Sports Briefs: Swim Phans


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Chris: After collecting the most medals (22) and most gold medals (18) of any Olympic athlete in history, Michael Phelps can now claim the title of “Olympian Most Likely to be Featured on an Episode of ‘Hoarders.’”

Ralphie: I think he is the greatest Olympian ever. Winning more gold medals than any other Olympian in history is a really big deal, and I think it proves that he is the greatest Olympian ever. 

Joe: Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympic athlete ever in swimming. That's all because you can never compare generations, not in boxing, cycling, football, baseball, basketball or even swimming. But you can award him the superlative honor because of his endurance and awards and world records in his chosen sport.

Brad: I think he is determined, and I think he is a good swimmer. Being an Olympian is more than just having the most medals, whether from one Olympics or from all time. It involves what kind of person you are, along with how hard you train. How you treat other people. What kind of life you lead. Do we really consider someone who has definitely used drugs while being in a role model setting the greatest Olympian ever? Is there not any better choice than that? I am not saying he didn't turn his life around and redeem himself, I just don't think he is the greatest ever. He is, however, the holder of the most medals.

Chris: Phelps also gives me an insatiable desire for Bugles and Cheetos. (I just said “insatiable.”) A bag of Bugles or Cheetos was more often than not my post-swimming snack growing up. This has since been determined to have been caused by a chemical reaction on my tongue to the chlorine in the pool, producing an unyielding desire for salty and crunchy. Either that or the YMCA vending machines had limited choices. If I ever interviewed Phelps, the first question I would ask would be if he ever experienced similar cravings, followed by if he ever gets water clogged in his ears.

Brad: I did watch a lot of the swimming events, although diving is my favorite. I have never attended a swim event in person, but I have been to baseball, football, hockey and track events in person. I like to watch sports on TV, but there is just a more exciting feeling when you are right there watching the action unfold in front of you, no commercials. You feel the anxiety waiting for the goal, you hear everyone yelling and cheering. I imagine a swimming event would be an even more exciting event in person, with the addition of the smell of the pool.

Ralphie: I only watched one of the swimming events on TV. I thought it was sort of boring. I've never been to a swimming event in person, and I don't think I would want to go to one. I think I would like to be in one, though. I'm sure that would be fun. Even though I don't think watching a swim meet would be much fun, it's always more fun to be at an event than to watch it on TV.

Joe: My favorite bar does not have the humidity or smell of chlorine that are present at a live swimming meet, and I don't think they have beer at the live performance.

Chris: Olympic swimming would be much more fascinating with the addition of jellyfish and electric eels in the water.

Ralphie: I have taken swimming lessons. I think swimming is a lot of fun, but I don't get to do it often enough. I got really scared when I was in the pool one time because I got water in my nose, and that scared me. 

Brad: Never taken any swim lessons, but I have swam in pools, I have swam in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Once while swimming in the Virgin Islands, a stingray swam under me. I think that was the most exciting experience.

Joe: In my other life, I was a lifeguard during two summers at the university that I attended for undergraduate studies. The pool was never too crowded, and the university girls in summer school--ah the memories.

Chris: I was bestowed with a supernatural ability to hold my breath underwater longer than anyone else in my swimming lessons. This may have been partly due to being two to three years older than the other aquatic scholars, also known as my sister and her friends. Though spending an hour or two in the pool would cause me to shrivel up, and as much time as Phelps and others spend in water, it is mystifying why they do not resemble the California Raisins.

Brad: I think Phelps is a decent athlete. He is a strong swimmer and seems to also get along well with his teammates. With his height, maybe he would make a good track runner or maybe basketball.

Joe: An Olympic swimmer is probably in the overall best shape of any of the other athletes. And Olympic water polo swimmers are the elite of the class. Phelps qualifies for the honor and would make a great basketball player too.

Ralphie: Phelps is obviously in good shape, and that would help him play other sports. I think he should just stick with swimming, though. I wouldn't like to see him try something else and be bad at it. Then, people would remember that he was bad at something and not what a great swimmer he is.

Chris: To consider Phelps the greatest Olympian ever would be overlooking athletes who competed in multiple events, such as Jim Thorpe, Jesse Owens and Dorf. However, succeeding on a dancing competition on national television or joining Major League Eating could help Phelps’ status. Phelps could petition to have competitive eating approved as an Olympic sport.

Brad: I think I would retire from Olympic play and let someone else feel that accomplishment. Maybe he can go on to coach future Olympic swimmers or maybe try a different aspect of swimming like something you see in a decathlon.

Joe: If I were Michael Phelps now, I'd continue to sell Wheaties.

Ralphie: He needs to be on a Wheaties box. That's what my mom says, anyway. I think he definitely needs to sign some contracts to be a spokesman for some different companies. He could make a ton of money doing that.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.


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