Michael Phelps wowed millions of Olympic viewers by winning his seventh gold medal by no more than one one-hundredth of a second during the 100 metre butterfly earlier this evening over Milorad Cavic.
All seemed lost for Phelps until a final plunge at the last possible moment catapulted him into godhood, the likes of which we have not seen since Poseidon ruled the seas. Of course, controversy sprang almost immediately as the Serbian runner-up immediately petitioned the decision, not because of his second place finish, but rather something odder.
He claimed he noticed that the man swimming beside him was not Phelps at all.
After a flurry of activity, US organizers have come clean and admitted the man who broke six World Records these games and has so far taken home seven gold medals was not Michael Phelps, but Hank McCleoud.
It turns out the USA swimming team strategically switched Phelps and McCleoud immediately before and after every heat thanks in large part to American illusionist Criss Angel distracting from the sidelines by walking over the other end of the pool. Though some wondered why Mr. Angel has done this during every one of Phelp's race, one spectator summed it up succinctly with, "s**ts bananas."
Bananas indeed, much like Team USA slipping in a duplicate racer.
A similar scenario happened during the Athens Games when David Blaine attempted to qualify by sitting in the pool for 17 minutes. To this day nobody knows the fate of the noted Street Magician.
Asked of why the US would stoop to this level, head coach Eddie Reese said, "the reason was for the national interest. The swimmer on the podium must be flawless in image, internal feeling, and expression. Michael Phelps...is perfect in those aspects."
Reese followed up that the order was handed down by a unanimous decision between Congress and the Senate in a surprising display of unity.
"We had to do it," he stressed. "During team tryouts in 2003, we saw that McCleoud had supreme skill. But when government officials inspected and saw McCleoud's slightly drunken and caved-in demeanor, they came to the decision that McCleoud was not the face we needed to promote during the games. The decision was made jointly by the government and Kellogg's."
After revealing this tidbit, he also confirmed that it was McCleoud who had won the medals in Athens.
American bloggers have expressed outrage, one stating, "if you're not good looking, no matter how well you swim, you'll not be on the podium."
Hank McCleoud, a shark wrestler by trade, was reported to have said that he was honoured to simply have a role in the Olympics at all. He was last seen swimming into the Pacific, likely heading to his just home north of Alaska.
The future credibility of USA sports has now been plunged into a murky vat of sewage. We'll keep you aprised of the situation as events unfold.
It has also been confirmed that Michael Phelp's cannot physically swim himself.
Update (16.08.08) : In a fairy tale-like moment, McCeloud returned from the northern seas to help Team USA win the 4x100 medley. Phelps, as of this writing, was last seen in a local Wisconsin YMCA taking remedial swimming courses, in hopes he could float by 2012.