Why Michael Phelps Is The Best Olympian Ever
There are many naysayers that claim there were others greater. Or that Phelps didn't train hard enough or that he has a natural gift. Or that he partied too much after the last Olympics. Or that he got caught smoking pot. But you know what? He still came back, got his act together, and kicked serious Olympic butt and competed to win 6 medals in this 2012 Olympics.
The man has all the requirements of the greatest ever. First, he has longevity. He has competed in three Olympics winning 8 medals in 2004, 8 gold medals in 2008 and 6 medals in 2012. Second, he has the numbers. He has more medals than anyone ever-by four. He is not a one trick pony. Phelps swims all four strokes at multiple distances and wins in all of them-at least top 3-in the world.
And yes, Phelps physical features have helped. the man has an unusually long torso, wingspan, hands and feet which have propelled him to look to swim easier and smoother and cleaner than anyone else. But having a daughter that is a competitive swimmer, I know better. Swimming involves a lot of natural talent for sure, bt the hard work and intricacies of each stroke, in defining how each one can improve by just than 1/100th of a second define the hours, days and years, that Phelps has spent defining perfection in his craft.
The man has worked hard as have many swimmers. Yet here Michael Phelps stands, with 22 Olympic medals. It almost seemed unbelievable even to those racing with him. After his final relay, when reporter Andrea Kremer asked his relay team what they thought about Phelps getting his 18th gold, 22nd Olympic medal, I believe it was Brendan Hansen, who just looked at him and went, "wow". Even to his own US Swim team, what Phelps has accomplished is beyond reason. It is truly superhuman.
I wasn't sure he had it in him this time around. Didn't sound like his heart was completely in it. But the reality is, Phelps did what no one before him has done. He won more medals than anyone ever has or may ever do again. And that is why he must be called the Greatest Olympian of all Time. It was an honor to watch you Michael Phelps.