Sunday, August 17, 2008

Olympics: A "Phelpsian" Effort and a Bolt of Lightning

I was one of the 60+ million who watched the Olympics Saturday night. We all knew that we were witnessing history in the making with Michael Phelps and his teammates, as they put the finishing touches on their world record relay and boosting the US overall medal count to 54 (+7 over China). Phelps and his group have given us a look into the world of the "physiological phenom." As the result of their 8 races (3 relays and 5 individual races by Phelps) they came away with 7 world records against some great competition - like the Aussies. Phelps efforts was simply "Phelpsian" which I'm sure will become a new word. But the thing you gotta love about Michael is he knew a TEAM effort had to happen in all the relays for him to reach his goal of moving ahead of Mark Spitz and winning a mind-boggling 8 gold medals. He needed the help of those teammates in the relays...and he got it!

"If Michael Phelps were his own country he would rank third in gold medals ahead of Russia." (Boston Globe).

Following the swimming events we then had track and field to check out and the race to determine the fastest man in the world. American Tyson Gay did not make it into the finals but American Walter Dix did and had a chance to medal. The speedy Jamaicans placed three in the finals including former world record holder Asafa Powell. But the man to watch was Usain Bolt - all 6'5" of him. He blew away the competition in the prelims and the finals was simply beautiful to watch. He beat his world record that he set in May by 0.03 seconds. The crazy thing was once he knew he was ahead he actually slowed down with about 20 meters remaining and still ran a "Phelpsian" 9.69 and one of the analyst said it would have been a 9.59 if he ran hard to the finish line. I personally think this guy can run a 9.5 and it's hard to imagine he is new to running the 100m. American Dix ended up with the bronze and he and Gay have something to look forward to in racing against Bolt.

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