Originally Posted by 15fan
I'll take the opposite approach. I don't think Phelps' story can be over-covered. What he's attempting to do is beyond freakish. 8 golds in the same Olympics? That's twice what Jesse Owens did in 1936 and what Carl Lewis did in 1984. That one-ups Spitz in an era when the internationalization of training and competing makes it unfathomable that one individual could be the best in the world at 8 different combinations of distances / strokes.
I think there also exists the very real possibility that Phelps pocketing 8 golds will do for the sport of swimming what Jordan did for basketball in the 90s, and Tiger Woods has done for golf in the 00s - junior swimming programs all over the country (and world?) will attract kids like never before.
Mark Spitz did the same for swimming when he won the seven gold medals. This poster hung on my brother's bedroom wall and several swim teams, including the one I was on, used these suits during the mid seventies.
So, I can personally attest to the effects of what Phelps is trying to accomplish.