Five reasons that Sports Casters should calm down when it comes to Michael Phelps.

I know Michael Phelps is great and he has the most gold metals ever, both in a single games and overall. I will agree that he had accomplished a task that might never been seen again. I know that nothing can take away from how great of a swimmer.

I ask sportscasters and sportswriters one favor, please stop calling him the greatest Olympian ever. It is hard to compare Olympians over the last 120 years. Many of those athletes did not have the same chances.

1. The professional era of the Olympics is only 20 years old - In the amateur era of the Olympics it would be hard to see any American win ten metals. Paavo Nurmi could have won more, but they pulled his amateur status. What could have Babe Didrikson or Jesse Owens with more than one Olympics to compete in.

2. Swimming gives lots of chances to win metals - A boxer can only win one metal, but has a lot of fights in a single elimination tournament. Team sports only offer the chance for one metal. No matter how good at wrestling you are, you can still only win one metal.

3. More events than ever before - The Olympics have been adding sports every year since it started. Great Olympians of the past might have won more metals if they had more events.

4. Qualification rules have changed - The rules have changed over the years. To say someone is the greatest of all time is saying that everyone is playing under the same rules. This is the reason that baseball is easy to compare over the years. Babe Didrikson qualified for five Olympic events but was only allowed to compete in 3. Phelps did not have this limit.

5. Metal count is a poor measure of greatness - When it comes to the Olympics there are no stats. It is the best in the moment. Metal count is just a number on paper. It goes against why people love the Olympics.

I am not saying that Michael Phelps is not great, just be careful when calling him the greatest of all time. This is a bold claim with no good way to judge.


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