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An Aquatic Machine

The Olympics used to barely register on my radar in my younger years, but in the last couple of times that they’ve come around I’ve been glued to the TV. Even for the…lesser sports…like badminton. But in my more recent appreciation of the Olympics I’ve learned one important thing: Michael Phelps is a master.

And he’s back.

The most decorated Olympian of all time, toting a hefty haul of 23 medals—including 19 golds—this aquatic machine came out of retirement for Rio and appears to be picking up right where he left off. He picked up that 19th gold medal on Sunday night in the 4×100 meters freestyle relay, proving you can dance with the devil’s lettuce, retire, do some Subway commercials, and come right back to absolutely dominating.

The man is simply a Wizard in the Water. The Beast of the Backstroke. The Master of the Medley.

I’ve watched The Sandlot too many times.

Phelps’ return has been one of the biggest stories of the Rio ’16 games so far, and for good reason. Not many athletes can walk away from a sport and return in seemingly the same form (see: Woods, Tiger). It’s a bit of a reclamation tale for Michael Phelps, who saw his public image star fall after a couple of out-of-the-water incidents.

And he’s certainly doing a brilliant job of making people forget about them.

“The Baltimore Bullet” hits the water again tonight, going for the gold in the 200 meter butterfly, and I, for one, will make sure I’m watching.


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