Nearing end of Phelps-o-mania

Phelps Fever

August 21, 2004|By Rob Hiaasen

Every fever must break, and this one broke a day early.

It's not like we've been deprived of seeing enough of Michael Phelps. We've even peeked at his Olympic rings tattoo, engraved just months after his return from Sydney in 2000 - as if there was any question then as to his master plan! Since then, we've dissected Phelps' wing span, body fat, flip turns, tricked-out Caddy, records broken, hearts won and grazing habits. All we've missed is his dental records.

Phelps, who offered Ian Crocker his spot in today's medley, still is likely to come home with eight medals. Swimming in the preliminaries earns Phelps a medal if the U.S. team reaches the podium.

After 14 races in seven days, it's just a matter of time until Phelps' face makes the cover of a Wheaties box. A White House invite is probably a lock, and no telling what Baltimore is cooking up for his homecoming.

Faster than you think, attention will turn to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, where 23-year-old Michael Phelps will be expected to ... what, best his best this week when he also showed himself to be a true-blue team player? Is that possible? No, that's crazy talk.

Right?

Phelps' medal count: Five gold and two bronze

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