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On the Mark
What a great cover
shot of Michael Phelps, re-creating Mark Spitz's pose from the 1972 Olympics.
The man whose medals record Phelps broke is referenced in another way as well:
With Phelps's head placed over the word SPORTS, leaving only the SP and the TS
showing, it's almost like you snuck his name in there.
photos capturing Phelps's win by .01 of a second in the 100 butterfly were
amazing (We Are All Witnesses, Aug. 25). The most incredible shot to me was the
next-to-last image, showing Phelps's arms stretched wide, well over a foot from
the wall, and Serbia's Milorad Cavic inches away from gold. How did Phelps
touch first? It seems physically impossible.
The Greatest Debate
Michael Phelps is
surely a phenomenal swimmer, perhaps the best ever, and if he excels in London
in 2012, we can begin to compare him with Carl Lewis as the alltime greatest
Olympian. But I question whether, even for one Games, he had the "Greatest
Olympic Performance Ever," as your headline said. To me, that distinction
remains with Eric Heiden, who won all five men's speedskating events—from 500
to 10,000 meters—at Lake Placid in 1980. When Phelps, or anyone else, in any
sport, wins everything from sprints to long distance, let me know.
In 1912 Jim Thorpe
won both the decathlon and the pentathlon by enormous margins and finished
first in eight of the 15 track and field events that made up the two
In Berlin in 1936
Jesse Owens won four gold medals—in the 100, the 200, the 400 relay and the
long jump—and he did so in the face of Adolf Hitler's "master race"
S.L. Price wonders
if Phelps might be the greatest athlete ever (POINT AFTER, Aug. 25). For Tiger
Woods to compare with Phelps, he'd have to put four years' worth of majors into
a single tournament that lasted over nine days, and he'd have to win each round
(no ties) against competitors who may or may not have competed in the other
rounds. For Michael Jordan to compare, he'd have to disappear from public view
until the championship series, carry the team each night, be the MVP of each
game. I don't even know why we are debating the issue.
Real World: London
Looking ahead to
the next Summer Olympics (London Calling, Aug. 25), I doubt that London will be
able to top China's opening ceremonies. But should British citizens find it
necessary to openly criticize their government for not staging as elaborate a
show, at least they won't be put in prison.