Michael Phelps: A Real Champion for American Youth

In this era of Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, American youth are rarely inspired by their fellow Americans, especially from their own generation. But such an inspiration emerged during the recent Olympic Games, an American swimmer named Michael Phelps.

During the 2004 Olympic Games, Phelps had an opportunity to become even more of a household name than he became when he tied the record for most gold medals won during a single Olympic year. Phelps tied the long-standing record of his fellow American swimmer, Mark Spitz, who won 7 gold medals during the 1964 Olympics in Munich, Germany, the games marred by the slaughter of many Israeli Olympians by Muslim barbarians.

In the Olympic Games in Beijing, China this month, Michael Phelps broke his and Spitz' record by winning an astounding total of 8 gold medals, accounting for almost 25% of America's gold medal in the 2008 Olympics. Yet, Phelps could have reached this world record -- for most gold medals in an Olympic year -- four years ago.

Instead, this American hero declined to swim in a relay event at the end of the 2004 Olympics in which the American swimmers were heavily favored to win a gold medal and did indeed win the gold medal. That year, Michael Phelps decided to give the opportunity to win a gold medal to a fellow American swimmer, thus bypassing even more glory and riches than he actually received after the 2004 Olympic Games.

When Phelps made this extremely unselfish act, he had no idea whether or not he could remain a strong competitive swimmer for the next four years before the 2008 Olympic Games or if other swimmers in the world would emerge who would challenge him for the gold medal in any of the swimming events in which he competed.

Maybe, because of his great act of grace, Michael Phelps not only went on to win 8 gold medals in the 2008 Olympics, but actually set 7 world records as he became the greatest Olympic champion in history. Americans are rightly proud of this native son who has set a tremendous example for our American youth.

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