Michael Phelps is an American Swimmer. That felt good to type – and it is sweet music to American Olympians. His story is remarkable. Some questions are posed because of changes in the technology of swim wear and the configuration of the pool in Beijing – we’ll get to those issues in a moment – first a little background on Michael Phelps. I am watching Phelps compete as I type – and will post the moment the race is over.
HE HAS DONE IT! Michael Phelps has TEN individual Gold Medals!
“Born in Maryland on June 30, 1985, Michael Phelps started swimming when he was seven years old. At the tender age of 15, he placed fifth in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2000 Olympics, where he was the youngest male to compete in the games since 1932. At the 2001 Spring Nationals in the United States, Phelps became the youngest man ever to break a world record in swimming, at the age of 15 years and 9 months. Phelps also became the first swimmer in history to break five individual world records at one meet, at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.
Phelps won the Sullivan Award in 2003 as the top amateur athlete in the United States. He currently holds the world records in the 200-meter butterfly, the 200-meter individual medley, and the 400-meter medley.
At the Athens Olympics, Phelps hoped to match — or top — the record of 7 gold medals that Mark Spitz set at the Munich Olympics in 1972. He came up just shy, winning 6 golds and 2 bronze medals. His total of 8 medals in one Olympics tied the record set by Aleksandr Dityatin in the boycotted 1980 games.”
Back to the present – The Olympic pool in Beijing is nine feet deep, has and extra lane on the sides, and has special gutter or grates – all designed to minimize surface turbulence. It works. World records are falling at the fastest rate in history. So some challenge the merits of Phelps achievements. The reality is that all of the swimmers at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing have equal advantage. Phelps’ competition is swimming in the same pool, wearing the same high tech swim wear. Phelps is blowing away the field of his contemporaries. And that is the only measurement that counts.
We in America are extremely proud of this young man.