Michael Phelps is the single most dominant athlete on the planet, bar none - Page 17 - U2 Feedback

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Old 08-13-2008, 02:21 PM   #241
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some concerns that Phelps was looking rather tired after the 200 fly last night, yet he still swam his second fastest time ever in the 200 free.

could Lochte slay the beast in the 200IM? he'll have a battle with Aaron Piersol in the 200 bk beforehand, but Phelps has been sensational all week and he *has* to be tired.

and then there's Crocker waiting in the wings in the 100 fly.

going to be a very interesting next few days.

and poor Katie Hoff. i think the 400 IM shook her, and she's kind of swimming shattered right now.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:26 PM   #242
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Sure, "luck" can always be considered a factor. But this isn't a reason to consider it:


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After 400 m were swam, it was down to mere hundreds of a second.
How much closer would you like it to get before luck can be acknowledged ?

Michael Jordan scored a huuuge percentage of his career's points in the 4th quarter. To me, turning it on at the end is a symbol of a fantastic athlete, not luck that your opponent is tiring out.

Moreover, swimming is a sport where the times are recorded in hundredths for a reason---having a race come down to a few hundredths of a second is the norm, not the exception. That relay was not the first race that's come down to a few hundredths, and it won't be the last; nor was it the first where a swimmer came from behind to win. Using the above logic, we'd have to say that a very large percentage of swimming wins are due to luck.

I have to disagree.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:34 PM   #243
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I don't get your definition of luck.

Yes, sometimes your opponent falters, like a girl falling off the beam, or a French guy swimming slower or whatever. But why does that mean you would have not otherwise won? Would the Chinese girls have won if Sacramone stayed on the beam and didn't fall on the floor? Probably still yes, given the large margin.

It isn't luck that you're a great athlete who performs better against an athlete that has a bad day. You're still a great athlete, whether it be the American swim team, the Chinese gymnasts, or whoever.

Honestly.
I was being sarcastic, since apparently that win - and the 2 second Phelps and 5 second US swim relay win - are comparable to the relay win by a few hundreds of a second.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:46 PM   #244
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Sure, "luck" can always be considered a factor. But this isn't a reason to consider it:





Michael Jordan scored a huuuge percentage of his career's points in the 4th quarter. To me, turning it on at the end is a symbol of a fantastic athlete, not luck that your opponent is tiring out.

Moreover, swimming is a sport where the times are recorded in hundredths for a reason---having a race come down to a few hundredths of a second is the norm, not the exception. That relay was not the first race that's come down to a few hundredths, and it won't be the last; nor was it the first where a swimmer came from behind to win. Using the above logic, we'd have to say that a very large percentage of swimming wins are due to luck.

I have to disagree.
Quarters last 12 minutes in basketball. It's more like the guy that hits the shot for the 3 points to win in the last second.

As I said, if Lezak was doing that kind of "best Olympic ever split" on a reguar basis back in training, sure, that's skill. It looks more like Lezak managed an amazing swim in that particular race (wouldn't be the first or the last time an athlete manages amazing performances, thus causing upsets like that). A team with 0.6 lead with 100 m to swim should have taken it, 9 times out of 10.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:48 PM   #245
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Quarters last 12 minutes in basketball. It's more like the guy that hits the shot for the 3 points to win in the last second.
Absent any other qualifications, this is a pretty awful definition/example of "luck" as well.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:54 PM   #246
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Absent any other qualifications, this is a pretty awful definition/example of "luck" as well.
Well, given how much behind US were, maybe a better comparison would be the lucky shot at the end of the game, half the court away.
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Old 08-13-2008, 02:58 PM   #247
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Moreover, swimming is a sport where the times are recorded in hundredths for a reason---having a race come down to a few hundredths of a second is the norm, not the exception.
Then let's take another sport that introduced hundreds (even thousands) of a second: 100 m sprint. Often they get so close that they use a photofinish to decide the winner, so it comes down to whose chest (or is it the head that counts? not sure) happens to be crossing the line first.

