I've been coaching for a long time (but in a different sport.) I have a lot of experience in the national arena, and have seen a lot of great athletes.
Is Michael Phelps one of the best, 或者 overhyped?
Granted, TV coverage in the US tends to promote then tear down, and that is (sadly) a part of our culture. But when 你 look at how many people have accomplished what Phelps has done (answer = one), there really IS only one conclusion.
你 may 或者 not like him.
你 may 或者 may not like the hype.
你 may think he looks goofy, 或者 is too nice.
His size 14 feet may turn 你 off.
But he is the most accomplished Olympian of all time ... so far. I think his legacy will rest on another Olympics, 2012. 更多 great performances there will help him 密封 the deal.
Best ATHLETE ever? Not yet ...
Best Olympian ... maybe .... 2012 will tell. I think three Olympics is plenty of longevity to make that judgment.