An important part of American Swimming History: Michael Phelp’s 2004 Athens Olympics
Just as 1972 will be remembered as Mark Spitz’s Olympics, Athens 2004 will always be “Michael’s Games,” as the 19-year-old won six gold and eight medals overall, equaling the most ever medals won in a single Olympiad.
His face was everywhere you looked: on NBC’s endless promotions for the Games, swimming “laps” for VISA from Greece to the Statue of Libertyand back (an idea possibly lifted from the Beatles’ movie, “Help”); on countless other print and TV ads; smiling at you from every conceivable page of every newspaper in the land; on the cover of SI, Time, Parade; and on and on.
He was everywhere!
It was impossible to escape. It didn’t matter if you switched channels on your TV, the local, national and international reporters would be talking about Michael. Turn on your radio and even the sports talk shows, whose hosts are only dimly aware of any sport beyond baseball, football, basketball, hockey and golf, and it was all Michael. All the time. Not M.J., but M.P.