PHELPS: The G.O.A.T.?
Why is Phelps being criticized and looked down upon? This guy has more medals than anyone in the HISTORY of the OLYMPICS! Now I wouldn’t say he is the greatest Olympian because I believe that title belongs to someone who has influenced/ created a new culture, inspired a movement, and/or made people respect them. I would give the greatest Olympian title to Jesse Owens not only for his amazing feats on the track but because he caused a movement (his victory was more poignant and often noted because a certain German fellow had intended the 1936 games to showcase his “people’s” ideas and prowess). With that being said Michael Phelps is 1A when it comes to the greatest Olympians in my opinion.
However some may not feel he is the greatest due to his recent performances. They said he wasn’t pulling his weight, he looked slow and sluggish, and he doesn’t deserve to be in the finals for several races. Let’s think about this for a minute. The guy went through depression/other personal issues due to the pressure of fame and things of that nature. Yes, I understand that people should know that when you win/appear in events of this magnitude fame comes with it, but who is REALLY ready for the run around, fatigue, and the abundance of succubus that fame brings their way? Not many.
The guy has won (19) count em (19) medals and (15) of them are of the gold variety. How many people can say they even have A medal, let alone say that they even competed in the Olympics? He got 4th in one race and everyone was calling for his head. Phelps, his trainer and his competitors/teammates all said “he is out of shape.” Humor me for a second people. Let me get this straight he is admittedly “out of shape” and he is 4th in the WORLD?! That should either tell you something about yourself as a competitor or as a critic/spectator. Of course as a competitor anything less than 1st is irrelevant but he clearly is out of shape and he got 4th place in the WORLD; not at the county fair or state championship, 4th in the WORLD. I don’t know about you but as a spectator that means you’re pretty darn good, but as a competitor it means nothing except that you’re the 3rd loser.
One of the most impressive things about Phelps is his competitive nature. The way he destroys his opponents, yet he usually “cruises” into the finish line (wall) because he has such a large lead. Tuesday evening in his marquee event (the 200 Meter Butterfly; a race in which he hadn’t felt the sting of defeat in a major international competition in over 12 years) his lack of a killer instinct at the end of the race cost him big time. He led almost the entire race and as he closed in on the finish line instead of going for one more Butterfly stroke he eased himself to the wall and that cost him a gold medal. His competitor 20 year-old South African Chad le Clos did exactly what Phelps should have done, he fought till the end; and subsequently snatched the gold away from his idol (Michael Phelps).
Chad admitted he is Phelps’ biggest fan and beating him Tuesday night was “the greatest moment of my life.” One man’s nightmare was another man’s dream. Phelps obviously felt how excited the young man was and unlike in the past (where he would sulk in a corner if he lost) he smiled. During a recent review of the receipt of medals by Phelps and Chad le Clos, Phelps was shown on camera giving le Clos instructions on how to hold the Gold medal when posing for pictures and it was said he gave le Clos directions on where to go for the medal parade. That right there is why he is one of the greatest athletes and Olympians to ever walk this earth. When you are able to smile (knowing you are the best) after a loss that is the epitome of greatness. Brooding does nothing but hurt you in the end, but willingly helping others achieve their goals and also educating/showing them how to succeed (empowering them with the skills and knowledge you utilized to be the best) is the greatest skill anyone can have. Congratulations Mr. Phelps you are now a front runner for the title of the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Olympian of All Time).