How Phelps Saved the Games

Swimmer inspired America to love the games again
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Aug 18, 2008 7:43 AM CDT
Michael Phelps is greeted by mother Debbie, sister Whitney Flickinger, above Phelps, and sister Hilary Phelps, to right of Debbie, after the medal ceremony for 4x100-meter medley relay.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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(Newser) – If the Chinese invented organized sports 6,000 years ago, writes Pat Forde on, then how appropriate that Michael Phelps came to Beijing to prove he was “the apotheosis of the athlete.” And America knows it. In a year when the Olympics had become “passe,” tens of millions of enthusiastic Americans rooted for Phelps in a way not seen since the Miracle on Ice. He “single-handedly saved the Olympics,” Forde writes.

Phelps brought the country together as it cheered him on in bars, in stadiums, in Times Square. “It wasn't your team versus my team. It was Our Michael versus Their Mortals,” Forde writes. Said a teammate: “This guy is the greatest athlete in the world, and every athlete in the world needs to tip their hats” to him. As Phelps himself said, "Everything was accomplished," he said. "It all happened this week."