Michael Phelps: Olympic Stud of the Day

Michaelphelps_lWe knew this day was coming. We held out as long as we could (honest!), but who else could be our Olympic Stud of the Day but the unstoppable Michael Phelps? The 23-year-old human fish not only captured his seventh gold medal in the 100M butterfly, tying Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record for most golds won in a single Olympiad, but Phelps did it by the narrowest margin possible — one one hundredth of a second. The race was so infinitesimally close, that if it weren’t for the electronic touch pads fixed to the pool wall, no one would have believed Phelps had finished first. (His own mother was waving two fingers signaling a silver medal finish.)

What made his seventh win even more jaw dropping (and believe me, my jaw dropped), was the fact that at the turn he was seventh out of eight swimmers. He made up significant ground (or would it be water?) in the final seconds, but when frontrunner Milorad Cavic of Serbia reached for the wall while Phelps was in the midst of his final half stroke, it looked as though the University of Michigan student’s dream of eight gold medals was done for. But this is Michael Phelps we’re talking about. The phenom inexplicably managed to circle his beanstalk arms around and touch the wall just before Cavic could glide to victory. Races just don’t get better — or closer — than that. Phelps will have the chance to best his and Spitz’s record tomorrow as he swims his last race, the butterfly leg of the 4 x 100M medley relay. Whether he wins or loses, Phelps has accomplished something only one other person in history can say he’s done. And in my book, that’s pretty neat.

Honorable mentions: Though Phelps stood atop the medal podium, it was the tall, dark, and dreamy silver place finisher Cavic and blond bronze medalist Andrew Lauterstein of Australia who held my attention. Meanwhile, another swimmer, 41-year-old mom Dara Torres, deserves props for halting the start of her 50M heat until a fellow competitor could slink into a new suit after hers ripped. And on the track, Jamaica’s Usain Bolt ran his quarter final 100M dash in a speedy 9.92 seconds but made it look as though it required no more energy or concentration than a Sunday afternoon jog through Central Park.

Now it’s your turn: Nominate your own Olympic Stud of the Day* — or second ours — below. (Then click here to check out our winning Studs from the previous days in Beijing.)

* Not just a man or woman who turns us on. (Necessarily.)

addCredit(“Michael Phelps: Jamie Squire/Getty Images”)

Comments (69 total) Add your comment
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  • Kelly

    Phelps definately deserves the title today. That was an amazing race and it was great to hear all the praise Mark Spitz gave to him afterwards and Michael truly is a gracious winner.

  • Patty

    Can Phelps’ swim pants ride any lower on his hips – yikes! Luckily they are far too tight to ever fall down.
    BTW he was never a UM student, just swam for Club Wolverine. We would love to claim him as our own, but it isn’t technically true; he just trained here in lovely Ann Arbor.

  • Jenn67

    Thank you for mentioning Dara Torres in your OSOTD. When she asked the judge to delay the start so the other swimmer could get into a new suit, I was so proud. I am a 41 year old mother myself (who does NOT even closely resemble Dara’s physique…I wish!) and I was so impressed by her sportsmanship. It was truly the mom in her who came out at that moment, making sure everyone had a fair shot. I tell ya, mothers should rule the world.

  • MsDaisy

    I can’t argue with the choice of Phelps…but darn, that Mark Spitz is still pretty studly himself 36 years after winning his 7 golds. I was 13 yrs old at the time and I admit to a major crush on Mr. Spitz.

  • Crystal

    As I clicked on to popwatch this a.m., I was like “it’s gotta be Phelps – gotta be!” that race last night was…whoa. Here’s a great column about it in the Times:
    http://www.latimes.com/la-sp-olyplaschke16-2008aug16,0,2068271.column
    Stud of the Day indeed!

  • KG

    i concur. phelps’ come-from-behind finish was a stud moment. and cavic is yummy. mmm. mommy phelps is adorable too. i literally LOL’d when she collapsed to her seat as she couldn’t believe her son got to first place. the guy in front of her was HILARIOUS!

  • Martin Haro

    OMG – he didn’t swim the distance, but have you SEEN Britain’s Mark Foster.
    Oh dear – I need a tissue.
    http://moviemartin.blogspot.com

  • andreia

    eu achei vc muito bonito um beijo de boa sorte nais suas competições

  • AA

    Good on the Phelps pick–it was unbelievably close! Could someone enlighten this Canadian, though? This morning, at 9:30 central time, I watched what I thought is generally considered the premier event of all summer Olympics: the 100M men’s sprint final. It was a phenomenal race, but when I flipped to NBC, they weren’t even showing it! I mean, I realize it wasn’t primetime, but it was a Saturday morning! I won’t spoil who won it (in case you haven’t seen it), but I would recommend tuning in, if it hasn’t aired yet! Because I know who I want the next OSOTD to be!!

  • sam

    The perfect choice for today–it was a great evening. I was so glad to see that Mark Spitz has not only aged very very well (I recall my school girl crush on him–sigh), but he is still a gracious and eloquent man. And Dara was incredible in and out of the pool last night. What a great evening for sportsmanship and history.

  • Mary Cullen

    Michael Phelps is freaking unbelieveable! He really is just, awesomely amazing:)
    GO PHELPS!!!!

  • Michelle

    Michael isn’t just SOTD he’s Stud of the Olympics! But that race last night was incredible! I couldn’t even watch the last ten meters. Then watching Michael’s face when he realized he won…priceless!

  • Sarah C

    I already know who should play Cavic in Phelps’s any-day-now TV biopic: Bobby Cannavale. You know, minus 10 years.
    For tomorrow’s OSD, I’m still holding out hope for Aaron Peirsol (not Piersol, people!). Still studly even after giving the gold to Lochte in the 200 Back. I can’t wait to see him in the medley relay.

  • Melinda65

    I’m sorry, but Spitz lost a lot of respect from me when I read an article in which he was complaining about not being invited to Beijing to watch Phelps attempt to break his record, and how he was in Athens but was never shown on camera; that it was demeaning to him to be at the Games anonymously. He can’t just buy a ticket and go–he has to be invited and given a bunch of hoopla or it doesn’t count.
    http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5hLnTiMa1nwi9qHodVSMCWbP2WBdQ

  • Chella

    Did you see the interview with Debbie Phelps this afternoon on NBC? She talked about how Michael was teased as a kid because he was so awkward looking. She was crying, and I was crying. Not only is he this amazing swimmer, but he really seems like a good guy.

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