One word for the Michael Phelps' profile in the current Sports Illustrated - the Sportsman of the Year issue: terrific.
SI's Alan Shipnuck goes deep inside Phelps' world, deeper than previous stories I have read. There are a number of good insights into childhood experiences that shaped the Phelps we know. Also, some interviews with Baltimore locals who remember a kid intensely driven (internally, if not parentally).
This is from the piece: "When Michael was 15, he told me he wanted to change the sport of swimming," says Cathy Lears Bennett, the instructor for Meadowbrook's swim school who taught a seven-year-old Phelps to swim. "It was like, 'Yeah, right, who told you to say that, kid?' But he always had a vision that swimming could become important to American fans."
I take exception to one throwaway line in Shipnuck's piece, as a member of Meadowbrook, the anything-but-glamorous fitness club in Baltimore where Phelps and dozens of other Olympic hopefuls train - and I stay, um, fit. It's the one in which the reporter describes the diverse clientele at Meadowbrook. "When Phelps resumes training next month, he will sometimes find himself in a lane next to kids in swim diapers or seniors trying to loosen up arthritic joints."
Watch whose joints you're dissing, bud.