Today, I came across this article in the New York Times. It’s about how visible Michael Phelps has been in the lead-up to the winter Olympics. Writer Billy Witz cleverly quips: “With the Vancouver Olympics only weeks away, it seems reasonable to ask: is swimming now part of the Winter Games?”
Witz then goes on to address what has been a hot topic in swimming over the past few months. Many pundits (both professional and otherwise) have wondered aloud if Phelps had lost it, or if he was on his decline. At the World Cup, he flopped big-time, and even failed to final in several races. To me, it was clear what had happened (as I wrote in several articles), and that this was the only stretch between Beijing and London where American swimmers would have a chance to take a break without major international meets, and Phelps was taking full advantage. There are no World Championships in 2010, the Pan-Am games are not nearly as huge as the European or Asian championships, and obviously no Summer Olympiad.
Witz reitterates this idea thusly:
The underlying message, as Phelps noted, is that all of this is leading to the next two years. The national championships and the pan-Pacific championships are in August, which lead into the 2011 world championships, which carry into the Olympic trials and the Olympics.
“I mean, after this summer, we’re there,” Phelps said.
This is further confirmation, from the man himself, that Phelps will still be the best in London.
Also in the article, Witz describes the atmosphere at the SoCal Grand Prix. I’ve never been, but it sounds like a great meet to attend.
The cozy confines of the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool meant that spectators could sit among swimmers in the metal bleachers or stand at the edge of the warm-up pool, where Olympians shared lanes with middle-school swimmers.