We've never met, but I am a big fan.
I just watched you swim your last Olympic race tonight. It was the men's 4x100m medley. You swam the butterfly after taking over for Ryan Murphy and Cody Miller. Nathan Adrian finished the race for you. You got a gold!
It seems like whenever I watch you, I see you get a gold medal. I'm not complaining or anything; it just has me conditioned to assume you always win golds. Yesterday when you won silver, I was almost relieved! He is human!
It has been a joy to watch you race these past 16 years. Well, I only remember you for the past 12, but it was a joyride all the way. In Athens there were rumors you were good enough to break Mark Spitz' record of gold medals in one Olympic Games. You didn't, but by the end of the swimming week people were already asking you about Beijing.
Beijing was incredible. They made the semi and final races in the morning in Beijing so everyone in North America could watch live in primetime. Do you know how unorthodox that is? And with all of that rigmarole, you still won eight gold medals! How the heck did you live up to those insane expectations?!
I wasn't expecting too much in London, but you still managed to snag five gold medals while not being in the best shape physically and mentally. But even when you insisted you were done with Olympics, I shouted at you (well, at my TV screen), "No you're not. See you in Rio."
I was right, and I wasn't surprised. You came back in great shape and with a new mindset. Honestly, this Olympics has been a thrill to watch, and you're one of the reasons for that. You're happy, joking around, having fun with interviews, serious about your races, and embracing everything and everyone.
You've had your downfalls, as we all have. Yours were in the spotlight, and you managed to find that strength to get you out of your darkest times. Things might still be tough in the future, but remember where you've been and what you've done, and you'll find your way.
It's been great following you all these years - we've gone through ups and downs at nearly the same times (we're the same age, FYI). A lot of my passion for the Olympics has come from watching you; you're a great ambassador for sports and swimming.
Your races were all over the place. You won handily, you won by hundredths of a second, you finished in a tie, you lost, you got silver and bronze, you won with teammates, you won by yourself. Fans ran the gamut of emotions just watching you do your job!
Blessings on your future work, whatever it may be. I look forward to seeing you in the stands at future Olympics, watching everyone freak out around you because "It's Michael Phelps!"
- Today's roundup:
- track and field
- men's tennis
- beach volleyball
- men's badminton
- men's trampoline gymnastics
- skeet shooting
- Why in the world to officials require runners to wear those number stickers on their legs or pants? I know they mark the lane of the athlete, but it always falls off during the race and seems like a big bother to the runners. Can't we think of a more technological way to make sure the runners go to the right lanes?
- The field events have been nothing less than thrilling. The women's shot put, men's discus, and men's long jump medals all were decided by final round attempts. I found the men's long jump tonight to be especially exciting, and am so glad I didn't have to wait till the 1-minute review of the event at 11:55pm on NBC. The live stream was much better for that! #trackandFIELD
- Many of the field events on the live stream have the current gold/silver/bronze placeholders identified by colored strips on the field. I love love love love love that! It really makes it easy to follow. We certainly have come a long way from that hockey puck streak 20+ years ago.
- I got to watch the end of the Del Potro/Nadal men's tennis semifinal today, and that was really exciting, too! I wasn't rooting for one athlete or the other; it was the thrill of the game that made it fun to watch. It was back and forth the whole final set!
- Most people disagree with my favorite name of the Olympics, and claim that China's Dong Dong has the best name. I respect their opinion, but disagree.
It's late and I gotta get to bed. I'll be back in the swing of things for tomorrow's blurb. Make sure to watch the airing of the women's marathon Sunday morning!