Sunday, August 5, 2012

Your Mission, Mr. Phelps...

Indianapollis, August 8, 2,000: a gangly 15 year old from North Baltimore grabs a snack and heads back to his room, restless on the eve of his first Olympic trials.  As he passes a phone booth (hey - it was Indianapolis in the year 2,000) the sudden first ring of the phone startles him and he pauses.  Three, four, five rings, finally he thinks why not and picks up the handset.  Before he can start a "hello", a deep but otherwise nondescript voice instructs him, "Michael, open the envelope taped to the bottom of the shelf below the phone" and then the call goes to dial tone.   After a momentary hesitation, he grabs the envelope, opens it carefully and slides out a small tape recorder, loaded with a tape and a print of the classic photo of Mark Spitz wearing his seven gold medals. Hitting play, the deep, non-descript voice returns: "Mr. Phelps, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to win twenty-two Olympic medals, eighteen of them gold, eight of those golds won in a single Olympics, to become the greatest swimmer and most decorated Olympian in history and to turn this photo into the answer to a trivia question.  This tape will self-destruct in five seconds."  His jaw drops as he stands in stunned silence for a moment, but he's forced to move quickly when an acrid smoke fills the booth.

Congratulations, Mr. Phelps, maybe that last national anthem should have included an encore