To say that I’ve been disappointed with NBC’s coverage of this year’s Olympic games is…well, it’s a huge understatement. There have been so many moments that left me confused, outraged, and overall disappointed.
One of the biggest irritations for me has been the crowning of Michael Phelps as “The Greatest Olympian Ever” by Bob Costas and company.
Let me be clear; Michael Phelps is an extraordinary athlete. He is unquestionably ONE of the greatest althletes, Olympic or otherwise. It’s the use of “The” that gets me. I don’t understand how you can definitively place him above all other Olympians. Without going into previous Olympics, summer or winter, consider some of these current Olympians.
Misty May-Treanor and Keri Walsh Jennings. Not only are these two the only women to ever win three gold medals in beach volleyball, they did it undefeated. Not only were they undefeated (21-0) in three straight Olympics, they only lost one set (42-1).
US Women’s Basketball Team: Saturday night the women’s basketball team scored their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal. They’ve won 41 straight Olympic games beating teams by an average of 34 points per game. In fact, no opponent has come within single digits at the final whistle. Granted the team has undergone roster changes but there are members who have earned three medals.
Usain Bolt. Look, his over stuffed ego makes me want to throw an egg at his face but this man can run. He can flat out fly. Bolt currently holds the world record for both the 100m and 200m run. He’s the first man to win gold in the 200m twice, doing it consecutively is just a bonus. He is only the second man ever to win consecutive golds in the 100m (Carl Lewis was the first). It could be years before another sprinter comes along and bests his double-double.
Those are only examples from the current pool of Olympic athletes, what about all of those who’ve come before. It’s not my intention to take away from Michael Phelps accomplishments. He deserves to be celebrated for all of his accomplishments. He is unquestionably the most decorated Olympian ever, a title he will likely hold for some time. My only request is to let that title, the factual title, be enough.