Four Gold Medals in four sequential events. What’s so unusual about Michael Phelps?
He’s worth about $44 million but that’s going to double or triple very fast because of his extraordinary performance. Why is he so great?
Science can provide some answers. He’s Juicing …… but there’s absolutely no evidence of doping.
Michael has been swimming and competing for a long time. That gives him advantages over people who don’t swim as much which means most of us.
He’s taller, 6 feet 4 inches so his arms are longer which gives him an advantage over shorter swimmers. Well he’s been beaten by smaller competitors so that’s not it.
He’s double jointed so his size 14 feet propel him like big rubber flippers. Nope and no. There’s an optimal amount of movement for each joint when doing the various strokes: butterfly, breast stroke, back stroke and freestyle, so having a greater range than most people doesn’t mean double jointedness is a major advantage otherwise all medal winners would be double jointed but they are not. And having a bigger body means having to propel a bigger mass that also has more skin friction to overcome so it’s nothing anatomical. Otherwise the tallest person would always win so why not just measure the competitors and declare the tallest person the gold medal winner? Because being taller is not always an advantage.
He pushes himself harder. It’s his inner drive, his spirit and his mindset that helps tremendously but many athletes have the drive to win but Michael said in a brief interview that he has pain when he competes. That’s something unusual. Most people will avoid things that cause pain. It means Michael is driving himself much harder than normal. Playing until it hurts is supposed to prove someone is trying too hard. Michael plays even when it hurts. He’s pushing his body harder than most people.
Being a champion means doing a lot of things better than other people. A large number of small things can add up to how Michael Phelps wins. He’s very normal except for winning so often. So normal; so great. Isn’t that the way most people live? Life is a victory. Phelps is a great and admirable champion.