Giant on the move
If anyone at this Games could be forgiven for being a little bit conceited, a touch arrogant or slightly dismissive of his opponents then it surely would be Michael Phelps. Six races, six gold medals, six world records — it must be hard to keep your feet on the ground.
The reality is that having watched Phelps close-up this week, both poolside and in the press conference room, there isn’t the slightest whiff of arrogance about him. Even when provoked, by a reporter’s question about doping for example, he remains calm and respectful giving a sensible answer.
More importantly he remains respectful to his fellow athletes, in his own, rather reserved way.
I asked Hungarian Laszlo Cseh, who has finished behind Phelps on three occasions in these Games, what Phelps had said to him after the race and he smiled, “He just said ‘good race’.”
Until today I would not have thought it possible that somebody could amble 100 metres in 9.92 seconds but that is what Usain Bolt did in his second heat of the event on the first day of athletics action in the Bird’s Nest.
The gods had been kind and produced a clear-skied day hot day with minimum breeze and Bolt enjoyed his time in the sun.
I’m talking about the way young children are chosen at an early age and groomed for success, often at the expense of their childhood and their education.
In which Julian Linden, Martin Petty, Ossian Shine and myself combine to discuss Harry Potter, Rocky and Mary Poppins, as well as all the sport you could shake a stick at.
This one’s short and sweet so go ahead and give it a click. What else have you got to do for the next seven minutes?
Now I’m at the Olympics in Beijing, well, I think I still do… but I must admit this life-long credo is coming under severe strain.
Six races, six world records and six gold medals: there really is no stopping Michael Phelps at these Games.
The man from Baltimore finished over a second ahead of his closest rival, Hungary’s Laszlo Cseh, in the men’s 200 metres individual medley on Friday to close to within one of Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Ryan Lochte, pictured above, was third.
The athletics is underway, at last, and the three favourites Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay all came safely through their heats this morning.
This is the race everyone will be talking to in the build-up to Saturday’s final so we thought we’d give you the chance to sound like an expert without have to leaf through the record books.
Tennis at the Olympics may rank far below the Grand Slams but considering he has not won one of those this year a gold medal would still have served very nicely, thanks very much.
All in all, the last six days have been a really good warm up, but now I’m ready for the real action, which it does on the track in the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Friday morning.
Gary Hershorn writes: Photographers at the Olympics are always waiting for the cliché medals ceremony images, those being a bite or kiss of the medal.
As corny as they may be, once in awhile the framing all comes together and actually produces a nice photo that newspapers love to publish. Alain Bernard kissing his gold medal after winning the men’s 100 meters freestyle final was one such photo.