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Michael Phelps – You Bum

Michael Phelps should be ashamed.

He  lost a race!

Every time I watch the Olympics there is another person criticizing Phelps. Mostly commentators and interviewers but also his own team mates. It’s easy to understand why. This guy just hasn’t lived up to expectations. He has lost a race or two.

How can he show his face above water? If I was him, I’d be embarrassed.

I’d be embarrassed for the people criticizing me!

I would stand up and say, “he  who has has not sinned cast the first stone” or in another words, “if you have 19 Olympic medals, including 15 Gold, I’ll listen to your opinion. If not, shut the hell up!”

Do you know how many people that leaves?

ZERO!!!!

I am not talking zero in the room. Not talking zero in this years Olympics. Not even zero on the face of the Earth.

I am saying, one person in the history of mankind has achieved what Michael Phelps has achieved and his name is Michael Phelps.

So before you say Phelps doesn’t train hard enough or Michael doesn’t show the killer instinct any longer  check your trophy case for Olympic gold. Then if you are blessed enough to have a medal – count how many before you speak.

Michael Phelps has brought pride to a nation and we should be grateful. It’s not the other way around.

I don’t know about you but when I see Phelps in a race I know one thing – America has a pretty good chance of hearing our National Anthem being played during the awarding of that event’s medals.

I have seen Mary Lou on the podium. I saw the original Dream Team get gold. I even remember when Spitz ruled the pool and lowered to his head to receive  Olympic gold.

Last night I saw a few young women known as the Fab Five complete a dream and win the team gymnastics Gold.

Like, when Michael Phelps wins, all of those, plus the hundreds more still make me proud to be an American.

To live where little boys and little girls dream a dream and make it come true.

Where a 15 year old can finish fifth in the 200 meter butterfly during 2000 Olympics and make a nation smile.

What doesn’t make me proud is when the same 15 year old rules swimming for 12 years and gets unfair criticism  as his great career winds down.

Michael Phelps has beaten all challengers, for more than a decade but he won’t continue to win them all because no one can out swim father time.

It doesn’t mean he has grown lazy or complacent or any of the other critiques. It just means he is, after all, human.

It also means he should be treated with the respect an Olympian deserves. For he is, without contention, the greatest Olympian of them all.

For that he deserves respect but If you don’t want to do it for Michael Phelps, then do it for the next little boy or little girl, who has a dream.

Because, if we treat a man who has nineteen  medals around his neck, like he is failing, how can we expect a teenager, some where in America, early in the morning , to swim one more lap, to jog one more mile, to do one more handstand?

To dream an Olympic dream.

To see many years ahead, sometimes more years than they have been alive, to envision themselves on the top step of the Olympic podium.

Standing in front of a proud nation, hand on heart, while The Star Spangled Banner plays.

Fifteen times Michael Phelps has given America that moment.

Let’s help inspire the next great Olympian and show them we will still clap after the music stops.

Prove to them when they can no longer reach the top step of their sport we will still be proud.

Not only because they are Olympic champions but because they are America’s champions.

Once that title is won it can never be lost. No matter how hard the critics will try.

So criticize all you want. Try to find fault in our great champions. That sport is as old as the Olympics themselves.

But remember you will never win. Unfair criticism is not awarded medals. No one will play an anthem in your honor.

Those things are reserved for those who participate and become victorious.

I hope, as the critics babble, Michael Phelps remembers this…….

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt.

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