Dear U.S. Media,
Please stop comparing Usain Bolt to Michael Phelps. They are not the same.
Please stop saying that what Usain has done is more impressive than what Michael Phelps did. It’s not. It is impressive, but it’s not as impressive as what Michael Phelps accomplished.
Please don’t forget what Phelps did or diminish it by comparing it to 2 events in track and field.
1. Usain Bolt raced in two races (not including qualifiers over) three days. He dominated both races, showboating through the finish of the 100m. He set two world records while doing so.
Michael Phelps raced in 8 finals (as many races as Bolt raced in total) over one week. He set world records in 7 of his 8 finals. He dominated in most. He did so with class and without showboating.
2. Bolt ran the 100m and the 200m.
Michael Phelps raced in the 100 fly, 200 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM, 200 free, 4×100 free relay, 4×200 free relay, and 4×100 medley relay.
This is the equivilent of running the 100m, the 100m hurdles, the 200m, the 200m hurdles, the 800m, the 1500m, the 4x100m relay and the 4×400 relay.
3. The 100-200 double.
Bolt became the first person since Carl Lewis to win both events in the same Olympics. Okay, that’s been a long time. I get it. But what they are telling you is that Bolt is the ninth person to acheive this feat. Here’s the list.
Phelps is the only person to ever have won 8 medals in one Olympics. He’s the only athlete ever to win 14 gold medals. Here’s the list: Michael Phelps.
4. Everybody runs. Not everybody does the butterfly.
I saw this argument in an article posted on somebody’s bulletin board. Really? That’s why Bolt’s accomplishment is more impressive? Because everybody can run? Seriously?
I ran in high school. I was slow.
I swam in college. I was slow.
What the hell do either of my athletic talents have to do with Bolt’s? Nothing. They’re both better.
Now in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a former swimmer and a college swim coach. I’m a fan of swimming and watched every race. I haven’t really watched anything since. (Okay, I admit it I watched the women’s beach volley ball, but I swear it was for the sport.)
I really don’t see how you can honestly compare the two accomplishments. What Bolt has done in his two races is incredible, but I bet we’ll see it again. Phelps? We may see that again too, but we’ll see another 100-200 before we see 8 golds in one Olympics and before we see anyone overtake Phelps’ career total.