I know, not another magazine award story…but they’re important, the creation of our history’s signposts, and the iconic Sports Illustrated brand deserves much of the credit.
Sports Illustrated has always been democratic in their coverage, always offering space to non-traditional sports, and, often, helping to create Olympic stars. Swimming has been especially favored by the magazine, from Mark Spitz to Shirley Babashoff and David Berkoff, they have told swimming’s history in detail.
Now the magazine is writing Michael Phelps’ final chapter.
Kelli Anderson has been covering swimming as a reporter and a feature writer since the late 1980s. Kelli knows swimming. She’s one of the SI pros and she has nomineed Michael Phelps to be Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year, which will be announced December 3rd. (Phelps received the SI honor back in 2008, after winning 8 for 8 gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.)
READ ONE PARAGRAPH FROM KELLI ANDERSON’S REPORT (and please read the rest, and, if you have a moment, thank her for over 20 years of swimming coverage):
It would have been difficult to find a swimmer in London who didn’t owe Phelps some kind of debt. There was Lochte, whose years of losing to Phelps in the individual medleys had spurred him to train harder and more creatively. There was 100 freestyle champion Nathan Adrian, who has credited Phelps with elevating swimming to a place where guys like him can make enough money to keep training past college and realize their potential. There was France’s 20-year-old Yannick Agnel, whose powerful underwater dolphin kicks, popularized by Phelps, helped him crush the field in the 200 freestyle. There was 20-year-old South African Chad le Clos, whose eight years of studying and idolizing Phelps paid off when beat his hero on the final stroke of the 200 butterfly. There was 17-year-old Missy Franklin, the quadruple gold medalist whose quandary about whether to choose college or a potential fortune in sponsorship deals (she chose college) was, in part, a direct effect of Phelps’s success in the endorsement market. “There are always groundbreaking contracts in professional baseball, basketball and football, and that’s what Michael Phelps has done for swimming,” says Cal men’s coach Dave Durden. “He has redefined what professional swimming looks like in terms of the money people can make.”
Phelps, Sports Illustrated’s coverboy:
Lochte makes the cover in 2012: