Phelps’s photo finish [updated]

The story of the Olympics thus far is swimmer Michael Phelps, of the U.S.A., winning eight gold medals. Wow!

The closest of the eight races was the 100 metre butterfly. The official margin of victory was 1/100th of a second.

Sports Illustrated has a terrific series of photographs showing how unlikely Phelps’s victory was. I’ve edited together the three crucial frames.


In the first frame (top left), it seems impossible for Phelps (the swimmer on the left) to win. In the second frame (top right), Phelps has closed the gap considerably — but Serbia’s Milorad Cavic is so close to touching the wall!

And yet, in the final frame (bottom), it is Phelps whose fingers are bent back against the wall. It’s clearer in the full sized photo in Sports Illustrated, but Phelps has indeed pulled out another victory.

btw, the first photo in the series is worth checking out just to marvel at Phelps’s muscles.

Update:  here’s another photo, via the LA Times, which shows off Phelps’s physique. The Times comments on how low Phelps’s swim suit is riding, but it’s the chiselled torso that caught my attention. A little beefcake for female viewers …

Michael Phelps chiselled torso


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. juggling mother
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 02:50:59

    I liked the BBC’s comment that if Phelps was a country he’d be in the top ten on the medals table:)

    But here in the UK we’ve finally stopped having to spend all our news on US winners – even Phelps – we’ve had the best games for a century and are revelling in actually winning again:) I wonder if the Daily Mail readers will stop whining about the extra £10 per person tax levied to pay for the olympics here in 2012 now?

    Trust me to leave the world of sport just as the money starts to be thrown at it *grin*


  2. Zayna
    Aug 20, 2008 @ 22:06:20

    Beefcake? Maybe it’s just me but when you can see the muscles so clearly that you easily imagine them without the skin…that’s neither beef nor cake.

    That’s just tendons and veins…ewwww. Certainly not something I could imagine myself cuddling up with.


  3. Stephen
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 07:38:37

    • Juggling Mother:
    Canada got off to a very slow start in this Olympics, winning no medals during the first eight days! Since then, we’ve made up for lost time and increased our total to thirteen medals. Perhaps the most inspirational was the silver medal won by Simon Whitfield in the triathlon, unexpectedly, in a very gritty performance.

    Thirteen medals (and counting) is about standard for Canada, though we picked up 22 medals in Atlanta (and 44 in Los Angeles, when the communist countries boycotted the games).

    • Zayna:
    I wondered about that! If you prefer a less sinuey look, well, I’m flattered. 😉


  4. nebcanuck
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 07:54:38

    I wondered about the UK, to be honest! When I saw that they were third in the gold count thus far, I wondered to myself about whether the UK was a regular contender for the top three spots. I didn’t think so!

    It’s cool to hear that that subconscious memory was right! I’m afraid I really have never paid too too much attention to the Olympics, and only really knew that the US, China, and Australia all had good teams!

    This Phelps story is pretty amazing though. Albert Mohler was talking about him on the news part of his radio show, and quoted some statistics. Apparently he eats 12000 calories a day! Mohler’s response? “Apparently the secret to eating as much as six people and staying thin is to swim 50 miles every week!” Fifty miles!

    My muscles ache just thinking about it!


  5. juggling mother
    Aug 21, 2008 @ 13:28:37

    Actually, for our size, we haven’t done too badly – but never as well as our (rather inflated) ego and (totally unrealistic) nostalgia thinks we should:)

    But this has been a particularly good olympics for us. Ofcourse, we’re never satisfied – I’ve heard a number of people eyeing the second place with a wishful “if only we could overtake the USA…”

    I used to swim 7-10 miles a week as a mediocre club swimmer. 50 sounds quite a lot, but then again, he does have quite a lot of medals to show for it LOL!


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