Swimming events begin Sunday at the FINA World Championships in Rome. This will be more than just the Michael Phelps show, though Phelps will swim in six races (200 freestyle, 100 butterfly 200 butterfly and three relays) and will likely come away with six more medals. Here are some of the things for fans of the U.S. team to look for at the championships:
Aging athletes don't have the agility they had in their youth. Minor injuries accumulate and become major ones. And by the time they hit their mid-30s and 40s, they're considered geriatric -- that's the conventional wisdom.
Eight-time gold medal winner at the Beijing Olympics and multiple world-record holder Michael Phelps warmed up for the Swimming World Championships in Rome by setting a new men's world record in the 100 meters butterfly.
Stewart Cink is a nice golfer -- ranked 29th in the world, a member of the 2008 Ryder Cup-winning U.S. team -- and one of the most affable, accessible guys on the PGA Tour. But the 17th flagstick at Sawgrass has more star power than the laid-back Atlantan. So why does a digital version of Arnie's Army, 280,000 strong and surging, follow Cink's musings on Twitter? Perhaps they are riveted by the revelations that he recently forgot the departure time of a flight, got lost driving around Jacksonville Beach and -- brace yourself -- refilled his allergy medication. Even Cink is bemused. "I'm honored," he said of the size of his audience. "I respect and am grateful to everybody choosing to listen to the b.s. that I've put on Twitter."
Let's start by dispelling some rumors about Dara Torres. She hasn't been talking to the Chinese gymnastics team about age manipulation. She didn't jam the info computers in Beijing with page 457 of her swim résumé. She hasn't reserved a place to jump into the 2047 World Championships to celebrate her 80th birthday when her grandkids could be coaching her.
Well, there's always 48 Hours Mystery on CBS, and ABC appears to be showing another can't-miss episode of Eli Stone. Of course, if you're reading this, it's a safe bet you'll be watching the Michael Phelps coronation. If Phelps and his teammates win the 4x100 medley relay (bet the house, the vacation house and all your other possessions on it), he will become the all-time leader in gold medals in a single games with eight. The scheduled time of the race is 10:58 p.m., the final event of the swimming program in Beijing. "The U.S. should win unless something goes wrong," says Sports Illustrated's Brian Cazeneuve. "But keep in mind that the last time they swam this event at a major competition -- the world championships in 2007 -- something went very wrong. The team was disqualified because of an illegal exchange. Barring that, I just don't think there is a team with four swimmers at the level of the U.S."
Already touted as the greatest ever Olympian, Michael Phelps dominated the 200-meter individual medley on Friday to pick up his sixth gold medal at the Beijing Games -- and then immediately kept alive his chances of a record-equaling seventh.
The U.S. has sent nearly 600 athletes to Beijing for the Olympic Games. But who are they? America's new set of Olympians are from 47 of the 50 states -- as well as athletes who were born in 28 other countries -- and includes identical twins, teenagers, a cancer patient and the daughter of a Super Bowl champion. Who's from the smallest hometown? Which team is the brainest? Which college is represented by the most Olympians? Get to know a little more about Team USA.
The modern Olympic Games have always been a chick-flick moment for women who finally have the camera long enough to turn America's head. They haven't batted their eyes, but performed flips for enough mass adoration to last Mary Lou Retton's lifetime. They haven't vanished as fly-by darlings, but endured as women who have delivered iconic nicknames (Suzy "ChapStick" Chaffee) and haircuts (The Dorothy Hamill 'do) and first-name familiarity (Mia, as in Hamm).