Phelps, he swims, he does it really well. According to our standards, he's not only the best swimmer we've known, he's also one of the world's greatest athletes. Like him or not, that's pretty much a fact. He's got a crazy underbite, he's not too bright, he's kind of a freak if you don't see him swimming, but he's a winner!
And, to that point, let's put that in perspective:
- His 18 golds since the Athens Games would rank 12th overall for all nations, ahead of traditional Olympic powers like Romania, Poland, the Netherlands, Cuba and Spain.
- There have been 48 men's swimming events contested in the three Olympics since Phelps started winning golds. He's medaled in 22. That's 46 percent! Keep in mind he's only competed in 24.
- Phelps (population: 1) has as many medals as India (population: 1.24 billion)... interesting ratio.
- Argentina has produced famous soccer players (Maradona), Grand Slam tennis champions (Gabriela Sabatini, Juan Martin Del Potro) and NBA stars (Manu Ginobli), and has one less Olympic gold than Phelps in its 112-year Olympic history.
- Add the total golds won by Israel, Panama, Peru, Ghana, Philippines, Serbia, Portugal, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Nigeria and Croatia... They still don't approach Phelps' haul.
Pretty impressive, for a guy who in 2009, after winning the world's heart and admiration and a couple pounds of medals, was shown to be familiar with the intricacies of a bong (see pic below) - good for him...
You know, if McDonald's can be the sponsor for the Olympics, why can't athletes burn if they choose? We're talking about a country that makes Heroin, with a 35% addiction rate a Class One substance and a societal stigma and shame, but we keep Nicotine, which has an addiction rate of 80%, readily available and part of the culture.
This is the same culture that celebrates sports by enjoying legal alcohol which has a LD (lethal dosage) that is clearly in the toxic range. Most authorities agree that blood alcohol concentrations in the 0.40 - 0.50% range meet the requirements for the LD:50. This means that 50% of users will encounter a lethal dose at the measurement.
To put that in perspective - a 100-pound woman or man who consumed 9-10 standard drinks, respectively, in less than an hour would be in the LD:50 range.
A 200-pound man would have to consume about 5-6 drinks per hour for 4 hours to reach the LD:50. Think that is unrealistic? Well, you haven't been out in the worlds lately... participating in drinking "games", parties, big nights out, bachelor/ette parties, hazing or club "initiations" often involves highly unregulated alcohol consumption.
How about the doobie - the pernicious weed? Well, let's be clear - google 'alcohol poisoning deaths' and there is a good chance you'll find one in the last hour, or in a longer spell, in your hometown. There actually really isn't a LD for Marijuana, because they haven't ever had a cited case of anyone dying from smoking it.
But, they've got to do studies - so check this: According to the Merck Index , 12th edition, THC has a LD50 (dose killing half of the research subjects) value of 1270 mg/kg (male rats) and 730 mg/kg (female rats) administered orally dissolved in sesame oil. The LD50 value for rats by inhalation of THC is 42 mg/kg of body weight.
What the hell does that mean, those are rats! One estimate of Cannabis's LD50 for humans indicates that about 150 pounds of marijuana would have to be smoked within 15 minutes. Now, I've seen partying, but never anything that would be able to make that happen!
It's science, but in our culture, we hate that - Evolution, Climate Change, Diet and Obesity, etc...
Now, this year, of course in preparation for the Golds, Phelp's crew spent a lot of time talking about his 'youthful indiscretions', but as you can see if you watch the video below, at the end they are just as incredulous as I am!
Does it matter - sure it does, when we make an industry out of incarcerating disproportional amounts of our minority youth for a non-violent offense that is less detrimental to the society than the Alcohol Industry has proven itself to be.
Obama might be the only African-American you know who can admit with impunity, then and now, that he smoked weed and actually sit in office and conduct more raids on Medical Marijuana dispensaries than ever before. He is really in love with 'war'; for all of his positive traits, this desire to wage war is incomprehensible - both foreign and domestic.
Teddy Kennedy, driving drunk and killing a girl, forgivable... Michael Phelps and Obama 'cleaned' themselves up and redeem themselves... I'm in the Bill Gates camp - best thing he did was trip on LSD and backpack the world. Why not get real.
So - Michael Phelps, why not say that you smoke pot, or did smoke pot and that it just really doesn't matter? Like you had a couple of beers, like you ate at McDonalds... both of those are proven killers and culturally lovable. It clearly didn't effect your performance.
Wake up - give thanks and praise that you weren't 17, African-American, and caught smoking a doobie after school...
Until some of our national heroes come out of the Pot Closet, we'll just keep punishing those who have no advocates, and feeling smug over our cocktails!