OK, so at this point, the question isn't whether Michael Phelps is the greatest Olympian of all time, but if Phelps will finish these Olympic Games as considered the greatest athlete of all time, period.
That's the lead of today's SN column, and I don't think the superlative is misplaced.
Meanwhile, Katie Hoff continues a string of disappointing finishes. Given that she finished 4th, waited an hour, then finished 4th again, is she too over-scheduled to compete at this level?
Speaking of this level, I can't get worked up over the underlying allegations that China is using underaged gymnasts -- underfed, yes. But underaged? Well, consider that plenty of folks questioned how old LeBron James and Greg Oden were when they were in high school. (Hmm: Nobody questioned Chris Drury's age. You connect the dots.)
Actually, if anything, I don't understand why it's OK for that 14-year-old British diver to compete, but it's not OK for a 14- or 15-year-old gymnast to compete. I say: If you're good enough to make the Olympics, it doesn't matter what age you are. (It's like the NBA: If you're good enough to play in the NBA at 18, you shouldn't be kept out by an age limit.) If nowhere else, shouldn't the Olympics be the ultimate meritocracy?
Meanwhile, you can see it coming: The Rays are on the precipice of folding (Longoria out with the broken wrist; Crawford out for the rest of the season), while the Red Sox are surging, winning games that can be labeled the wildest of the year in MLB. David Ortiz produces more points than Matt Cassel. I think we'll look back at yesterday as the Day the Rays Began Their Collapse. I hope I'm wrong.
Oh, and today is Madden 09 release day. I usually don't get too excited: I have a Wii and, historically, I'm atrocious at Madden. (I prefer the CFB '09 anyway, and the streamlined gameplay of Wii version is just my speed and highly recommended if you're a casual Wii gamer, like me.)
But I absolutely recognize that today has become, for many, a virtual sports national holiday -- in the Quickie two years ago (oh, in those glorious final-month throes before it ended), I argued that "Madden Day" was the biggest single sports weekday of the year, behind only the first two days of the NCAA Tournament. (New Year's Day, if it falls on a weekday, doesn't count.)
For those of you who care about Madden, enjoy the holiday.
Complete SN column here.