Thursday, February 5, 2009

High Phlying, Adored

High flying, adored
What happens now,

where do you go from here?
For someone on top of the world
The view is not exactly clear

-- Tim Rice for the "Evita"
duet titled "High Flying, Adored"

It has not been long since posting the two-part series and videos about my colleague, friend and I racing across Beijing to see Michael Phelps' historic eighth victory race at the Water Cube in China.

Methinks this week's headlines about USA Swimming's golden child may have young Mr. Phelps racing to find P.R. counsel somewhere out there (so far he seems to have savvy response to the situation).

With tonight's CNN-posted report on the latest on this "very important story," it's clear now that two big camps are set on the Phelps photo phrenzy.

On one side, you have the "he made a mistake, he's sorry, move on" group -- this side includes the initial comments of the International Olympic Committee, U.S. Olympic Committee, a couple of sponsors and others who see Phelps' transgressions as "no big deal."

On the other side, you have some law enforcement guy who seems eager to take a stand (er, a microphone), and USA Swimming contributing a verse with a short-term official reprimand. One sponsor today made known their intention to join the "Phelps blew it and needs to pay with harsh lessons" end of the spectrum (I love how the Kellogg's website still has a Phelps poster offer online -- but I have the clock running and taking bets it won't be there much longer after they read this post).

The way I see it, since Phelps' actions did not cause any physical injury to himself nor others, and since he did not drive while under the influence, then a "no harm, no foul" attitude should apply. Let it go. Move on. Etc.

Should the South Carolina law enforcement eager beaver(s) pursue this Phelps case any further?

My answer is NO! ABSOLUTELY NO!

My thought here is that there are likely much bigger crimes and "bad guys" in the region where Phelps' bong photo was snapped, and these bigger crimes -- like drunk driving, burglaries, robberies, prostitution and the like -- should be pursued rather than milking the Phelps phfiasco.

Is anyone with that Carolina sheriff or prosecutor's office trying to go after the drug DEALERS in their community?

Paraphrasing coaches of a few Olympic team events, the instruction to "keep your eye on the ball, guys" somewhat applies.

As for CNN, I would like to see them stop reporting celebrity drivel and START reporting on real news items like the Bush-initiated $592 million U.S. Embassy (my nickname for it: the "abomination") that I suspect is one of the true reasons our nation cannot pull out of the Republic of Iraq (would you pull up stakes after investing $592 million in a new building -- the same price as a decent Olympic Stadium or the same price as thousands of improved schools and hospitals stateside?).

But don't get me started.

And as for Phelps, I look forward to the potential of a "natural high" that may come from witnessing him swimming again at London 2012.

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