He has little in common with a rival

ATHENS OLYMPICS: Measuring the margin of victory

August 16, 2004

One listens to Eminem. The other likes the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

One drives a Cadillac Escalade. The other prefers a sporty Audi.

One likes the chocolate chip pancakes at Pete's Grille. The other has a taste for sashimi.

The gulf between Michael Phelps and Ian Thorpe can seem as wide as the distance between their hometowns - Baltimore and Sydney. Phelps is the lovable, goofy kid who plays video games with his friends. Thorpe, on the other hand, has rock star hair and matinee idol looks, plus his own underwear line.

The two young princes of swimming face off tonight in the 200 meter freestyle. Who has the edge? Phelps entered tonight's race, even though he is not favored, just for the chance to take on Thorpe. Yet Thorpe withdrew from the 200 meter individual medley, in which Phelps is favored. How do they say wimp in Australian?

Advantage: Phelps.

- Stephen Kiehl

Medal count: One gold and one bronze




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