I can't imagine what it's like to actually be Michael Phelps right now. He's won six gold medals, and in the process he's also set six world records. Each time he swims every eye in the world seems to be focused upon him. Everybody expects that he will go on to win two more races and become the first athlete in history to win eight gold medals in one Olympic Games. The pressure he'll be under in the next few days will be enormous ...
I bring all of these factors up because for the first time after one of his gold medal/world record performances this week, Phelps didn't have the same smile and joy on his face after the race. It was almost like he was thinking, "Ok, this one is over, only two more to go." His quote after the 200 meter IM earlier today, said it all.
"The next two races are pretty important," said Phelps, whose sixth world record in China erased his own mark of 1:54.80 at last month's U.S. trials. "I have to conserve as much physical and emotional energy as I can."
The part that stood out to me the most is when he talked about the emotional energy he will need to complete his quest. How much more does he have left in the tank? I believe that Phelps will go on to win gold two more times, securing his place as the greatest Olympian in history. For the first time though, I am starting to wonder if Phelps will have enough energy to finish the task on Sunday morning in Beijing.
What do you think? Will Michael Phelps go on to win two more gold medals, or will the pressure cooker of the next couple races be too overwhelming?
Photo via Getty Images
- Michael Phelps