The Opening Pitch: OK, so Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time.
200 fly? Another world record.
800 free relay? An absurd WR.
That's five gold medals for Phelps, giving him 11 for his career. When you add in the three more he is likely to earn, both the single-Games and career gold totals are both untouchable records — and that doesn't even count any he adds if he competes in London in 2012.
No, "greatest Olympian ever" is a bit moot, as far as arguments go. Phelps is the guy. Period. To make it far more interesting, here is the rarified atmosphere that Phelps is playing in now:
Is Michael Phelps the greatest athlete of all time?
Because we are still a few days away from an unprecedented (and argument-ending) 8-gold performance, this is the meme of the week.
Check back tomorrow for the next phase of this special series: What should the G.O.A.T. criteria be?
Say this for this morning's Phelps talking point of Greatest Olympian Ever: It already puts him in the Top 5 athletes of all time.
More Olympics: You hate to label goats at the Olympics, but U.S. women's gymnastics captain Alicia Sacramone earned the label (you can argue that it wouldn't have mattered anyway, China had it so locked down, but you never know.) ... USA Soccer loses to Nigeria this morning, and their Olympics is over. ... Biggest disappointment of the Games: Katie Hoff. ... You have to love USA Softball’s backbone Cat Osterman. ... Geopolitics on the beach: This must have been awkward. ... A lip-synched song during the Opening Ceremonies? Umm, who cares?
USA Oops: Sure, USA Oops can pound Angola, but what about nemesis Greece, up next? If 3s are the problem, why isn't Michael Redd getting more minutes, let alone shots? Fans are now getting a taste of classic Coach K: Getting out-coached, despite a huge talent advantage.
Madden Release Day: It has become one of the most anticipated days of the sports year, arguably more of an event for sports fans as NFL Kickoff Weekend itself. Just consider the combined number of hours it will consume nationally over the next two weeks. (And, hey, bonus: If you think about it, the annual cover jinx is already behind us.)
MLB Instant History: I think we will look back at last night as a break-point in the AL East. The Red Sox pulled off a 19-17 win in the wildest game of the MLB season. Meanwhile, without Longoria or Crawford, the Rays were stifled. Mark it down: The Sox are 3 back on August 13, but will be in the division lead by month's end.
More: In a result we haven't seen all season, Mo Rivera blew a save (but A-Rod saved the game). ... Um, perhaps the Tigers should re-think that decision to put Gary Sheffield on waivers. ... Alliteration: In winning D-backs debut, Adam Dunn doubles. ... Injury Watch: Tim Lincecum (knee). ... Finally: Some bullpen back-up for Johan. ... It was Andre Ethier, not Manny, who was the Dodgers' hero last night. ... Brewers win 7th straight: Every wannabe contender should consider a cathartic dugout smackdown.
NFL Camping Injury Watch: Cards DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, their 1st-round pick, was taken off the field with an ankle injury.
NBA: Andre Iguodala gets paid, to the tune of 6Y/$80M, pairing him with Elton Brand as a franchise foundation. The other AI is coming off a career-best 19.9 ppg season and is only 24.
More: Oden Watch. Expect the media to go ga-ga over Greg Oden's first public workout, held Tuesday, since the knee injury. Assuming the knee holds up, he is a lock for 2009 NBA Rookie of the Year.
CFB: It's official — Georgia LT Trinton Sturdivant is done for the season (knee injury). How many pollsters will change their original preseason Top 25 vote, moving the Bulldogs out of the No. 1 spot?
Tiger won't swing until 2009: That still makes him better than, oh, 99 percent of the rest of the field. Except Padraig Harrington, of course.
The Last Word: Release day of Madden NFL 09 seems to bring out all sorts of passions. Here are two from the sports blog universe:
This guy presents Madden "Code of Conduct."
This guy kind of hates Madden.
I play Madden on the Wii, so I remove myself from the debate.
Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com.
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