December 23, 2008

The AP “Athlete” of the year

by Dan Bilicki In: Olympics

Since 2008 is very quickly coming to an end, we’re going to start seeing year-in-review and greatest-moments-of-the-year type articles and awards popping up everywhere. The first of which that I’ve seen is the Associated Press athlete of year award and if this where these awards are going, I don’t want to see any more handed out.

I’ve argued it before and I’ll argue it again, Michael Phelps is the best swimmer in the world but he is by no means the best athlete this year and certainly not ever. But since he won eight gold medals at the Olympics, he received 172 votes for this award when the real star of The Games, Usain Bolt, finished second in voting with five tallies.

172-5. Seriously. Setting a World Record in the premier event of all athletics and setting a World Record in a year where swimming records were going down like a cheap prostitute are two completely different things: The first one is something special, the latter is like setting the record for longest sand-boarding jump simply because you were the second person to ever try it.

There’s also a few other guys who received votes but had no business doing so…

Michael Beasley: Being the second overall pick in the NBA draft is nice and you were a really good player in college, but you were no athlete of the year. Beasley did nothing special to deserve this honour.

Eli Manning: The only notable thing he did was escape a sack, throw a Hail Mary pass that his receiver caught on his helmet. That’s more luck than anything. He has had a good season this year but he’s not even an MVP candidate in my books.

Now, my favourite… Kerry Collins: I’m very sure that whoever placed this vote must have thought this was the “story of the year” award because as nice as the Titans have been playing under Kerry, this award, like an undefeated season, is way over his head.

Swimming is a specialized sport that many participants go into because they suck hard at real sports. Swimming is just an activity, it could be argued. Why the fastest man in the world isn’t the athlete of the year while a prolific swimmer is, I don’t know. But one thing is for certain, Michael Phelps will never get my vote for athlete of the year.

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