Saturday, October 22, 2011

BBC Sport: "Ryan Lochte could upstage Phelps & Thorpe in 2012"

Steve Perry is thinking like a competitor or more accurately an odds maker who has to create some sort of a gambling wager to pull in some revenue for his casino. With Perry's own Olympic accomplishments behind him he should be thinking more about legacy and meaning rather than a simple bet prediction.

Here is his set-up, ...err, his premise from BBC Sport:

"...Everyone seems to be talking about those two but they have both come out recently and said, 'Hold on a minute, the guy who's looking amazing is Ryan Lochte'.

So there is the potential for the media to be focusing on the wrong people.

Lochte was the first guy ever to break a world record unaided by a suit and took Phelps out in two of Phelps' main events at the World Championships earlier this year, the 200m freestyle and the 200m medley.


As for Thorpe, it is remarkable what he is doing. He has been trying to quell expectation but I don't think he's quelling it enough - I can't describe how big a struggle it is going to be for him.

Michael Phelps, 500-years from now, will probably be the only Olympian history will remember; That is if the Olympics are remembered at all. In the near term, beating Ian Thorpe is way more significant an accomplishment legacy-wise than beating Ryan Lochte. Phelps beating Lochte and winning a gold medal holds no meaning here - He's won gold medals 8-times in a row; what is there for him to prove? It only means a soon-to-be-retired-great was beaten while simply honoring the final years of his contract.

Enter Ian Thorpe: How many times has the great Michael Phelps out touched, out raced, or out lasted Ian Thorpe? The answer is never; not even on a relay. That is where the real legacy issue lies.

If by some miracle Ian Thorpe steps up and out touches Michael Phelps, there will always be that asterisk, that footnote, the glaring historical fact that Michael Phelps was never able to beat an Australian by the name of Ian Thorpe.

This could be the "Rocky" moment of 2012 and/or the bragging rights for who was the greatest freestyle swimmer ever.


Likac said...

Come on, what about 200IM in Barcelona 2003? Phelps won gold and Thorpe won silver.

Tony Austin said...

Oooops, I forgot. But he has never beaten him in a freestyle event. I will qualify the post later .

Anonymous said...

For those who are Lochte fans, its going to be very aggrivating if he gets no coverage. He has been on fire the past two years.. Sports illustrated is the only media outlet giving him the proper press. I really wanted to see a better Phelps vs Lochte media push for London and not a Phelps vs Thope.

TedBaker said...

I don't know if Phelps and Thorpe will be swimming the same events. Thorpe's concentrating on sprinting. My understanding is that he's focussed on the 100 free and Phelps won't be swimming that.

I haven't heard but is Thorpe going after the 200 as well?

Tony Austin said...

The 100-free would be a disaster for Thorpie. Cielo, or anybody who is French, like Bousquet, Bernard, etc. etc. and perhaps even Phelps are too prepared. Even the 200 is full of talent. I say he should go for the 200.

Tony Austin said...

Ian Thorpe and Phelps have broken out, Ryan has not yet - he is off the radar shamefully enough.

TedBaker said...

I'm not so sure the 100 would be such a disaster for Thorpe and I think you overestimate the French guys.

Bernard is toast - can't swim without the suit - Bosquet is no threat over a 100 and Angel is more a 400, 200 guy. Meynard is, I think, France's best hope.

Cielo's got the most speed and, as per his swims at PanAms, he can hang on in a 100. I still think, though, that he's vulnerable on the back end of his 100.

All the 100 guys now have back end speed. Mannusen, Hayden, guys that go out 22 high and come back in 24, those are the guys that, I think, will win the 100.

Before he retired, Thorpe was one of the very few guys I've ever seen - Phelps and Magnini are two more - that could damm near even split an internationally competitive 100.

He's working a bunch with Touretski and has changed his stroke to more a shoulder driven, high catch, high cadence freestyle.... He's really working on generating front end speed. If that works and he's able to keep that back half of the race power, he's going to really shock people.

Tony Austin said...

He has changed his turns too. He use to twist pushing lots of water with his legs, now is legs are open shoulder width and he is flat on his back. See the movie at the original link. Also note that he has lost his Australian accent and is speaking more with a soften queen's English. :-P