In case you guys have yet to read it, Michael Phelps has officially broken the record for the most number of medals won in the Olympics. The previous holder of this record was Soviet gymnast, Larisa Latynina. She won a total of 18 medals during the period between 1956 and 1964. Phelps broke the record along with the rest of his United States swim team after they clenched the gold medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay on Tuesday. That was his 19th Olympic medal of his career, which includes an astonishing total of 15 gold medals.
Perhaps one of the questions left in most people heads right now is whether the total number of medals justify him as being the greatest Olympian. As all of us know, swimming events are based on different style and distances. For example, the 100-meter events could consist of freestyle, breast stroke, backstroke and the butterfly. In other words, there are multiple opportunities to claim more medals.
Then again, if you think about it, Phelps is only 27 years of age. Furthermore, all these medals were accumulated in only three Olympics. Let’s also not forget that four years ago in Beijing, he took home eight gold medals. That overtook his fellow US swimmer, Mark Spitz, who had won a record seven in Munich, Germany. Nonetheless, there are many other great Olympians who are often overlooked. Take for example, Birgit Fischer, a German canoeist who won eight canoeing golds over six Olympics. Then, there is also Steve Redgrave, who is considered to be Britain’s greatest Olympian. He accumulated a total of five gold medals from 1984 in Los Angeles all the way to 2000 in Sydney.
“He has been able to pursue multiple golds at his last three Olympic Games, and one might argue that this diminishes his place among the greats. But how do you rank greatness? With 15 gold medals he already has to be listed as one of the finest Olympic athletes ever, and yet I still believe his feat would have been more impressive if he achieved it over six or seven Games,” stated Steve. For the full article, check it out here.
So what are your thoughts? Do you think that Michael Phelps should be given the title as “The Greatest Olympian” for accumulating that many medals over three Olympics? Let’s not forget that the Olympics are not over yet. He could very well add more to his tally of 19 at the moment. We’ll have to see how well he perform in his other events despite him not being at the top of his game currently.