I admit it–I’ve been sucked into the hype and excitement that is the Olympics. I mean, I watched badminton and competitive sharp shooting the other day. And it’s not like women’s beach volleyball or regular volleyball where I can claim–yeah, it’s all about the cute, athletic girls in bikinis or tight-fitting outfits.
But the events I’ve really enjoyed watching a good deal–well, besides the women’s volleyball, that is–has been the swimming. I swim laps for exercise myself and I know that I will NEVER be on the same level as those competiting in the Olympics. Heck, I watch the games and think–if only I could do a kick-turn, I’d be happy. And my butterfly….well, let’s just say it looks more like that poor butterfly who rode the short bus to school. But one of the great stories of the Olympics has been the performance of Michael Phelps. OK, sure he didn’t win eight golds, but he still has won eight medals. He’s one of the best male swimmers in the world.
I heard about his amazing come-from-behind win last night in the 100m Butterfly Final on the radio, but tuned in to see it based on hearing how amazing it was. And it was amazing.
But what was even more impressive to me was what he did afterward. He stepped aside to allow his teammate, Ian Crocker, have a shot at Olympic gold. Sure, I guess a cynical part of me could say–he figured he had enough medals and was going to get one because he swam the qualifying race. But, in this day when we question the comitment of the Dream Team to go out and represent America, it’s nice to see Phelps put the team and country above himself. He has said that Crocker is one of the best in the world at this relay and he wanted to see the U.S. have the chance to win the gold, so he put team above self. It’s an amazing story and one that I find inspring. In a day and age when so many athletes are not role models to kids, Michael Phelps in one that I wouldn’t mind my kids (if I had any) looking up to. He works hard, he always gives his all and best and he’s a team player. To sound like a cliche, the man should get a gold medal for character.