What’s the big deal?

e-mail Pete

Just how good do you have to be to set a world record (that’s world as in lots of people) and it barely makes a ripple in your hometown? Michael Phelps good.

At the Pan Pacific Championships The 8 time Olympic medalist lowered his own world record in the 200 M Butterfly on Thursday to 1:53.80. That’s .13 seconds better than anyone else ever on the planet.

Now pick up a copy of today’s Baltimore Sun, go the sports page, find the story on swimming, examine the headline about Katie Hoff (a great story in her own right for certain but she set no world records on Thursday), roll your eyes down several inches and you see the mention, in the middle of the story, in passing, of the new world record.

I’d like to slam the Sun for that piece of disrespect to the world’s greatest swimmer, but my own reaction when learning of it last night just before our broadcast barely made a ripple itself.

The conversation from headset to earpiece from TV-11 sports producer Chris Dachille went something like this: “Hey, a heads up, Phelps set a new record in the 200 Fly, it’s in the prompter after PGA.” My reply, verbatim: “Huh? Okay.” That was it. Frankly I was disappointed we wouldn’t get to the PGA Championship leaderboard.

Hard to believe that a world record could be so ho-hum but Phelps dominating the world has become so routine, it’s just not a big deal. I guess they’re right; it’s lonely at the top. But don’t worry Mike, in two years we’ll examine every stroke with nauseating scrutiny while you once again swim for gold in Beijing.


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