Appreciating all that makes America special

Michael Phelps

hael Phelps,

When he’s in the pool, Michael Phelps is an American Hero. Out of the pool, he has some work to do. Uploaded by

Don’t you wish the man, the American, who’s now indisputably the greatest Olympian of all time was more likable? While Michael Phelps is about 40th in the list of American athletes on this team who I’d like to have a conversation with, you have to give the man his due. He does one thing, and he does it better than anyone who ever lived.

Michael Phelps,

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As impressive as winning 22 Olympic medals is, it’s even more amazing that 18 of those were gold. That’s double the next closest total. That’s hard to get your head around. He has the most gold medals in a single Olympics (8, 2008), has set 39 world records, and he’s retiring from the sport while still at the top of his game.

As you’d expect, he’s been highly honored for his accomplishments. He won the Sullivan Award for best amateur athlete in 2003, and was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 2008. He’s had a couple of bumps in his out-of-the-water life, or his endorsement potential would be through the roof. But he’s set up the Michael Phelps Foundation, focused on swimming and kids’ health. That’s a pretty smart way to rehabilitate the image of the man whose Olympic accomplishments may never be surpassed.

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