Of course, Phelps should grab pot of gold

why settle for anything less?

August 15, 2004|By PETER SCHMUCK

NOW THAT Michael Phelps has won the first of a possible eight gold medals, isn't it time to dispense with the ridiculous notion that the expectations surrounding America's top Olympian are more inflated than the Goodyear Blimp? I read Kevin Cowherd's column on that subject the other day, and I have only one thing to say, baby:

Seven to go.

If you think some of us have lost perspective with regard to Baltimore's brilliant, handsome, invincible, God-like Olympic swimming superstar, then take your defeatist attitude somewhere else. Boston and Philadelphia probably have some apartments available.

Will it be a disappointment if Phelps wins only five Olympic gold medals? You bet. He should win five gold medals standing on his head - especially now that standing on your head is a new Olympic sport this year.

Don't know about anybody else, but the only thing I'm disappointed about is that Michael signed a big promotional deal with Visa instead of MasterCard. Imagine the possibilities.

"Nose plugs and goggles: $40.

"Swimming lessons at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club: $8,000.

"Travel to swim meets all over the world: $85,000.

"Picture on the front page of The Sun 34 days in a row: Priceless."

The guy I worry about is our photographer Karl Merton Ferron. Think about it. How many different pictures can you get of a guy swimming? There's the face-turning-sideways-in-the-water shot ... the head-popping-up-at-the-end-of-the-race shot ... the two-swimmers-hugging-in-the-pool shot ... and the three-swimmers-waving-from-the-medal-stand shot. And that's just what we needed for The Michael's first event.

Look how far we've come as a society. The Olympians of ancient Greece competed in the nude, but - 2,500 years later - the political wing of the sporting world is in a tizzy because a handful of pretty young Olympic athletes posed topless for Playboy.

High jumper Amy Acuff graces the cover of September's Playboy, which also features a certain controversial interview with attention-starved Philadelphia Eagles toddler Terrell Owens. Acuff and four other U.S. Olympians also grace the cover of FHM, a tamer men's magazine.

In case anyone's interested, I have a spread next month in Fat Old Dudes Quarterly.

Ravens officials were understandably distressed to get the news of Jamal Lewis' Nov. 1 trial date just hours before Thursday night's exhibition game against the Atlanta Falcons at M&T Bank Stadium.

There were even some amateur conspiracy theorists who wondered if it was just a coincidence that an Atlanta federal judge made the announcement as the hometown Falcons were suiting up to get their helmets handed to them in Baltimore.

Those of us who are professional conspiracy theorists think that's a bit of a stretch. If judges took the NFL schedule into consideration every time one of them set a trial date, the entire American judicial system would grind to a halt.

The Ravens have good reason to worry how Lewis' legal situation will affect them as they face two difficult midseason matchups - against the Eagles on Oct. 31 and the rival Cleveland Browns the following Sunday - but Lewis appeared to have the right idea.

Instead of complaining that the trial was not held over until after the season, he insisted that he wanted to get to court as soon as possible to get the situation resolved. Sounds like he is pretty confident about the outcome.

Final word: Priceless moment before Thursday night's exhibition game. When former Redskins QB Joe Theismann entered the stadium alongside fellow ESPN broadcaster Suzy Kolber, a security guard motioned to him and said, "This way, Mr. Namath."

Theismann was slightly taken aback. If the roles in this uncomfortable little case of mistaken identity had been reversed, Namath would have been too busy hitting on Kolber to notice.

Readers can contact Peter Schmuck at peter.schmuck@baltsun.com.

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