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Sports Olympics

What they're saying about Michael Phelps

Here's a roundup of what national media are saying about Michael Phelps' 19th Olympic medal.

** Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde writes about "the riot of emotions" experienced by Phelps leading up to his 19th medal.

And then there is Phelps, now standing alone above everyone in the history of a global sporting event that dates to B.C. In the course of redefining the standards for swimming versatility, longevity, and excellence in 12 years as an Olympian, he has matured before our eyes. At times Tuesday he sounded more humble and wise than ever before.

** ESPN.com's Wayne Drehs says that Phelps made history differently last night.

U.S. teammate Davis Tarwater, who considers the 200 fly his best event and trained with Phelps for four years, disagreed. Forget the color of the medal. He called Phelps' 200 fly one of the best of his career.

"I've seen him otherworldly and struggle and everywhere in between," Tarwater said. "I just thought tonight he came out, and it was cold toughness, all grit, all heart. I saw it in his eyes. I saw it in his face. He was doing everything he could, muscling it out, trying to get the win. I can recognize that. I have so much respect for that man."

** FoxSports.com's Jen Floyd Engel says that Phelps' 19th medal made him a better Olympian than runner Carl Lewis.

So there is no asterisk here because Phelps got his medals in swimming. There is also no more debate. He passed Carl not with 19 but rather with the sustained dominance required for that to be possible.

** SI.com's Michael Farber says that it's beyond dispute that Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time.

Phelps stood alone later Tuesday, or more correctly he stood with teammates Ryan Lochte and Conor Dwyer and Ricky Berens, as he won his record-setting 19th medal, in the 4x200 relay. This was history as afterthought, a foregone conclusion -- as if, say, Ted Williams had crashed the .400 plateau with an infield single. In the huddle before the race, Phelps thanked his teammates for helping to nudge him to the brink and joked that they better hand him a substantial lead. They did, and only fractions leaked away in Lane 4 as Phelps powered to the wall, smiling throughout the last 20 meters.

** SI.com's Nick Zaccardi says that Phelps showed another signing of slowing down yesterday.

We're not in Beijing anymore. For the first time at an Olympics, Phelps lost a finger-tip finish. He was caught in the final few meters of his signature race, the 200-meter butterfly, by South African Chad le Clos, who won his first Olympic gold by five hundredths of a second and cried on the medal stand. Phelps' age (27) showed. He didn't have the stamina and was beaten by a man who was 10 years old the last time Phelps lost this race in major international competition (2002).

** SI.com's Kelli Anderson says that Phelps rebounded from disappointment to make history.His first race was the 200 butterfly, the event that is more than any other his signature: He made his Olympic debut in the 200 fly in 2000 as a 15-year-old (he came in fifth), and he set his first world record in it in March of the following year. (He has broken it seven times since and never relinquished it.) He hadn't lost a 200 fly race in a major international meet in 10 years. In Beijing, he had won it even after his goggles filled with water halfway through the race. This one, more than any other individual event on his London agenda, seemed like a lock.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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