Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Before Berens struck gold, I was his media 'mob'

Ricky Berens, mobbed by 500 journalists in Beijing?

I remember when I was the “mob”, usually with an Observer photographer, not-so-crowding Berens as a standout swimmer at South Mecklenburg High.

Berens won an Olympic gold medal in the men's’ 4 x 200 freestyle relay yesterday, with his famous relay pal Michael Phelps. Got some encouraging words from President Bush. Watched the NBA guys playing basketball in the Olympics.

And, he sparked I-know-that-guy pride all around Charlotte.

Berens, 20, was the state’s best when he was in high school. He’d often win races by 10 or 12 seconds. Now he swims in an elite college program (Texas) and is being targeted as a hot swimmer for the 2012 Olympics.

As a high schooler, Berens was confident, but not braggy. I remember he’d often talk about the importance of how the team would fare, not just rambling on about his races.

Leslie Berens, his mom, coached at South Meck before Ricky arrived there. She often (and still does) urged me to write about South Meck swimming, but never once said “Do a story on Ricky.”

It was always about South Meck’s chances, or the girls’ team, or some up-and-coming crop that was going to make the Sabres a contender.

Today – on an international stage – it’s about Ricky.

And it should be.

- Cliff Mehrtens


Anonymous said...

Speaking of the Olympics and swimming and now the great Michael Phelps we just just cant let Langston Wertz in another article get away with a slap at him with his lame comparion diversion of Mark Spitz and Jesse Owens.

Mr. Wertz who has laughably called a golfer Tiger Woods the #1 athlete on the planet, even better than Peyton Manning, needs to sit back and take a deep breath and instead of dissing or saying anything good about Phelps should be congratulating him. Jealousy and envy? Thats too bad.

Michael Phelps has accomplished a feat never before done with 8 gold Olypmic medals and will sign a 50 million Nike contract over twice that of what novelty Woods signed.

There is also no question that Spitz 7 gold Olympic medals in the 1972 Munich games made him greater than Jesse Owens who only won 4 gold in the 1936 Berlin games directed and watched intently by Adolph Hitler. Spitz 7 golds at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games an achievement surpassed only by Phelps 8 golds of these Beijeng Olympics.

Between 1968 and 1972 Spitz won nine Olympic gold medals one silver and one bronze five Pan American golds 31 National U.S. Amateur Athletic Union titles, and eight U.S. National Collegiate Athletic Association Championships. He set 33 world records. He was named World Swimmer of the Year in 1969, 1971 and 1972.

So much for Jesses 4 golds that are still nothing to sneeze for winning the 100 and 200 meters, long jump and on the 100 meter relay team.

The US media wrote that Hitler had snubbed him but later Owens corrected this was a lie and that Hitler not only shook his hand personally but waved to him a few times after he won events.

In contrast Owens stated that it was FDR who had snubbed him not Hitler. Owens stated FDR never invited him to the WH to congratulate him. So much for fairness reporting.

The sport of swimming is by far the more difficult technical and physically draining than track and field involving extreme ultimate physical endurance techique and raw power.

Comparing track and field to swimming or diving is apples to oranges although the latter is clearly much more difficult. Clearly Mark Spitz was overall and by far the superior athlete to Jesse Owens just as Tiger Woods is no comparison to Peyton Manning.

Furthurmore it can be accurately stated without question that Micheal Phelps is now not only the #1 athlete on the planet today but the unquiestionably #1 world athlete alltime at least in the past 100 years since the Olympics have been reformulated. These Olympics involve the creme de la creme of the best the world has to offer.

Phelps has clearly now proven himself the undisputed #1 alltime KING of the athletic world in all of history.

Anonymous said...

hey yall dont be jumpin on my homeboy Dubdawg or yall gonna deal with all us Lions. Phelps or whatever his name aint the best either and dont nobody like swimmin or badmitton or whatever he do.The baddest mofo ever was Ali but then agin we know all the real badd mofos dead or in jail.
DubC Pride.

Anonymous said...