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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-08-17 - 10:58 a.m.

Phelps Falters but Coughlin Cruises

I’m beginning to hate the media…and all that it stands for…or doesn’t stand for anymore. It is one thing to denigrate the U.S. Dream Team, who went to Athens feeling so smug and superior, and then so soundly trounced in their first outing. It’s another entirely to have built Speedo’s challenge to 19-year-old Michael Phelps into something so surreal, and then disparage his incredible achievement when he was unable to meet their fabricated unrealistic expectations.

Seems like they’ll say anything for the sake of alliteration. Headlines hurt. Phelps Falters…fritters away fabulous fortune…Phelps Beaten Again. And then, did they show Phelp’s smiling face as he commented after the swim. No. A cutline below a photo in the Sacramento Bee: “Australia’s Ian Thorpe receiving a congratulatory hug from Pieter van den Hoogenband, as American star Michael Phelps looks disappointed after finishing third.” It made him look disgruntled - kind of a Michael Moore slant on a photo. Having been to a swim meet or two in my life, in that same picture I saw Phelps catching his breath and watching a replay of the race finish, probably gasping for air after swimming the fastest last 50 meters of the field, setting an American record less than one second behind the winner.

What Phelps said, “How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the fastest 200-meter swimmers of all time, and I was right there with them. It was fun.” When asked about losing his opportunity to tie Spitz – and whether he’d be upset at not receiving a $1 million bonus from his swimsuit sponsor, Speedo, he smiled broadly, and said, “How can you say no to that?” It was an opportunity – a challenge – that had him racing more than any other swimmer. Phelps, who has one gold and two bronzes so far in the Games, has had an overwhelming schedule. For instance, last night in less than an hour after the 200-free third place finish, the awards ceremony, signing up for drug testing, and a quick warm-up, he came back and posted the second fastest time in the 200-butterfly semifinals (.08 of a second behind winner).

Phelps Falter? – I don’t think so. The media hype is out of control. Media Messed Up. My husband said as he went off to work this a.m. – “Tell ‘em your DH is P.O.’ed at the Press!”

I agree with this columnist: Congratulations, Kid...You did great! And we got to watch perhaps one of the greatest swim races of all time - so far!

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