Phelps the limelight for the next 5 days. After all what’s really out there for him when he comes home? Being the spokesperson for USA swimming? Baseball, football and basketball are so big in this country the NHL can barely keep its head above water so I don’t think swimming has a chance in hell of getting a piece of the pie. Also, how often are we really going to talk about Phelp’s accomplishment…..2 weeks? A month…. maybe? How often did you hear Mark Spitz’s name until a week before the Olympics?

So in closing well done Mike Phelps. You definitely killed it this Olympics. I’m not ready to give you the title of Best Olympian Ever BUT I hope you can leverage this performance into getting some poon so you can stop slobbering all over your gross sisters and mom. I’ll look forward to watching highlights of your performance every four years.