I'm not really pro- or anti-Olympics. I follow it about as much as I follow any other sporting event, which is to say mostly not at all, but with a few ratchet turns upwards for playoffs, Bowl Games, tournaments and the like.
I'm not really pro- or anti-Michael Phelps. I keep hearing about him on the news and just think, "Good for him...he's talented, he works his tail off, and he deserves all this respect, attention, love, etc."
A guy I work with, however, made what I thought was a really good point the other day, and though he's usually pretty negative in general, I heard him out and wound up agreeing with him.
"There's all this fuss about Michael Phelps being called the greatest Olympian of all time, greatest athlete of all time, etc. But he won this whole bucketful of medals for essentially the same thing. Other athletes might be just as good in their respective sports, but it's not like there's an 8-pound shotput, a 10-pound shotput, and a 12-pound shotput that each give someone the chance to win a gold."
Now, I realize there are different strokes involved in swimming, but still, I think he was onto something -- most Olympic athletes aren't even eligible for anywhere near that number of medals in the first place.
This is not to take away from Phelps' status as the greatest swimmer ever.
Nor is it to take away from his amazing accomplishment and reflection upon his country.
Still, I had to concede, the guy had a point.