He did it. John and I were sitting together, watching the 4 x 100 Medley Relay last night. Well, actually, John was sitting. I was somewhere in between a sit, a kneel, and a stand, screaming "Pull! Pull! Pull!" at the television as if they could hear me. Somewhere in the middle of the last 50, I got a little teary-eyed as I saw Lezak moving in on the wall, knowing that they were doing it. Michael Phelps has been my hero for a long time. I suspect that he has become a household name associated with greatness now. It is my hope that his performance will help elevate swimming to the level of other forms of athletic competition. It is not easy. Let me rephrase that: If it seems easy, you're doing it wrong. If your arms do not feel like Jell-O when you get out of the water, then you did not leave it all in the pool.
So last night, I watched. And cheered. And Screamed. And yes, I cried. And I was proud that this young guy who was the first to motivate me back into the pool after many years was the one who gave the performance that will go down in history. I'm proud that he is a swimmer-- not a runner or some volleyball player. And I knew I was witnessing history. After all of the clips they showed of Mark Spitz in a time when I had yet to be born, I knew that when they show these clips of Phelps as the years pass, I can say I was watching.