Thursday, July 14, 2011

CBC Sports: Has the world caught up to Michael Phelps? - YES and the world has caught up to America too!

"People always thought it [was] Michael's pure talent, but it wasn't," said CBC Sports swim analyst Bryon MacDonald. "He has talent, there's no question, but he also trains harder than anyone else in the world. And he hasn't been lately.

"He gained his belief in himself off of his training, and so he lost a little bit of that belief."

Phelps, who is coming off a month of intense training in Colorado Springs, Colo., agrees the key is how he prepares for competitions.

"I wasn't really that good," Phelps told MacDonald in Montreal last week of his two losses to the Chinese swimmer. "I think it's frustrating but I think that it's something that will help me in the long run. And I think I needed that one to use as motivation. It's something that I would like to keep for the next two years. But it's going to make me work that much harder to get back."

How many times have we heard him say a variation of the above?

So, has the world caught up? I think they met him two-thirds of the way and Michael Phelps has demonstrably capitulated the last third.

I predicted that we wouldn't see Phelps next week at the 2011 Fina World Championships nor would he swim in the London Olympics in 2012. When I made these predictions Phelps was playing golf, failing to show up for workouts, having hostile back-and-forth exchanges with his coach, logging sub-standard times at places like: France, Pan Pacs, and the races USA Swimming calls a "Grand Prix." His performances as of late have not been inspiring, just adequate. That is a weird contrast when you compare his 7-world records at the 2007 FINA World Championships.

If Michael Phelps leaves this sport in 2013 I suspect USA Swimming will lose half it's potential medal count at the Brazil games in 2016. America will no longer be a swimming "super-power" which in a sad way reflects what is happening to the US economically as well.

Take a look at the photos above. That is a before-and-after photo of the Shanghai Skyline. China has "150-Shanghais" cities built with the $500-billion dollars a year the USA sinks into their economy via Wallmart, Target, Costco, etc. etc. etc. We are the only westernized economy to sacrifice our industrial base to China. In exchange for such kindness they finance our national debt.

So, not only has the world caught up to Michael Phelps, the world has caught up to the US as well and we too have seemingly capitulated the last third if not more than that. Other sports and industries will follow.

From Gizmodo:
"... But it wasn't until Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms; [read as capitalism - Tony], that the city exploded. Only fifteen years later, it became the largest cargo port in the world. Twenty years later, it's the megalopolis you are seeing in this photo. ..."


Take a look at your skyline, has it grown as exponentially as Shanghai's? Has China's swimming and diving programs grown exponentially along with Shanghai's? Is the ability of USA Swimming to maintain that "super-power" status degrading in the exact proportion to our economy and national psyche? I think so and I think Michael Phelps is an analogy to that lack of growth.


Anonymous said...

I agree with you most of the time, but now I really don't see the analogy between USA economy and Phelps. Phelps' lack of growth, say what? I haven't realised by now he still needs to grow (swimming wise). What comes after 8 golds in Beijing? 11 in London? I don't think so. People should lay off that man, he's 'grown' all right. If only we were able to achieve 1/10 of things he's achieved during his young life. Maybe he's had potential to do even more, who knows, but in my book he's already done so much he can do whatever he wants. He deserved it.

Tony Austin said...

my apologies. I look at it this way. When you become the "uber-best", and Phelps is the best swimmer to have ever lived, and the United States is the richest country that ever existed as well, an apex curve happens and the next move is usually downward.

Per the press and the Bowman interviews, he seems done and is going through the motions. Nothing wrong with that but he should stop using the "wake up call" rhetoric and simply switch over and state that he is only here to have fun and he will work out whenever he wants.

As for the USA, We too need a wake up call and the only think that will awake us from out apathetic sleep is an infrastructure program that takes us into a new age where business, vision and immediate transport create new ideas and opportunities.

TedBaker said...

The best thing about swimming is that is done in a pool, between the lanes. Talk is cheap. Do or not do. We're all going to know in 14 days where Michael Phelps is vis-a-vis the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

Popov: Phelps has nothing to prove

Tony Austin said...

Of course he has nothing to prove but one should either go big or go home.

I would prefer if he said, "I am not swimming much, I am here just to have fun and see what I can do before I head off to play 9-holes with a friend?"

This wake-up call, work to do, got to get busy rhetoric is getting really tired coming from the best swimmer of all time.

Also note, Popov won't even go near a pool so I don't consider him much of an ambassador for the sport.

TedBaker said...

Alexander Popov not an ambassador of the sport!??? You must be kidding me. You can not even be remotely serious. A double gold medalist in two consecutive Olympics, world record holder for the better part of decade in the 100 and the 50 free and The Tsar is not an ambassador for the sport?!

Alexander Popov was/is the greatest male sprinter of the modern era and he revolutionized swimming technique, too. He was poetry in the water.

Popov is, assuredly, an ambassador for the sport.

Tony Austin said...

He refuses to swim; what kind of ambassador is that?

You want an "ambassador" that loves their "country" - he has become a pool "ex-patriot!"

TedBaker said...

Popov retired after the 2004 Games in Athens, where - well past his due date - he was unable to final in the 50 and, I think, barely snuck into the 100 final.

Tony - seriously, here - you're comments about Popov display stunning ignorance.

Tony Austin said...

No they don't. they are opinions.