As part of its 2012 Olympic preview, the August issue of Outside charts the careers of several of the biggest stars heading to London this month — predicting their likely medal haul at the upcoming Summer Games.
The well-regarded mag’s gold medal forecast for Baltimore’s favorite amphibian, Michael Phelps, the guy who brought a record eight gold medals home following the Beijing Games? Zero. Zip. Nada. Okay, the magazine says Phelps may glom onto some gold as a member of one of the United States’ dominant relay teams, but it’s adamant: “No solo gold.” The short piece later refers to the “outgoing Michael Phelps and his heir apparent, Ryan Lochte…” Wait there just a second, mister.
Now, somewhat familiar with magazine deadlines, it’s only fair to note that the August issue, which I received last week, went to press before Phelps’ stunning performance at the recent Olympic trials where he bested Lochte, long his top American-rival, in the three of four head-to-head matchups. Outside notes that Lochte — who has been garnering a lot of pre-Olympic media and commercial attention (Gillette television ads, etc.) — beat Phelps for the first time at the 2011 World Championships.
I’m just saying, early publication deadlines or not, it seems awful premature to throw Phelps — actually slightly younger than Lochte — under the bus. Phelps has established a track record of rising to the occasion every four years since first surprising swimming observers as a 15-year-old and making the 2000 Sydney Olympic team.
Obviously, we at Baltimore magazine have a different take than Outside and you can read contributor Mike Unger’s story on Phelps in our July issue.
Other Outside predictions? Three golds for Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt and more beach volleyball gold for two-time gold medalist Misty May-Treanor (Who says bikinis aren’t legit athletic gear?) Also, they say, keep an eye on California teenager Missy Franklin, who qualified in four individual swimming events. For what it’s worth, Outside did nail one prediction — that U.S. swimmer and seven-time medalist Amanda Beard would not medal at the London Games, scheduled to start in 18 days. Beard failed to qualify for the U.S. squad.