Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Phelps loses. Is it the suits?

Of course it's the suits. Michael Phelps, the greatest swimmer of all-time and most famous person to rip it off a bong, came in second in the 200 meter freestyle yesterday at the World Championships in Rome. This was the first individual race that Phelps did not win in four years.

He lost to German Paul Biedermann who set a world record with 1 minute 42.00, shattering Phelps’s year-old world record of 1:42.96. At the Beijing Games, Biedermann finished fifth with a time of 1:46.
Biedermann said, “It was amazing to swim against Michael Phelps. I was there when he won his eighth gold medal. Just to live this moment and now I’m actually faster than him — I feel absolutely great about it.”

Don’t kid yourself Paul – you’re not actually faster than Michael Phelps, based on your more buoyant swimsuit, you were assisted in your victory over Phelps. What would happen if both swimmers competed in cotton boxers? Would Biedermann still be faster than Phelps?

In the first three days of competition, 63% of the races witnessed a world record, or 15 out of 24.

Phelps was unable to “level the playing the field” and use a similar swimsuit since he is sponsored by Speedo. Speedo’s swimsuits are not made entirely of polyurethane like Biedermann’s. FINA has banned these suits startining January 1, 2010, but is now unsure when the ban will take place. The lack of a definitive date has irked Phelps’ coach who has threatened removing him from international competition.

Initially, the goal was to have these swimsuits banned before the World Championships so the record book would not be skewed out of proportion. Unfortunately, with FINA’s lack of progress, they damaged the sport’s biggest stars credibility and now made these current world records that much more difficult to break for future swimmers. Have the decision makers at FINA have been drinking the Kool-Aid from Major League Baseball? If so, time to switch to a new beverage.

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