Posted tagged ‘swimming’

Greatest Olympian ever?

August 20, 2008
Is Phelps the “Greatest Olympian ever”, as has been described in a number of newspapers and on the BBC?  Sure, the guy has broken the record for most Gold medals won in a single Olympics, but it doesn’t make him the best ever.  No where near..

What’s really bugged me about the Olympics, ever since I began following it, was how in swimming a guy or girl can win several medals just by being a VERY good swimmer.  Sure they are different strokes and distances, but why is it that at the last three Olympics, a guy has taken home a haul of several medals?  Is it right that they can compete in as many races as they want when other athletes like sailors have to work for a full week for the slim chance to win a single medal?  Also, 1 gold medal means the world to a sailor, but does this look like a man who’s excited to have just won a gold medal?

I’m not taking anything away from Phelps, he is the best swimmer of all time, no doubt about that.  But it’s just a shame that he can win so many medals when other sports have to battle for weeks for the chance to win a single one.

Secondly, I feel it’s a huge shame that in some sports a country can have many entries to each event, yet in sailing only one guy from each country can go.  Yes, I understand that it is to increase worldwide competition and to prevent team racing, but there are sailors out there who are in the top 5 in the world who will NEVER go to the games!  Yet we have British track and field athletes who have been quoted this Olympics saying “I’d like to see if I can reach the Semi-finals..”!  This hardly seems fair!  If they are not good enough for a medal, Team GBR shouldn’t fund them, unless they are young.  Surely the best athletes in the world should get to compete?

Back to the greatest Olympian.  Phelps is not him, not after only 2 Olympics. No way.  If he ever wins golds in 5 Olympics, like Sir Steve Redgrave, THEN he will be worthy of the honor, but this won’t happen, and Steve Redgrave will remain at the top of the pile for decades to come.  Winning golds in 5 consecutive games, whilst managing with diabetes, in an endurance sport, is just plain incredible.  Sir Steve Redgrave is the greatest Olympian of all time, and no over-the-top media claims will ever change that.