Michael Phelps could give himself chance to break his record of eight gold medals

One big question that many Olympic fans have been pondering in the months leading up to the London Olympics will soon be answered: Will Michael Phelps make an effort to break his own world record of eight gold medals at a single Olympic Games? The short answer is yes. Unfortunately, it may not be that simple.

According to the psych sheet released by USA Swimming on Tuesday, Phelps will compete in seven events at next week’s trials — the 200-meter and 400-meter individaul medleys, the 100-meter and 200-meter butterflys, the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyles, and the 200-meter backstroke. Those seven events combined with the three U.S. team relay events would give Phelps a shot at 10 gold medals. However, qualifying for an event does not necessarily mean he will chose to enter it in London.

“Our typical plan is always to enter more events than he will usually swim so that we have some flexibility should something unforeseen come up,” Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach, said on Tuesday. “Whether he swims all of those all the way through the events – like, there’s a chance he might swim some of those events in the preliminary and scratch, or whether he swims them all the way through, that still remains to be seen.”

In 2008 at the Beijing Olympics, Phelps raced in three less events than he qualified for back in the States. Bowman previously said that Phelps will only compete in events that he has a chance to win, but for those of us who have seen him swim that means pretty much nothing. If you’re holding out hope that Phelps will try to break his gold medal record this summer, just cross your fingers he only decides to scratch one event.

Note: This post also appeared on Medal Detector
Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Olympic torchbearer David State proposes to girlfriend during ceremony

If you like events that involve the Olympic torch and unique proposals, this is a story you won’t soon forget. David State, a 25-year-old torchbearer for the London Olympics, proposed to his girlfriend during a torch ceremony in England on Monday as swarms of people lined the streets. The lovely lady, Christine Langham, gladly accepted.

“I was in complete shock,” she said according to the Daily Mail. “I think I still am, it obviously emotional anyway watching him run with the torch, but then he palmed it off with somebody and got down on one knee.

“I was surprised I didn’t give birth there and then. I was trying not to cry, at first I was in a fit of sobs a little bit and then said yes.”

Langham, 27, is pregnant with the couple’s first child. State was chosen as a torchbearer because of his voluntary service with the Scout movement. He has raised more than $15,000 for charities over the past 10 years.

After popping the question, State needed to get back to his duties and continue carrying the Olympic torch. That part, he says, was what made this particular proposal bizarre.

“I can’t really explain it,” State said. “The only thing that could come out of my mouth at the time was ‘I’ve got to go’ and I ran off with the torch. I think if I’d stayed any longer I would have burst into tears. Christine was crying her eyes out, bless her.”

One thing is for sure — you won’t find a more unique proposal than the one Langham was surprised with. Juggling the Olympic torch and an engagement ring takes some serious commitment. Between State and this 91-year-old athlete, London has itself some interesting torchbearers for the Summer Games.

H/T CBSSports.com

Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini says he won’t have sex during Olympics

All athletes have different ways of preparing for competition, especially those who compete in the Olympics. In certain ways, Olympic athletes are their own breed. They are some of the fiercest competitors in the world and have some of the strictest training regimens. Some take long naps before races while others stay awake and listen to music for hours. Some eat light meals and others load up on calories. Some use sex to relieve stress, whereas others refrain from it throughout the entire Olympic Games. Italian swimmer Filippo Magnini prefers celibacy.

“There are athletes who even have sex the evening before (a race), but I’m more prudent,” Magnini told “A” Magazine according to the Herald Sun. “During the events I try to keep calm.”

The 30-year-old is the double 100-meter freestyle world champion and won the world 100-meter freestyle in 2005 and 2007, so his resume is impressive enough that his training methods need not be questioned. Pictured above on the right is Magnini’s girlfriend, Federica Pellegrini. We are hoping Pellegrini — an Olympic swimmer and the 2008 gold medalist in the 200-meter freestyle — also prefers to swear off sex during the Olympic Games. Otherwise, the 23-year-old could be one frustrated customer in London this summer.

91-year-old Arthur Gilbert is an Olympic torchbearer and world’s oldest triathlete

Whether you are 16 years old or 40, I bet you can’t image competing in a triathlon 40 years from now. What is the cut-off age for such activity? It can’t be any older than 60 and even then you’d have to be in freakishly fantastic shape, right? For Arthur Gilbert, 60 years old feels like it was a lifetime ago. The british athlete completed his 41st triathlon in England over the weekend at the tender age of 91.

“I came last but when you’re 91 I think you’re allowed to,” Gilbert told the Daily Mirror. “I keep saying I’m going to give up soon but I always end up going back to do more. This triathlon was my third ‘last one’. I just can’t give up.”

