Last Update: Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Phelps, History-maker, but History's Best? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Leicester, Associated Press   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 02:47


United States' Michael Phelps, center, competes in a men's 200-meter butterfly swimming semifinal at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Monday, July 30, 2012.

LONDON — Nineteen — say that again, nineteen — Olympic medals. All won by one man unlike any other. It simply defies belief. Imagine the space that much heavy metal takes up. Even more unimaginable is the effort it took to get them.

No one could disagree with the bedsheet unfurled by fans in the crowd that said: "Phelps greatest Olympian ever."

So thank you, Michael. Thanks for another milestone in human history. The simple words "Olympic record" didn't quite do justice to the achievement, which Phelps sealed and delivered in London, but which really was a monument to a lifetime of dedication to the goal of being the best one can be.

Sounds so simple. It's anything but.

For the first time in all of the hundreds of races he has swum, Phelps said he smiled to himself underwater in the last 20 meters of the 4x200-meter freestyle relay on Tuesday night that got him the medal — it was gold, yet another one — he needed to become the first Olympian in history with 19 medals.

"It shows that hard work does pay off," he said.

Trying to understand what it must feel like to be Phelps is beyond us. But those words of wisdom — seemingly so obvious, but so hard to actually execute — we could grasp.

Fifteen golds, two silvers and two bronze accumulated at three Olympics and — who knows? — perhaps as many as three medals more to come in London before the most successful swimmer ever gets on with the rest of his life, seeing for himself that there is more to the world than pools and hotel rooms.

"Four more years! Four more years!" shouted his supporters in the Aquatics Centre.

Please, for his sake, no.

The best of his 27 years bathed in chlorine.

God knows how many thousands of miles in the pool, how many cold morning swims growing up in Baltimore.


Resting on the laurels of 2008 in Beijing, where he eclipsed Mark Spitz's record with eight golds at one games, and staying on the golf course would have been so much easier than beating himself back into shape for London.

Phelps tried that. Kind of liked it for a while, too, packing on pounds and avoiding water.

But then he found the discipline and desire to mount one last Olympic campaign. Not as immaculately prepared as in 2008, but still good enough to get the three medals in London he needed to break the Olympic record of 18 — nine golds, five silvers and four bronzes — that Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina put together from 1956-64.

The first — the first silver of his career — came Sunday in the 4x100 freestyle relay, when the French got gold and payback for 2008, when the roles were reversed.

The second medal that drew Phelps level with Latynina was on Tuesday night in the 200 butterfly. The great competitor was furious that it was, quoteunquote, only a silver again.

Exactly an hour after tossing away his swim cap in disgust at that loss to Chad le Clos of South Africa, Phelps returned composed for the U.S. team's relay victory that put him on an Olympic pedestal alone.

The jaded will say he backed into Latynina's record, that Phelps winning one gold and two silvers so far in London is disappointing by his standards.

But he still had to get to London to put himself in a position to win them. That was a giant achievement when a life of lazy luxury could have been the tempting alternative. One that 99.9 percent of us would have chosen.

And, once here, Phelps still had to beat swimmers who since Beijing worked to get better to beat him. If anything, the mortality he showed in London only put his pure gold Great Haul of China into sharper perspective. It was truly epic. And epics can't come every time, even from Phelps. Otherwise, they wouldn't be epic.

"I thought the golds just used to come easy," said Bob Bowman, the coach who steered, yelled and shaped the hyperactive kid into a worldbeater.

"It underscores how difficult it is to win a medal of any color at this event, and it's getting harder and harder."

So Phelps is a history-maker, has been since he was a teen. And with the years, the history grew only bigger.

But history's best athlete ever?

People will say so. They'll point to the medals, the world records, the memorable swims in Athens, Beijing and now London that more often than not ended with the playing of the "The Star-Spangled Banner."

But there have been so many fabulous Olympians that to single out one, even one as unique as Phelps, suggests the others weren't so great in their own way.

Greatness isn't measured in medals alone.

Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and the indefatigable Paavo Nurmi, who won the 1,500 meters, caught his breath and then lined up 55 minutes later to win the 5,000 all on one day in 1924.

