Giant on the move
Phelps is so good the rest have their sights on silver
Poor Laszlo Cseh, the Hungarian who twice in these Games has finished second to Michael Phelps, was quite frank when asked by a reporter whether he had thought, during Wednesday’s 200m butterfly that he could actually beat Michael Phelps.
“It never even crossed my mind,” he said.
That should tell you everything about how much better Phelps is than his rivals — they know they are swimming for silver medal at best and that can’t be much fun.
A Hungarian reporter told me that Cseh had spent two months deep down in the dumps after last year’s world championships when he realised how unstoppable Phelps was and that all his work was targeted towards trying to be the next best.
The Russian team, who on Wednesday finished second in the 4×200 freestyle relay to the Phelps-led U.S squad, were a likeable bunch of lads who were beaming at the post-race press conference, as if they had actually won gold.
When they were asked about how they rated Phelps, all four of them laughed. “He may be human but he’s from a different planet,” said Alexander Sukhorukov.
Phelps insisted he wasn’t unbeatable but watching him leave the fastest swimmers in the world in his wake throughout this week it really is hard to picture him fighting for second best.
Statistically, in terms of gold medals, Phelps is now the most decorated Olympian of all-time.
Whether or not he is the greatest Olympian of all time (join the debate here) it is hard to think of any other athlete who has so utterly dominated his opponents in so many events as Phelps.
He has simply turned the rest of the field into also-rans — and yet, like Laszlo Cseh — still they try.