You know, when I hear about athletes doing really well, I feel good for them.
Michael Phelps is now the winningest athlete in Olympic history. He’s got more medals than Carl Lewis now. And more than Paavo Nurmi. And Larysa Latynina, and Mark Spitz.
It’s pretty damned impressive.
Even more impressive when you find out that every single gold medal he’s won so far in Beijing has been as a result of setting a world record – one of them by almost 5 seconds, another by more than two.
That’s even more impressive.
Of course, I wouldn’t be Canadian if I didn’t dispute at least one of Lewis’ medals, but that’s only tangentially related to what I am actually talking about, and that’s doping.
I’m not accusing Phelps of being doped. Well, okay, yes, I am. But I am doing it with absolutely no evidence other than a healthy suspicion of anyone who is outperforming his peers by such an incredible margin.
No doubt they’ve been testing him regularly. The Chinese, among others, would love nothing more than to see all those medals stripped, I’m sure. But I think he’s on something else, something new. Something that’s not being tested for yet.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubt the man can swim like a dolphin. Hell, I suspect he could do 200 meters before I got kicked off the wall. I’m not saying he’s not naturally talented, or even that he’s not the greatest swimmer who ever lived.
But I’m more inclined to believe he’s the most successfully doped Olympian in history.
Isn’t it sad that we even have to entertain these kinds of suspicions? I mean, I’m more inclined to look at it in a positive light and believe the best about Phelps, but even I can’t deny that there are going to be questions surrounding his incredible achievements. He’s the Lance Armstrong of swimming, and I wouldn’t be surprised if, like Armstrong, he’s the most tested athlete in his domain.
Regardless, what he’s doing is amazing and he’s making swimming interesting for the average sports fan… much the same way Armstrong made cycling interesting. I haven’t paid any attention whatsoever to the Tour de
France Lance since Armstrong retired, and I likely won’t pay any attention to swimming once Phelps is done either. That is, until the next phenom bursts onto the scene.
I’m going to assume he’s legit until proven otherwise, cause it’s not like he hasn’t done this before. He dominated most of his races in Athens in 2004 (at the ripe age of 19) and put on an additional 20 pounds of muscle since then. You can bet that his blood has been thoroughly tested and re-tested over the past 4 years. Sure, he might be on something new, but he might just be a freak of nature… you know, in a good way.
And then there’s that new suit… not sure how much it helps, but it can’t hurt, right? He’s not the only swimmer setting new world records.
One thing is for sure though… at this rate, by the time these Olympics are over, Phelps will have more gold medals on his neck than our entire Canadian team. Actually… at this rate, he’ll have more medals of any colour than our team ;)