Phelps Has More Gold Than the Pharaoh’s…And He’s About to Get More?
As we all know, Michael Phelps is the ‘IT’ man when it comes to swimming. In fact, next to Aquaman, no one in this world (or any other) can race through the pool water like a fish on speed. Well, here comes that time again where everyone else may just have to sit on the sidelines (or, pool-lines) and watch the magic man once again go to work and steal all the gold medals right out from under them. Or, will he?
It has been eight years since Phelps got into that pool (on a professional level), and yet he is still the one who everyone has their eyes on to provide the most spectacular show in Merry Old London for the upcoming Olympic Games.
The U.S. trials have been a cake-walk for this guy. On Sunday night he once again pulled it out and won the 100-meter butterfly to gain yet another spot – so, five individual races and three relay races WILL feature Phelps.
But there are a lot of people out there who are quietly hoping that Missy Franklin will be the one to bring down the mighty king of swimming. In fact, she is excepted to have a lane in three relays, which would allow her to become the very first American woman (she’s only seventeen-years-old, by the way) to swim seven events in a single game. Phelps will show in eight – which, of course, seems to be his lucky number.
But, yes…age DOES matter. People watching Phelps this weekend saw that the man is now a man, and a bit slower than the boy everyone cheered for. But even though he made the end turn ‘sitting’ in sixth place, he did end up with a powerful end of the race surge (reminding me of I’ll Have Another in the world of horse-racing), and won. But even Phelps commented that the stellar teen, Franklin, has more stamina, agility and speed than the rest of the older fogies now, so Phelps and crew will really have to watch out because the teen sensation may just be the one who comes home with seven gold medals while the rest of the U.S. team have to settle for silver or bronze or (gasp!) nothing hanging around their necks.
Now, to catch you up. Phelps is the holder of a record-setting eight gold medals won four years ago and the races he faces this time around will be the exact same ones. But there is so much more medal power where Phelps is concerned. This is a man who has won sixteen medals total; when you put the Olympic games of Beijing and Athens together you come up with fourteen gold and two bronze for the Phelps name. Phelps, of course, still holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics when he was in Beijing in 2008 which, amazingly, surpassed Mark Spitz’s record who most said would never ever been broken.
But now…as we step away from ‘only’ the Olympic games the number of medals becomes even more staggering. When adding in World and Pan Pacific Championships, you have an unprecedented list of sixty-six medals that include, fifty-four gold, nine silver and three bronze! Exactly! If he ever becomes short on money he can definitely melt some o those bad boys down and still get to Rio to have a good time!
Phelps has also used his fame and fortune for good things, too. His foundation actually promotes swimming as well as shows people how to have a healthier lifestyle. He even makes sure that his own system is tested for performance-enhancing drugs regularly to prove to children with a dream that you CAN be GREAT by eating right, exercising, and having faith in your abilities.
Phelps has always loved the water; he began swimming at the age of seven and even though various ‘issues’ would crop up in his personal life (his parents divorced; he was diagnosed with ADHD, etc.) he continued to utilize swimming as an outlet for his problems and hone his skill and talent to one day become the ‘best of the best.’
It was actually in the year 2000 that Phelps became the youngest boy to make it on to the U.S. Olympic swim team when he was only fifteen-years-old. And still at only fifteen, he went on to break the WORLD record as the youngest man to ever win the 200-meter butterfly. One year later, he broke the 400-meter, and then went on to break his own record in the 200-meter to become the World Champion.
To list everything – every triumph, every medal, every record, championship, etc. – would take a hundred pages to say the least. Phelps proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was no one better at this sport than he. Yet, it will be interesting to see the next crop of teens – the next generation who seem to be grabbing the headlines away from Phelps – compete in London.
Phelps has said that his goal is to ‘give’ the perfect race. Frankly, as a fan, I would have to say he’s already shown a perfect race many times over. And as long as he doesn’t wear all those medals around his neck while he’s swimming – which will really weigh him down – he should be able to pull out at least some gold medals this time around. However…something is whispering in the background about Ms. Franklin and others…
Phelps, who will always be the ‘Pharaoh of the Gold Medals’ may just see some other ‘stars’ shine brighter in the foggy London atmosphere very soon.
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