Michael Phelps, the most dominate swimmer of our time (he has set a total of 25 world records) who may only be comparable to Tiger Woods in golf, is a man on a mission in Beijing.
Phelps, who became the youngest person ever to compete at the Olympic Games in swimming at age 15 in 2000, is a seasoned Olympic veteran. And, although he did not medal in 2000 (he finished 5th in the 200m Butterfly), the year 2000 can be marked as the beginning point of his stranglehold on Olympic Swimming.
Following the 2000 Olympics, Phelps went on to become the youngest man ever (at 15 years and nine months) to set a swimming world record in the 200m Butterfly. Phelps went onto to set new records and break his own up until the 2004 Games in Athens.
There in Athens, Phelps set his sights on Mark Spitz's Olympic Record of seven golds in a single Olympic Games. Phelps would be competing in eight events, enough to break Spitz's record. However, Phelps fell just short of this goal, capturing six golds and two bronze.
Following the 2004 Olympics, Phelps has set 11 world records (although, as of right now, he holds just six because he has broken his own world records), all in an attempt to prepare himself for his greatest challenge yet—Beijing.
Beijing is Michael Phelps chance at immortality. Phelps, who already owns six gold medals, will have a shot to capture eight yet again, and in doing so, he will put himself on the single greatest Olympic performace of all time.
Phelps is almost assuredly going to become the owner of the most gold medals by any individual, as the current one is nine and is held by Mark Spitz, Carl Lewis, and Larissa Latynina.
But, at what cost? Phelps will be competing in 17 races overall in just nine days' time. Now, us ordinary folk have no idea of even conteplating what toll that will have on the body. How's this for you—Phelps will swim a total of thirty miles, and in doing so, he will burn nine marathons worth of calories in the course of the Games.
The tournament will not only be physically draining, but mentally as well. The drug testing and media frenzy alone is enough to drive anyone wild, let alone the 17 races. Phelps admitted that his demanding schedule in the 2004 games caused him to feel overwhelmed and snap at his coaches.
But, Phelps feels better prepared for these games, both physically and mentally. Phelps realizes the task at hand and also realizes that he may just do what many had thought was impossible—eight golds.
Michael Phelps loves doubt. He loves to be questioned. He loves to do what many consider impossible, unthinkable, and he's got his best shot ever to prove the doubters wrong and shock the world again in Beijing.
If Michael Phelps is able to pull it off and bring home eight golds, all doubt will be erased, all questioners silence. For no one could doubt or question that Michael Phelps would be the greatest Olympian of all time.