Sunday, August 17, 2008


Good Men Who Just So Happen to be Olympians - Phelps' audacious dream completed in Beijing#phelps+audacious+dream+completed+beijing#phelps+audacious+dream+completed+beijing: "'The shame of it,' Hansen said a moment later, 'is that other athletes are not going to realize how hard what he did is.
'The world is fast at swimming now. The world was not fast when Mark Spitz did his seven.
'It's every part of sport,' Hansen said of the range that Phelps displayed here. 'It's endurance. It's strength. It's pressure ... he made the pressure putt in the U.S. Open, he won the Tour de France and he knocked out the best fighter in the world in the 16th round with an uppercut.
'He did absolutely everything sport is supposed to be and he did it with a smile on his face, and he's a good kid.'"

His teammate, Brendan Hansen, appropriately deferred the attention to Phelps just moments after the historic relay win. Of course, each of his teammates had an interest in this kind of press for their sport, because they are keenly aware of just how little airtime and ink the sport gets in comparison to nearly all others. However, it does not really matter why Hansen said what he said. What is important is that this does appear to be the kind of feat he describes. He did not say it in a jealous, uncertain or bitter way. He simply stated that the kind of preparation that goes into setting world records, one by one, and beating the best in the world race by race in this way should be included in the conversation for the best sports moment of all time. And indeed, he did this without saying the dramatic part of that, "the best sports moment of all time". It was also uplifting to see how genuinely excited each of these other men, to include the teammates from the two other relays, appeared to be to see Phelps realize his dreams. In contrast with the whiny weightlifter who threw his medal, only to have it rescinded, this too can make Americans proud. It simply felt good to live vicariously through these men last night. And to them, I give my sincerest thanks.

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