If the Chinese invented organized sports 6,000 years ago, writes Pat Forde on ESPN.com, 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."