My favorite event to watch in the 2008 Beijing Olympics? Hands and flippers down, it's Michael Phelps. Can I give that Man-Fish a Holla? In the short span of eight days I have been captivated by his swimming and all of its intensities. The two Olympic events that stick out the most in my mind, like two sharks in a sea of fish, are Hermann Maier (Austria) at the 1998 Nagano (Japan) Olympics performing candidly an unbelievable crash, and the American relay team win the 2008 Beijing (China, in case you live in a hole) Olympics 4x100 Freestyle Relay. If you have not seen the 4x100 Freestyle Relay, you had better have a good excuse; the only appropriate one that comes to mind is if while trying to get to a comfortable standing postion in front of the television (you can't sit through something like that), you got attacked by a pack of javolinas with leprosy and you tripped over the TV and bent the electric plug. I would relate my feelings of that night and watching that victory to the feelings I had watching the Red Sox win the 2007 World Series. I had shortness of breath, a tingly feeling in my spine and left arm, and it felt like an elephant was standing on my chest. When Lezak jumped into the pool and swam the first fifty meters well behind our friends in France, I was worried. Even the announcers, who were screaming, spoke askance about America's chances at catching the wine-and-cheese swim club: "I just don't think they can do it, Dan" [NBC announcers as soon as Lezak jumped in the pool]. But then, out of the misty water and halfway through his leg of the relay, Lezak opened up a can of something and just let loose! (I really wanted to use some stronger words there but I think it would have detracted from the overall feeling of the blog.) BAM! Lezak stormed through the water like a bat out of Hades and caught and then surpassed the French! It was incredible! By less than .1 of a second he turned up the heat, overcame the defecit and won the GOLD MEDAL! It was the greatest Olympic moment in at least ten years, easily.
And then, when I thought I had seen enough swimming, Phelps brought me back to my senses. "Shame on you David" he said via satellite phone from the Olympic Village. How sweet was his gold medal in the 100 meter Butterfly? When he overcame Cavic in the last 5 meters my mom called him a tiger and my dad called him a geneticaly-engineered-wonder-fish-man (or some variation of adjectives similar to those). That was nuts! How does he do it?! He is a Tiger! His last stroke in the fly race-while Cavic kept his arms extended-was a true showing of Man verse nature and for once, Man won. Michael Phelps, I take my hat of to you. You are an inconceivably brilliant swimmer and a fierce competitor. I would not want to be in a dark pool with you though.