6. I wish critics of the U.S. men's basketball players would quit saying they're not playing hard. They're playing hard. They're just not as good at this point as some of the teams they're playing. They might still win a gold medal, though.

7. I wish I could meet just one person in Athens named Jimmy the Greek.

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  • About Harvey

    Randy Harvey is reporting from his 13th Olympic Games. He has covered every Summer Olympics since 1976 and every Winter Olympics since 1988. He joined The Sun as the assistant managing editor for sports in April and has previously worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Daily News and Los Angeles Times.
  • WBAL-TV's Noel Tucker blogs from Olympics
8. I wish that Iraq would beat Argentina on Tuesday in the men's soccer semifinals. But I wouldn't bet that way.

9. I wish Michael Phelps were still swimming. It's been almost 48 hours since I've seen him in the pool.

10. I wish I don't have to write Gianna Angelopoulos-Daskalaki's name again.

11. I wish Baltimore-Washington were going to play host to the Summer Olympics in 2012.

12. I wish I would think before I write. As much fun as the Greeks are having, as great a festival as this has become, they're going to be paying for it for a long, long, long time.

August 21, 2004 8:33 AM ET
Can Phelps elevate swimming's stature?

Michael Phelps says he wants to change swimming, turn it into a major sport in the United States.

After what I've seen this week, I wouldn't bet against him in any endeavor.

His five gold medals, with a chance for a sixth tonight, ranks with the all-time great Olympic performances, especially when you add his two bronzes. Only one other athlete, Russian gymnast Alexander Ditiatin, won eight medals in a single Olympics, and his -- three golds, four silvers and one bronze -- came in the boycotted Games of 1980. Kristin Otto of East Germany won six swimming golds in 1988, but it was later revealed that she was on steroids.

I'd place Phelps' performance on a pedestal along with Mark Spitz' record seven gold medals in 1972 and speedskater Eric Heiden's five gold medals in 1980.

But change swimming?

I'm not sure that's possible.

Only a few people in history have catapulted their sports into the U.S. public's consciousness. Norway's Sonia Heine did it with figure skating. Red Grange was such a compelling college player that he probably did more than anyone else to create interest in professional football. Those were incredible achievements because they came before television.

Gymnastics' golden triumvirate, Olga Korbut in 1972, Nadia Comaneci in '76 and Mary Lou Retton in '84, turned on thousands of young girls to that sport and made it one of the more popular TV events during the Olympics.

Lance Armstrong, coming on the heels of Greg LeMond, has turned cycling into a sport that American now pay some attention to, though it will be interesting to see whether that continues when an American isn't winning. I doubt it.

Swimming is a great sport, particularly for the participants, but it's not particularly great for spectators, unless they're watching a compelling performance like Phelps' here.

I wish Phelps luck. He's taking on an even bigger challenge than he had in the Olympics.