Beijing Olympics – Is anyone else tired of Michael Phelps?

Michael Phelps Beijing Olympics 2008

Too much of a good thing syndrome?

Congratulations to him though, for becoming the “greatest Olympian ever.”

However, I would like it if that label was used to describe winners of the decathlon event, all-round athletes, rather than someone participating in aquatic events differentiated by strokes and lengths.

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I would also have preferred the newscasters to pay more attention to the 41-year-young miracle Dara Torres. Her gold medal and even the silver during the relay, is truly inspiring for all women! Too often, sports feats by men overshadow ones by women. Everyone is speaking about Michael Phelp’s record-breaking 14 gold medals but how many people know that a woman–Larissa Latynina of the former Soviet Union–held the previous record? And that her record of 18 Olympics medal is still unbroken?

Larissa Semyonovna Latynina (born December 27, 1934 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR) is a Soviet gymnast who was the first female athlete to win nine Olympic golds. She holds the record for winning the most Olympic medals at 18 (nine gold medals, five silver and four bronze). After the 1966 World Championships she became a coach for the Soviet national gymnastics team, a position she held until 1977. She organized the gymnastics competition at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. During her life she was awarded with many noble honors, among them is the Olympic Order (silver) by the International Olympic Committee. In 1998 her name was inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Anyway, not to take away from Phelp’s amazing feat, but winning the most number of medals hardly makes someone the “greatest” Olympian ever, especially in the age of revolutionary racing suits, training facilities, major endorsements that enhance quality of life and prolong careers.

I wonder what Jean Baudrillard would have thought of the entire Olympics spectacle this year; it is right up there with the epitome of hyper-reality, Disneyland. But namely the part of the Olympics that was computer-generated–the 55 second video footage of giant fireworks on film, drained of authenticity and meaning in the traditional sense. Our reality is so often derived from images that we see on screen and not from our own experiences that it is easy to distort reality. Anyway, this is not about to become a post that leads Neo into a room to choose a blue or red pill so I will spare you.

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I know we have some DREAMer fans of Phelps. So here are some clippings I got just for you. You can find all the men’s swimming videos here and the women’s swimming links here.

For the Michael Phelps fans, you would most certainly love this article as well.

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