Michael Phelps' eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics is outstanding, for somewhere Mark Spitz is tearing up and fading into the distance where he will never be heard from again.
Enter Phelps, a golden child (no pun intended) who not only is the new face of U.S. Olympians, but also the face of this Olympiad which was intended to showcase China's economic growth as a nation. Instead, the smog and the drama has taken a backseat to the coronation of a new Olympic hero and...dare I say...the greatest athlete of all time?
Jim Brown had linemen opening holes for him throughout his pro football career. Michael Jordan, whose sidekicks grabbed boards and made jumpers, assisted his ascent to glory. Babe Ruth had eight men in the field when he was on the mound and protection in the line-up.
And yes, three of Phelps' medals came with the help of his teammates, but the overall eight gold medals are even more incredible if you take into consideration the seven world records broken in the process.
That's like if Brown broke the rushing, receiving and passing records. Or if Jordan shattered the scoring, rebounds, assists and steals records. And still, each player would be short a few from statistical glory.
Phelps is a one-man wrecking crew, who has four years to figure out what else he can dominate as he attempts to hold on to the moniker of Greatest Olympian Ever.