"You have to respect a young kid who bypasses the 200 backstroke, where he
could potentially win the gold and was a lock for the silver, in order to swim
an event where the two best in the world are swimming. In that respect, Michael
risked not getting a medal but did it because he wanted to race the best. That's
something, as a former competitor, I love to see. Even if Michael did not have
another event, this has been an extremely successful Olympics....
At every level in the sport, no matter if you are five years old, or if you
have swum for 20 years, you are judged on your best time. So if you do that,
look at Michael in his events. The 400 IM? Best time. The 200 Free? Best time.
Even his relay splits show he clearly is in form. There's nothing more than you
can ask for that. I can tell you from experience coming to the Olympics, whether
you are swimming one event or eight different events, it's hard to swim your
best time here. The cliche you always hear at the Olympics is, "Time doesn't
matter; it's only the color of the medal." I actually never really believed
that. In the end, you want to perform. And I think that's how Michael has looked
Update 8/25: Now there's a comment on this post that lauds the writing and the prose, and the detailed understanding of competitive swimming. I am compelled, therefore, to link once again to the source and to declare that I am a linker not a thinker, and that I did not write the passage that I quote here. In fact, I think I will abbreviate my quote and direct readers to the source....