He disappointed no one. When
I think about what I have accomplished this past week of the Olympics, versus
what Michael Phelps has achieved, I
can hardly admire him enough. Me? I've answered questions, steered
inquiries, supported colleagues, and traded seemingly boatloads of pins.
Phelps? He swam 17 times in seven days, won eight medals, and launched
himself with authority into Olympic history. And, as we all suspected,
he really is a good guy, having bowed out of the 400-m medley relay final
in order to let teammate (and butterfly rival) Ian
Crocker have his shot. Phelps still gets a gold for that
U.S. win because he swam a leg in the preliminaries, but he wanted Crocker
to get in while the getting was good. And it was world record good,
which Phelps - sitting in the stands in shorts and a tee shirt rather than
a sharkskin swimsuit - cheered on like the rest of us.
And now we put swimming - and Michael Phelps - to rest as we move into
the second week of Olympic competition. Track and field rears its
fabulous head, as we eagerly await American Tom
Pappas to begin his quest for decathlon gold and look to see
if Mozambique's Maria Mutola
will defend her Olympic title in the 800m. Gymnasts will take to their
individual apparatuses as women's all-around gold medalist Carly Patterson tries to enlarge her medal
collection and Russian legend Aleksei Nemov
attempts to add to his career medal pile of 12. In team sports, the
elimination rounds begin. Look for the crack pitching combo of Jennie Finch and Lisa Fernandez to continue to lead the American
women to another gold medal in softball, and wait and see if Iraq's soccer
team can continue its Olympic magic as they face Paraguay in the semi-final
And don't forget modern pentathlon, taekwondo, triathlon, synchronized
swimming, wrestling, and so on. There's a lot of Games left - so get
your game on.
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