THE PLANK AUGUST 13, 2008
The greatest Olympic athlete of all time emerged from the pool last night as Michael Phelps won his tenth—and then eleventh!—gold medal. He is beyond comprehension: Not only has he won five gold medals in just this Olympics so far, each of those five was won with a world record pace. In the butterfly event last night, he broke his own record for the seventh time—a record he alone has held since 2001. And a mere 54 minutes later, he and his teammates crushed the relay world record by a staggering five seconds. Speaking of five seconds, Michael Phelps routinely swims five seconds faster than Rowdy Gaines’ best times from just 20 years ago. If Olympic swimmers improve by five seconds every 20 years, we will be a nation of dolphins before you know it. It’s like Phelps is pushing the boundaries of human capabilities so far that it seems as if anything is physically possible.