They were all pretty great.

So, too, was George Eyser, the American gymnast who won three golds, two silvers and one bronze at the 1904 Olympics with a wooden left leg, which replaced the one amputated after he was run over by a train.

And Abebe Bikila, the Ethiopian Imperial guardsman who won the 1960 Rome marathon running barefoot.

Or Lis Hartel, the Danish rider who despite being paralyzed by polio below the knees and having to be helped on and off her horse, Jubilee, won silver in dressage in 1952 and again in 1956.

And on and on.

You get the picture.

There's a whole human history born from the games.

Phelps is part of it, but not all of it.

But because he came back and completed the job in London that he started in Athens, he is a bigger part of that history than most.

"This has been an amazing ride," he said.

For us all.

John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press.

Last Updated on Thursday, 02 August 2012 02:52

Team members care for thousands of the region's sickest children with heart conditions, including fetuses, newborns, infants, children, adolescents, and adult, long-term patients with pediatric cardiovascular conditions. At Children's families experience coordinated, next-generation care, delivered by a compassionate, multidisciplinary team of leaders in the pediatric cardiology field. One of the largest pediatric cardiovascular programs in the region. Studies have shown that high volumes are associated with high quality and better outcomes, because experience is a major factor in quality of care. Wort was traditionally prescribed in parts of Europe for depression (in addition to use as a general-purpose tea), and Chinese medicine developed elaborate lists of herbs and preparations. With the scientific revolution in Europe and the United States, the use of traditional herbal remedies fell out of favor with the mainstream medical establishment, although a few people continued to use and maintain knowledge of traditional European herblore. In the early 20th century, scientists began reassessing this rejection of traditional herbs in medicine. Vorzüge eines intakten und lebendigen Gemeinschaftslebens bewahren. Dafür sorgen nicht zuletzt gut 120 lokale Vereine. Als wichtiger Faktor im Kulturleben haben sich die zahlreichen Museen und einige Kunstgalerien erwiesen. Descriptive and quantitative transcriptome analyses are important for interpreting the functional elements of the genome and revealing the molecular constituents of cells and tissues. It is known that sperm function can be affected by ASG proteins, including the processes of capacitation and the acrosome reaction, as well as canadian pharmacy accutane sperm motility, DNA integrity and interaction with the oocyte. BSPs (bovine seminal plasma protein, unigene 64,588 and unigene 69,768), fertilin (unigene 17,270 and unigene 27,136), ACE (Angiotensin converting enzyme, unigene 7,164 and unigene 21,069), GPX5 (glutathione peroxidase, epididymal secretory glutathione peroxidase, unigene15860), Spermadhesin-1 (Acidic seminal fluid protein, aSFP). The reproduction-related transcripts identified in the ASG and testis transcritptomes in E. This interaction of PDC-109 with the sperm cell membrane results in an efflux of cholesterol and choline phospholipids, that appears to be important for capacitation. The main changes in spermatozoa that occur during epididymal maturation are the ability to move, recognize and bind to the ZP, and to fuse with the plasma membrane of the oocyte.. Oct 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Augostinos, M. Relationship Between Acculturation and Mental Well-being Among Young Persian Women Living in Australia. Paper presented at the Educational Research conference, 18th November 2004, Adelaide, Australia. Ziaian T, Stress Management: an introduction of holistic coping strategies. A Four day Course for the higher degree students. Targeted molecular therapy for advanced epithelial ovarian cancer. Minimally invasive surgery for gynecological cancer. Pharmaceutical Sciences from Shizuoka College of Pharmacy (1976, Japan). He has completed his B. Prophylactic removal of nevi without clinically worrisome characteristics is not recommended. The reasons for this are practical: many individuals in these families have a large number of nevi, and complete removal of them all is not feasible, since new atypical nevi continue to develop. In addition, individuals with increased susceptibility to melanoma may have cancer arise de novo, without a precursor lesion such as a nevus. The disadvantages of screening include the limitations of available noninvasive testing methods and the risks associated with invasive screening procedures. ERCP is the gold standard for identifying early cancers and precancerous lesions in the pancreas..