Our local competitor on 110m hurdle race in Atlanta, for example, lost a gold medal to silver because the winner's breast happened to cross the finish line first. With a bit of luck, it could have been her breast and she would have won.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:09 PM   #248
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Our local competitor on 110m hurdle race in Atlanta, for example, lost a gold medal to silver because the winner's breast happened to cross the finish line first. With a bit of luck, it could have been her breast and she would have won.
Did she get implants after that?
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:10 PM   #249
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I think Phelps' success should be credited to skill, not luck. Give credit where credit is due. He wouldn't be where he is on "luck".

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Old 08-13-2008, 03:11 PM   #250
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Did she get implants after that?

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Old 08-13-2008, 03:15 PM   #251
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Alas, no, she didn't.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:16 PM   #252
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I think Phelps' success should be credited to skill, not luck. Give credit where credit is due. He wouldn't be where he is on "luck".

Definitely.
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Old 08-13-2008, 03:21 PM   #253
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and congratulations to Slovenia on winning a silver in the women's 200 free.
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Old 08-13-2008, 06:55 PM   #254
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Quarters last 12 minutes in basketball. It's more like the guy that hits the shot for the 3 points to win in the last second.
Sorry, but I've really got to disagree again. Lezak didn't do better in the last few hundredths of a second. He whooped the guy's ass for the whole last 50m. He was clearly catching up for that whole distance, and most clearly by the last 25m. Given that he stepped it up for the last 1/4 of his portion of the race (1/2 if you'll agree that he picked it up for the last 50m), it's every bit reasonable to compare it to Jordan stepping it up for the last quarter. If Lezak was neck-and-neck with the French guy the whole race through and only stepped it up in the last meter, then your analogy of making a buzzer-beating 3-pointer would hold.

Quote:
Originally Posted by U2girl View Post
Our local competitor on 110m hurdle race in Atlanta, for example, lost a gold medal to silver because the winner's breast happened to cross the finish line first. With a bit of luck, it could have been her breast and she would have won.
Or, with a bit more skill or desire, she might've run a little faster or been a little smarter as she crossed the finish line and tipped her head or breasts or fingertips across the line. I'm not downplaying that there's a possible role for chance. But just as easily as you can claim that the US swim team won by chance and not by skill or drive, I can say that your runner lost because of a lack of drive and the ability to kick it into gear when she had to.

From watching the event, it seems to me that Lezak pulled in the win due to skill and drive. And from reading the below quotes it seems that smarts and cunning played a part, as well:

Quote:
The 32-year-old Lezak was nearly a body length behind Bernard as they made the final turn, but the American hugged the lane rope and stunningly overtook him on the very last stroke.

Wow!

"This has been happening my whole career," Lezak said. "People have gotten on my lane line and sucked off of me, so I figured this is the one opportunity in my whole career to do that."
(from ESPN - Lezak runs down French to win relay gold for U.S. - Olympics)

Never doubt an experienced athlete who 1). was taunted by the opposing team before the match, 2). is a friggin' champion with years of experience, and 3). is competing in the friggin' Olympics. Add to all that the desire to see a teammate and friend accomplish a magnificent feat--one that relies on your own performance--and I think you're greatly overestimating the power of chance and insulting Lezak in the process.
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Old 08-13-2008, 07:29 PM   #255
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If Bernard wasn't the unthinking swimmer he is, Lezak probably would not have benefited as much from the draft as he did.

Credit goes to Lezak for never giving up and being smart enough to hug the lane marker. But credit also has to be given to the fact that Bernard made 2 amateur mistakes by hugging the lane marker at the turn thus dragging a 200 lb man behind him, slowing himself down and saving energy for his opponent to use at the end. And looking over during the last 5 metres instead of just focusing on the wall. If this did not occur, it was unlikely for Lezak to catch him. Drafting only occurs under certain circumstances and Bernard was more than happy to give the opportunity to Lezak which he took full advantage of. I wouldn't call it luck other than just stuff that happens in sport.

Bernard did it again during the 100m heat by lifting his head to turn around to check his time as he reached the wall instead of just finishing along with hugging lane marker again. He learned nothing from the experience.

ETA Phelps is not a lucky athlete by any means. His genetic gifts and incredible work ethic are why he is at a different level than the rest of the swimmers.
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