Ignore everything you’ve read about Michael Phelps. Don’t pay any attention to the headlines that claim that the 2012 London Olympics are his worst. He’s about to make history and become the Olympian who has won the most medals in history.
Larisa Latynina of the former Soviet Union won a total of 18 medals during 3 Olympic appearances from 1956 to 1964 in gymnastics. Larisa won 9 gold medals, 5 silver medals and 4 bronze medals. She dominated her sport for a generation.
It took almost 50 years for any Olympian to be where Michael Phelps is today – 1 medal from tying the Russian gymnast and 2 from becoming the most “decorated Olympian in history”. Phelps has already made history with his 14 gold medals. No one else has won even 10! Tied for 2nd place in the gold medal race are Larisa, Paavo Nurmi (1920’s Finnish runner), fellow swimmer Mark Spitz (with 9 gold medals, 1 silver and 1 bronze) and Carl Lewis, who won a total of 10 medals in 3 Olympic appearances.
Yes, Phelps has had a disappointing start to the Olympics. Tonight Phelps competes in two finals – the 200 meter butterfly and 4 x 200 free style. All eyes will be on the American swimmer. If he does break Larisa Latynina’s record, he becomes the most proliferate Olympian in 48 years.
What do you think the odds are that Phelps will win both finals today and enter the history books? William Hill offers a bet that Phelps will win gold medals in the 200m butterfly and the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. At 11/10 odds, it’s not exactly a progressive jackpot, but you’ll be betting for the history books.