Throughout the Olympics, the Baseball Continuum will branch out to give the occasional look at the XXX Summer Olympic Games. This is the Olympics Continuum.
Michael Phelps won two more medals “last night” (actually early afternoon EST, but don’t tell NBC that), bringing his total to 19, making him the greatest Olympian of All Time, as he passed Soviet gymnastics great Larisa Latynina for most medals of any kind.
So now is as good a time as any to note just how great Phelps’ accomplishment is, using one of my favorite methods: fun trivia and facts:
- Phelps first competed in 2000 at Sydney and has had only himself and his relay teammates to gain medals. Despite this, he has only one fewer medals (19) than India, which first sent a competitor in 1900 and has sent them continuously since 1920. Oh, and India has 1.2 billion people. So, yes, it’s entirely possible that, by the end of these games, Michael Phelps will have as many or more medals than the second-largest country in the world has had in history.
- He already has more medals than Venezuela, Chile, Algeria, Pakistan, and various post-Soviet republics.
- His now-15 gold medals is as many Golds as such all-time Olympic greats as Paavo Nurmi (9), Jesse Owens (4) and Jim Thorpe (2) have combined, although admittedly they were in different sports and eras.
- He’s swam 3,500 meters in races that he’s earned a medal- not counting heats and preliminaries. That’s about 2.175 miles. Or about 70 times across the pool.
- It’s the equivalent of him swimming over 38 football fields (not counting end zones).
- He’s won a gold in 71% of all of the events he has done in the Olympics.