That’s right, he said 91. Most people would feel lucky to be alive at GIlbert’s age, but he’s still finishing races. The retired helicopter engineer completed a 500-meter swim, a 20-km bike ride, and a 5-km run to complete the triathlon. His training regimen is that of a man in his mid-20s, as Gilbert said he goes to the gym three times a week, cycles 25 miles every Sunday and swims 50 laps in a pool every day. The secret? Staying happy and positive.

“The secret is staying stress-free, being happy, doing charity work and being positive,” he explained. “I don’t drink or smoke and I have regular check-ups. I also have a balanced diet with lots of fruit which helps ­tremendously – I love nuts and bananas.

“I must be the world’s oldest triathlete. People think I’m bonkers but they inspire me to carry on, and I inspire them to do something like this for charity.”

It may be hard to believe, but he is indeed the world’s oldest triathlete, a title he earned last year according to Burnham-On-Sea.com. Gilbert has also taken part in the ceremonies leading up to the London Olympics, as he carried the Olympic Torch through a British village last month. He may be too old to compete, but not having a 91-year-old triathlete take part in the Olympic ceremonies would just be plain senseless. Best of luck in your 42nd triathlon, Mr. Gilbert.

History of the Olympic torch relay including all its good and bad times

It takes place once every two years, around the time it usually takes for me to get a pay stub — emphasis on stub — for writing one of these articles: the Olympics. The event comes as a reminder when people all of a sudden start getting into fistfights on the street over badminton medal hopefuls.

For a quick review, the Summer Olympics sports are characterized by those events that were largely conceived in an era when dressing like Mr. Peanut was popular. The sports of the Winter Games were, by and large, borne out of inebriated bets: Why any sober individual would compete in a sport called skeleton is beyond the scope of my imagination. One would think finishing alive would be the priority, with the medals being fussed over once a chiropractor has examined the wreckage.

A discussion on the Olympics themselves is best left to a later date. (Check back in a month.) What concerns this writer is the continuing of a tradition that is rooted in antiquity. No, not the outbreak of plague in the athletes’ village, but the biannual tradition of a torch relay to mark the beginning of the Games.

The Olympic Flame is the symbol of the event. In ancient Greece, it was kept burning throughout the duration of the event and even sometimes afterwards, as evidenced by the members of the 1972 U.S. basketball team. There have been many notable memories surrounding the Olympic torch, some good and, of course leave to me to point them out, the not so good.

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Olympic officials reportedly concerned about potential prostitution boom in London

With all the concerns involving security, housing, venues, and more that surround hosting the Olympic Games, one potential problem has a tendency to slip through the cracks: Prostitution. From a business standpoint, it makes perfect sense. The Olympics brings together a massive group of people that includes athletes, coaches, spectators, relatives, and lonely businessmen. Add that up and you get major brothel potential.

According to the BBC, former Minister for the Olympics Tessa Jowell told the Metro Police Authority back in January of 2010 that she would not stand for women being trafficked to London in search of business.

“Major sporting events can be a magnet for the global sex and trafficking industry; this is wholly unacceptable,” Jowell said. “I am determined that traffickers will not exploit London 2012.”

Maybe that’s why they ordered an extra shipment of these at the Vancouver Games. During the Athens Olympics in 2004, it is believed that the number of known human trafficking victims almost doubled. Those numbers have been widely disputed, but that event certainly raised awareness about the potential problems events of a similar scale could face with regard to prostitution. Studies have found that prostitution is a significant issue during the World Cup as well.

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Japanese Paralympic sprinter poses for nude calendar to try to raise money for Olympics

When Maya Nakanishi was 21, she lost her leg after being hit by a steel beam at work. As an athlete, she refused to let the life-altering injury slow her down. Nakanishi is now one of the world’s top Paralympic sprinters. Running with one leg that has been amputated below the knee, she is the record-holder in the T44 200 meter race and the long jump. She competed in the Paralympics in Beijing back in 2008, but Nakanishi is struggling to put together enough money to be able to compete in London this summer.

In a fundraising effort, Nakanishi has put together a semi-nude calendar in hopes of raising enough money to purchase a new prosthetic leg and be able to train for the Summer Olympics. Photos from the calendar can be seen here.

“I don’t regret having become nude,” Nakanishi said according to NDTV Sports. “I’m very happy that I was able to show Maya Nakanishi as I am.”

Nakanishi added that she was unable to compete in the 2011 world championships because of limited funds. The Japanese government provides limited financial assistance to Paralympians. While some may object to the way Nakanishi is going about raising money, many of us can’t understand how disheartening it must be to be a top athlete who can’t compete because you can’t afford it. Give her credit for finding creative ways to accomplish her goals.

H/T Off the Bench
Note: This post also appeared on Medal Detector