Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lost Olympics?

Paul Newberry works for the Associated Press. I don't really know anything about him but if he is the guy AP assigned to cover Michael Phelps at the Olympics then he must be talented and know his stuff. It is Newberry's article that and linked to after the race. I am sure it will appear in newspapers across the country.

His lead?

"His Olympics looking lost, Michael Phelps decided to flap those gangly arms one more time."


So the idea is if Milorad Cavic had decided to just push his fingers forward instead of up that Phelps, with six gold medals already under his belt, lost his Olympics.

Harsh world we live in.

For a least a week, Phelps has made swimming must watch TV. His quest has transcended the Olympics. Lots of people like me would watch any way but Phelps has become appointment viewing. But if he had come up short in that race or if he falls short in his final race-- how does that erase all he has accomplished? He is the greatest swimmer of all time. What makes Phelps so remarkable is that he is so good in every stroke. To think that if he wins just seven golds and one silver that he failed could only happen in America. Have we become that jaded? We are watching something special and remarkable yet it is like many, not just Newberry, who want some reason to tarnish it. I don't care if Phelps had lost that race. I don't care if the U.S. doesn't medal in the last race. What Phelps has done is so remarkable, it can't be tarnished.

I mean Muhammed Ali lost five times. Ty Cobb hit .366 for his career which means he failed nearly 64 percent of the time. Joe Montana lost an AFC Championship game. Tiger Woods has won 14 majors but he has lost 37. Carl Lewis was awarded nine gold medals but he lost the 200 meters in 1988 to teammate Joe DeLoach.

Phelps has rewritten the swimming record books. To not win eight medals doesn't change any of that. Newberry's lead was a poor choice but one I am sure his editors believe. It is the nature of the beast.

ESPN has a more positive version of the same article.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Golden race

I love the Olympics. Always have.

Most of the sports I know nothing about and don't follow until the Olympic torch is lit. But I find myself staying up all night watching team handball or fencing.

Every Olympics has multiple amazing moments. But tonight's 400-free relay is going to be hard to top. We keep hearing about Michael Phelps quest to win eight gold medals. But analyst Rowdy Gaines seemed to keep shooting that down. Over and over he said he couldn't see the French losing. He was still saying that with 25 yards to go. And yet there was Jason Lezak who kept closing and closing and then amazingly touched the wall first. It was a jump up and yell moment. Then to see the pure joy pouring out of Phelps, it was awesome.

My first Olympic memory is the U.S. hockey team's Miracle on Ice. I vaguely recall the summer boycott that summer so my first real Summer Olympics was 1984. McDonalds gave out cards which if a U.S. team won a medal you could get free stuff. A gold meant a Big Mac, silver was fries and bronze was a coke or ice cream. Thanks to the Soviet led boycott, we ate at McDonalds all summer. As a kid, everything was about the U.S. winning. As I got older, it became more about seeing athletes of any nation perform at their best. But I have to admit, tonight's 400-free relay brought the nationalist out in me. I stood and cheered. It would have sucked to lose to the French.