Sunday, August 17, 2008

How sweet it is ... Phelps Phinishes Phirst ... the Golden Man

Were the eyes of America glued to televisions last night to see if U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps would win his eighth and history-making gold medal?

Everyone at my house was planted in front of the TV screen, sitting on the edge of their seats, waiting for the start of the 400 meter medley relay race that has always been won by American swimmers.

Michael Phelps was pulling the third leg of the relay with the butterfly stroke and, if victorious, he would make history. When the race began, no one at my house could remain seated ... everyone was standing ... jumping ... punching the air with their fists as they urged him to "Go, Michael, go!" and "Go, USA, go!"

In the first two legs of the relay America was slightly behind ... and then Phelps dived in and took off, finally pulling away from his opponents on his return lap to give the fourth U.S. swimmer a lead that he held onto, bringing victory for the team.

My living room exploded in cheers as everyone jumped around in their enthusiasm for Michael Phelps. What a win!

Fox News succinctly proclaimed:
It took a team to make him the grandest of Olympic champions. And one last big push from Phelps himself.
Olympic gold! Olympic history! And Mark Spitz, U.S. swimmer who had held that spot in history since 1972, himself told Phelps, "Go for it!"

"Go for it," he did ... and what a sweet win as his mom and sisters watched from the bleachers.

The gold medal ceremony with the National Anthem showed four young men holding back tears ... and afterwards, Phelps and his teammates posed for photos carrying an American flag, slowly making their way around the Olympic pool to the spectator stands where Michael's mom was sitting. Carrying the flowers awarded to him with the gold medal, he waded into a pool of dozens of reporters who parted like the Red Sea, allowing him to clamor on the seat backs to reach up and present the flowers to his mom in the stands as he receive hugs from her and his sisters.

There she was, a mom hugging the son she had raised as a single parent ... a young man who had excelled at his chosen sport ... a road that began when he was 11 years old and his swim coach told her this child had talent and could make the Olympics ... if they started training at that time.

Twelve years later ... Michael Phelps is in the history books. It shows what perseverance, hard work, and having a goal can do.

Mark Spitz held the Olympic record for most gold medals for 36 years ... Michael Phelps may hold it longer.

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