Michael Phelps is putting on an exhibition. Is there even any competition? Of course there is competition and there are great swimmers in the Olympics – which makes what Michael Phelps is doing incredible.
Add to that the fact that in 7 events, he has 7 gold medals and 6 new world records. Has anyone performed to this level of excellence? There have been great performances over the history of the Olympics but one would be hard pressed to find someone as dominant in their sport. Granted, some athletes (Kobe Bryant) don’t have multiple opportunities in one Olympics for multiple medals. Other athletes (Mark Spitz) competed in a totally different generation, Jesse Owens in a different epoch. So it wouldn’t really be a fair comparison. But what is he doing to the competition? Simply put, he is blowing them away.
What Michael Phelps is doing is nothing short of unbelievable. But believe it. Consider this. As I write, Phelps has 7 gold medals. There are only three countries, the United States, China and Germany, who have more gold medals than Phelps. (See here.) That is amazing. We’re talking countries, nations with millions of people. There are only 3 countries with more gold medals. He has more gold medals than 44 different countries. Surely his neck is hurting. So what countries have fewer? Well, that’s obvious but how about Australia, Russia, France, and Britain to name four. In total medals, he has more than 41 other countries listed on the board and he’s only 2 behind Great Britain. And he isn’t even finished. Remarkably, unless something changes, he potentially could tie Germany in the number of gold medals won. Currently, he has 7 (one with the team) of the United State’s 10 gold medals.
While it’s hard to compare Phelps across multiple generations and Olympics with past Olympians and come to a fair conclusion, many are crowning Phelps the best ever. Maybe he is, but it’s all opinion. No matter how you slice it, though, Phelps is, without a doubt, blowing away the competion and setting records like we’ve never seen before. Here’s to a great champion. You rock.