The Legend Of: Micheal Phelps

This is the first installment of a series that I am calling the #TheLegendOf. I will cover world class sports figures that I have been able to watch and enjoy in my lifetime.

With the news tonight of Michael Phelps getting his 22nd gold medal, I thought starting with him would be fitting.

Darren Rovell put it fantastically in a recent tweet.

16 years ago, the 2000 Olympiad Michael Phelps splashed onto the scene (Sorry about that, I couldn’t help myself). He was a 15 year old kid that still had braces on his bottom teeth. He finish fifth place in the 200m butterfly.

His teammate and gold medal winner of that event patted Phelps on the back and told him, “The best is ahead of you,” according to “No Limits,” one of Phelp’s autobiographies.

I don’t think the man that beat him that day had any idea how much was still ahead of Phelps.

He is now the most decorated Olympian of all time.

He has the most overall medals, the most gold medals and the most individual wins of any competitor ever,  beating out Leonidis of Rhodes from 152 BCE. The previous 2168 year old record fell to our 6’4″ tall (but only 32 inch inseam) canoe of a man in 2016. Phelps has as more medals than 84 different countries. Morocco is tied with him at 22 gold medals and they have competed in 13 different Olympiads.

Phelps has a beautiful wife and adorable baby with him in Rio. He can walk away now and will be remembered as the greatest of all time and he should. There is nothing left to prove. No mountain to climb and nothing but the future in front of him.

Now, not to be a downer, but…

I would throw any of these accomplishments into the most unbreakable records of all time with Brett Farve’s career wins and Cal Ripkin’s Iron Man records. But the standout of them all is a young girl named Katie Ledeke.

That is how good she is. In an article that is meant to show the greatness of the best swimmer to ever walk on this earth; Ledeke has a shot to top her teammate Phelps and I will be writing an article about her legend in 16 years.

#TheLegendOf

#LongBall

Women Are Our Best Athletes

No burying the lead here. Our best Athletes are Women. Not Lebron, not Steph Curry, not Big Papi, Tom Brady or Gronk for all you New Englanders, or any other male athlete as far as I am concerned.

All the aforementioned athletes get to compete regularly in their sport against other top players, earn an unbelievable salary, get the best possible training, care and compete for championships year after year.  Women’s sports on the other hand, is grossly underrepresented compared to male dominated sports. Most or all female athletes make pennies compared to their male counterparts, likely don’t compete in well established leagues, and compete nowhere near as frequently.

Our female Olympians not only have to beat out their entire peer group just for the opportunity to compete at the absolute highest level, the Olympic Gold is only up for grabs every four years. Throughout these first few days of the Olympics all I have been able to think about is the intensity of the pressure all of our athletes face to bring home the gold, knowing you have to wait four years for that next opportunity if you fail. Then I think about the women working tirelessly to become the absolute best with no real stage between the Olympics to cement them as the best of the best in their chosen sport. That is a kind of pressure that is difficult to even comprehend.

Despite all of this, our US women are straight up clutch. Katie Ledecky, Lillian King, Kerri Walsh Jennings, the women’s Gymnastics and Soccer team and many more are down right dominant. This isn’t like our four major sports where you can lose a championship one year and compete again the following year. These women have to wait four years! For some, four years could push them beyond their prime and there is never another shot for them. To go out on the largest stage imaginable and dominate the way many of our women do, puts them head and shoulders above everyone else, especially Lebron (sorry I’m a Lebron hater).

#SportShorts

Rio is a disaster sure, but watch it anyway…

Every news outlet in the world has taken their shot at the upcoming Rio Olympics. The Olympic village is a disaster in a terrible part of town, the open water is a cesspool of disgustingness and the security of the events has been questioned from the start. Oh yeah, and Zika.

The other big issue interestingly enough that the media has not over covered is the Russian doping scandal. The fact that government officials are suspected to have helped the athletes avoid detection and some of the best competitors in the world will not be there is a big deal. If true, government involvement is the exact opposite of the spirit of the games.

Dispite this tweet:

Hope Solo actually feels the same way that I do. She is quoted in the Seattle Times as saying this:

“You look back in 2004 in Greece, and the same thing there, bad publicity surrounding the Games — and China (in 2008) as well,” Solo, 35, said. “I don’t know why, but we like to sensationalize everything and scare people and then … when the Games go on, everything goes on as planned, ends up being a beautiful tournament. And I expect no less here.”

The Olympic games are a celebration of human athletic achievement. The perfect mix of God given talent, combined with an unbreakable will and extraordinary work ethic. It is also the peaceful combination of cultures, all with a spirit of friendly competition.

Still, despite all of the negative press that has been given to this Olympic games, we should watch, and we probably will.

When the lights go on and the cameras roll, mankind’s best will be on display for the world. People that have dedicated their lives to something and given them purpose, in many cases their entire lives, have a one month long competition to live out their wildest dreams.

NBC will put on a show. Bob Costas will share insights of unbelievable feats accomplished and Herculean obstacles overcome by some of the athletes to have just made it to arrive in that one moment in time. Will Olympic regulars like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt rise up on the biggest stage and continue to impress or has father time slowed them down?

Who will emerge as the next big star like Gabby Douglas four years ago or Mia Hamm back in 1996.

I hope to catch a few of the highlights as the USMNBT beats every team by 20 points or more, without Steph Curry or Lebron James on the roster. I hope to see Jordan Burroughs (@alliseeisgold) dominate US wrestler standing on a podium and then step off on his way to a lucrative UFC fighting contract. I hope to see the US at the top of the Gold Medal count and hear the Star Spangled Banner played nonstop.

When the torch is lit and the games are played, you will forget about the stories of the dorms and the quality of the water for a handful of events and you will marvel.

So watch the Olympics and support these athletes, it is the American thing to do.

#LongBall