Phelps was not satisfied with missing the medal.
There comes a certain burden upon reaching the stratosphere of greatness: the likes reserved to Roger Federer, Lionel Messi, and, of course, Michael Phelps. Succeeding is no longer good enough, you have to dominate.
No one truly expects Phelps to dominate in these events, Ryan Lochte has already passed him as the top promise for medals, but they still believe he is a shoe-in for medals.
The "Shark from Baltimore" has made it clear he has no interest in matching his performance in Beijing, and for some that has meant the athlete (who is competing in 7 events) is lazy, not taking it seriously.
The controversy over his profile photo for the games was the latest reiteration, then came the 8th place qualification to the 400 IM final. Then, there was the final fall, as Phelps was almost half a second from reaching the podium.
It was the first time he lost an Olympic final since Athens 2004 when he was an 18-year old phenomenon debuting in the Olympic Stage.
For some reason, the United States has turned against its golden boy. His quirks, including his less than dignified eating habits, have now become detriments. Wanting to enjoy his last Olympics by not training 24/7 has been criticized rather than praised as someone that doesn't take things for granted his third time around.
Tyler Clary said before the games that Phelps "is looking to get beat". He may have looked that way today in London, unless his talents really have waned that badly in four years.
You could also see his honest disappointment today, when he could hardly exit the Olympic pool after failing to medal.
He only needs three gold medals to become the top medalist of all time. One of those will likely come in the butterfly, his favorite event. That gives him five other events to get the last two, including team events where his strength and Locthe's could ensure a medal.
Phelps already gave the US, and the world, the greatest Olympic performance in history in Beijing, when he hardly interacted with his teammates, be it because he was busy or had an attitude problem, and instead focused on the pool.
Now he is taking a different approach. And just as the criticisms Messi receives for not scoring three goals in every match, the call for a Beijing repeat from Phelps is equally absorbed.
Its time for fans and athletes to enjoy a legend in his last events, rather than scrutinizing and criticizing what may be the last times we see Phelps compete.
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