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Tuesday, August 17

Michael Phelps never had a chance

Off the top of my head, the five biggest Olympic events ever:

1) Miracle on Ice
2) Mark Spitz 7 golds
3) Mary Lou Retton
4) Nadia Comaneci
5) Eric Heiden's 5 golds
6) OK, 6, Jesse Owens

OK, what do they all have in common? Maybe except for Heiden, none of this was expected. I don't recall being bludgeoned for months about Mary Lou Retton's gold medal chances in 1984. There certainly weren't any expectations about the 1980 Hockey team.

OK, what are some of the biggest flops ever?
1) Dan and Dave
2) Dan Janssen in 1998 (or was it 1994)? Or both?
3) Michael Phelps
4) Tonya and Nancy
5) Michele Kwan

Too many expectations; too much publicity. Maybe there were greater flops, but we don't know about them since they weren't played up as savagely as these examples. Phelps in particular has been weighted down by months of breathless anticipation as he pursued eight (8) gold medals!!

First of all, at least two of the events are relays, over which he has very little control over. Another event, the 100 freestyle from yesterday, is not a particular strength of his, and he has NEVER been named as a favorite in that event. So he had just as much chance at 8 gold medals in Greece as I do, and I'm sitting here in Mt. Prospect with a plate full of sausage patties in front of me. (Don't ask)

I really wish NBC, etc. would just chill out, and let us make the decision for ourselves on whether the Olympics are compelling viewing. There's enough of us Olympic geeks out here that we'll make it worth their while to put it on the TV, but if they keep shoving people like Phelps down our throats, eventually, we're going to start thinking of the Olympics like we do Wrestling. or NASCAR.

Where the show far exceeds the sport. Fuck it, who needs that? We already have the NBA.