Show's over Mr. Phelps, take a bow. As the Unites State's 4x100 medley team touched the wall Saturday the career of the Greatest Olympian the world has ever known came to an end.
Michael Phelps is calling it quits. The young man who began swimming at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club and skyrocketed to the Olympic mountain top is going out on top. Way on top! Phelps's 22 Career Olympic Medals, 18 of them Gold, place Phelps in a galaxy of success that will more than likely never be visited by another Olympian.
In each generation there are athletes who are just head and shoulders above their peers; dominating not only their sport, but transcending into a worldwide figure of greatness. For some that figure is Joe Louis, for others its Ali and for many including Phelps greatness is "His Airness" Michael Jordan. Phelps is that transcending athlete for this generation and can rest assure that his face belongs on the American Athletes version of Mt. Rushmore.
The Baltimore Bullet garnered our attention as a 19 year old 6 time gold medalist in Athens, amazed us in Beijing with his 8 gold medals and brought us to our feet to applaud him in London as he reached the mountain top.
When asked by NBC's Bob Costas if he would reconsider his retirement like his idol Michael Jordan The Baltimore Bullet quickly restated his position, "I can look back at my career, hang up my suit and say I've done everything I wanted to do." Phelps also spoke about enjoying being apart of taking the sport of swimming to another level and feeling confident that the torch is ready to be passed to the next generation of swimming greats.
That next generation which will more than likely be led by Missy Franklin and Katie Ledecky, who both grew up idolizing Phelps as so many young aspiring swimmers have over the past few years. In fact ,his impact on the sport of swimming will be his greatest achievement as children all over the world will now dive into the pool with the hopes of being the next Michael Phelps.
The Phelps Effect will do for swimming what the "Tiger Effect" did for golf and what "Air Jordan" did for basketball. But for now we should stand, admire and applaud The Greatest Olympian of All Time for allowing us the opportunity to watch a career that may never be equaled. Thank You Michael! Thank You!