After Beijing, some wondered whether Michael Phelps’ eight gold medal winning performance would inspire many more young people to take up competitive swimming. My guess is his dramatic success has lead to a slight increase in participation.
One problem though, I wonder if other people are like me and, outside the water, don’t find him the least bit inspiring. He doesn’t appear to have anything interesting to say and seems downright uncomfortable on the national or global stage. I can’t help but wonder what the impact would be on youth swimming if the eight gold medal winner was an articulate, engaging, and even charismatic young man or woman with a social conscience.
Think Cassius Clay in a speedo and goggles.