That’s it? No more Michael Phelps in Beijing? |

That’s it? No more Michael Phelps in Beijing?

Devon O'Neil
Vail, CO Colorado

Tired of hearing Michael Phelps’ name yet? Of course you’re not. There is still so much to learn about Aquaman.

We know how many calories he consumes (12,000 per day, including 4,000 at breakfast alone, twice the average human’s daily intake), what he listens to on his iPod (Eminem, Outkast and Young Jeezy, whoever Young Jeezy is), what size shoe he wears (14) and what his favorite thing is to do out of the pool (sleep like a mummy).

However, before the next Summer Olympics, in London in 2012, I would like to know more.

For instance, when Phelps gets out of the pool and takes one of his five daily showers (I’m estimating here), does he twist the Q-tip to clear the water out of his ear, or does he just stick it in straight and then pull it out?

When he goes to the beach, what does he wear? Leggings? Does he tow his surfboard behind him to the lineup? While doing the butterfly?

Also, if Aquaman and the Little Mermaid got together, would the babies be allowed to compete for the U.S.? How about if we cut a slit in their flippers?

Considering NBC brought in more than $1 billion in Olympic ad revenue, I figure there will be enough cash lying around to put toward this reporting assignment over the next four years. (Is Andrea Kremer busy?)

Meantime, on a more serious note, we can dissect whether Phelps is the greatest Olympic athlete in history.


When Mark Spitz raced, the sport was less about chasing perfection than it was a straight physical test. Look at Spitz the year he won seven gold medals. You see a mini-handlebar mustache, a mop on his head sans cap, and thick armpit hair.

Now, as we witnessed numerous times this past week, a stray follicle of hair might mean the difference between gold and silver, history and heartbreak. Swimming is suddenly scientific and complicated.

Which is all the more reason what Phelps did – set or help set seven world records in his eight golden performances – sits on a pedestal all its own. Just like Phelps himself. …

On that note, a lot was made of how easily it seemed swimming’s world records fell in Beijing. In one relay race, five of the eight teams broke the existing record. So you could understand why my friend Jay wondered: “Where will this end? Are they eventually going to finish before they start?” …

Our Quote of the Week stems from news that China has not approved any of the 77 applications to hold protests in one of the three designated Beijing parks. In a few cases Chinese security officials actually whisked away the applicants on the spot, like they had trapped a raccoon in the woods.

It all seemed so confusing and unjust, until Wang Wei, vice president of the Beijing Olympics organizing committee, explained. “We think that you do not really understand China’s reality,” he said. “China has its own version and way of exercising our democracy.” Oh. …

Runner-up for Quote of the Week comes from NBC weightlifting analyst Shane Hamman, moments after a mammoth Russian exulted in celebration for a medal-clinching lift on the clean and jerk. “I bet he’s gonna go outside and start flipping cars now,” Hamman said. …

And we wonder why softball is being dropped from the Olympic docket? Consider: The U.S. has won 21 straight Olympic games and has outscored its opponents 53-1 in seven victories this year, winning five by mercy rule. …

Cool Runnings, Part Deux: Not only did 21-year-old Jamaicans Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser sweep the 100-meter gold medals, but Jamaica also swept the women’s podium behind Fraser. It isn’t often you see global domination from an impoverished Caribbean island. …

Leaving Beijing behind for the moment, few groups of American fans are more in need of a big season from their beloved sports franchise than Broncos fans. So although it is only the preseason, they must’ve been tickled by what they saw from Jay Cutler last weekend.

The diabetic quarterback completed his first 12 passes (for 142 yards and a TD) in Denver’s 23-13 preseason win over Dallas, finishing 16-of-20 for 178 yards and leading the team on two scoring drives. …

In parting, our Headline of the Week comes via “Big Brown ducks Curlin showdown at Saratoga.”

Can’t you just picture Big Brown calling in his decision not to race? “Hello, Mr. Track Director. Large Brown here. Listen, dude, I got a filly lined up back home if you know what I’m sayin’, so count me out for the weekend. Oh, and if Curlin gets nosy, tell him I hurt my hoof again.”

Breckenridge resident Devon O’Neil’s $0.02 column runs Tuesdays. He can be reached at

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