[Don't worry, I've got two more days of this in me, max.]
-- If there happens to be anybody in the country who is enjoying the Olympics but is looking for a Michael Phelps-free zone, might I offer you the comfy confines of Low Resolution? I don't hate the guy, and his athletic talent/dominance/freakish ability is undeniable. And yet? So completely over the guy. For several reasons that I'd totally delve into if I had a blog. ...Wait a second!
1) Superficial reasons. To wit:
Yeah, yeah, muscles. But you have to know how to wear the muscles, I'd venture to say, and dude looks like something that'd be on display at the front of your Bio lab. And that's not even venturing into the vicinity of the face, which is the butteriest of any face I've seen. He certainly gets obliterated in that department by, say, Ryan Lochte.
There's even a handy side-by-side comparison available:
Advantage: swimmers who are not gooney-birds.
2) The hype. It's too much. Much too much. Sure, he backs it up by winning races by three lengths, but...that's kind of boring to watch, for me. Call me a hater, I probably am. But there are other swimmers at play here, and I'd like to hear about them once in a while. Swimmers like Brendan Hanson:
Has Hanson done as well as Phelps this week? Probably not, but I wouldn't know because nobody's talked about him.
3) This is petty (much like reasons 1 and 2, I don't deny it), but I'm an Ian Thorpe partisan from way back, and thus am a mortal enemy of all usurpers.
So if you feel like kvetching about the nation's Phelps-philia, here's your spot.
A swimmer I like:
Katie Hoff. She's like the anti-Phelps in that she's been maybe the highest-profile American woman (or at least tied with Natalie Coughlin), but her Beijing experience has been nothing but heartbreak. Seeing her get nipped at the end of the 400m freestyle, having to settle for silver, was maybe the most heartbreaking thing I've seen in these games so far. And people talked about it for three second before the men's 4 x 100 relay went and drove us all crazy with joy. Poor kid.
A swimmer I don't like:
Aaron Piersol. Am I alone, or does he seem like a total dick? With his whole "Eh, I suppose I'll try in this race" attitude? And his casual dismissal of his opponents? Hate that guy.
Oh, and one final note: synchronized diving can bite my ass, but my objections to that particular discipline coincide with my gripings about gymnastics, so that's for Part 2.