“Like Tiger Woods in a Speedo”

Those, of course, were the words of Bob Costas or one of NBC’s commentators during the Olympic swimming events after Phelps won gold earlier in the games, comparing Woods’ dominance in golf to Phelps’ in the pool.  With his eighth gold medal in hand as of tonight, maybe the phrase should be adjusted to call Tiger Woods Michael Phelps on land.

Historically, I have never watched much of the Olympics and I never really had any interest in these games until the captivating opening ceremonies.  I had gotten my Sports Illustrated Olympic preview and honestly didn’t read it.  I didn’t care about Michael Phelps, or any other Olympian for that matter (aside from a tiny interest in the men’s basketball team).

My roommates, however, were excited for the games and it was on tv at our house all the time, so I had no choice but to watch it.  After watching Phelps capture his first gold medal in the 400 Individual Medley, I was very impressed with how he destroyed the competiton.  I mean, the other competitors didn’t stand a chance.  The dominance didn’t stop there, in all his individual races aside from his 100 meter butterfly where he won by .01 seconds, Phelps put forth an effort that did not give any of his challengers a chance.  He smashed world records in seven of his eight gold medal races and in the race where he didn’t get a world record, he set a new Olympic record.

What an impressive athlete.  It was nearly impossible to go to the Olympics and swim several miles in the pool during the week which eclipsed 15 races.  Nonetheless, Phelps lived in the pool this week.  According to NBC all he did was “eat, sleep, swim.”  In my lifetime, I don’t think I have seen a more dominant performance in anything. When Phelps dove into the pool, viewers knew he was going to win, it was just a matter of by how much.

Getting back to the Tiger comparison, Tiger is the most dominant golfer in the world and he wins a lot over a few years.  Phelps, win a lot in a week.  Everything he did was in one week.  That is impressive.  He’s also only 23 years old.  With eight gold medals in Beijing and 14 gold medals overall (16 medals total), he is arguably the greatest Olympic champion that there ever was.  It was exciting and a joy to watch.

Watching Phelps got me into the Olympics.  I have watched beach volleyball, gymnastics, basketball, synchronized diving, cycling, badminton, and other sports I would never have ever planned on being interested in.  This is sport at its highest and most pure form.


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