Fourteen golds have allowed Phelps to emerge as a legend

By Bryan Chouinard, Staff Writer

We have all learned a valuable lesson from our friend Ferris Bueller.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

We as sports fans must adhere to this adage now more than ever. We have all been guilty of it. At one time or another, whether we know it or not, we have all taken for granted the moments we have been lucky enough to witness in sports.

In this past decade alone we have seen moments that some have lived and died and never witnessed. It had been 86 years since the Boston Red Sox had last won a World Series, yet we have seen them hoist the trophy twice in four years.

We have seen child prodigies, such as Sidney Crosby and LeBron James not only grow up in front of us, but also grow to dominate their respective sports.

But just like I will never forget where I was the night Aaron Boone hit a home run off Tim Wakefield in game seven of the 2003 American League Champion Series, I will always remember where I was when Michael Phelps won his eighth gold medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

While Phelps’ gold medal in the 4×100 medley relay was not the most exciting race of his 17 swims in his nine-day 2008 Olympic campaign, it was the one that cemented his legacy as one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time. It was also the single medal that showed the world he is the most complete and dominant athlete of his time.

This may be hard for some to buy into because the average fan in this country only cares about swimming every four years. We don’t obsess over his every move like Tiger Woods, or break down all his tape like USC, but every time we check back in with Phelps, whether it’s at the Olympics or the World Championships, it’s the same person standing atop the podium with gold around his neck.

At the same age the foremost golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, had collected one major in his career, the 1997 Masters. Arguably the most dominant tennis player in history, Roger Federer, had won four of his now 16 majors by the age of 23. Not only are Phelps’ accomplishments at his age unprecedented, but unrivaled as well.

We were forced to ask ourselves the question when Phelps won six golds in Athens. He gave us the answer in Beijing and he will prove all the doubters wrong in London in 2012 that he is in fact the greatest athlete alive. So remember sports fans, take a good hard look at what Michael Phelps is doing and cherish it, because it is something that will put all athletic accomplishments into perspective for years to come.

[email protected]