It was dubbed The Race of the Century at 2004 Athens Olympics. It was Michael Phelps versus Ian Thorpe versus Pieter van den Hoogenband. While the Aussie Thorpe stood first, the Dutchman Hoogenband was second and the American Phelps had to settle for number three. Watch the full video below. There was some history to the race. It was one of Thorpe’s favourite events and the Aussie was upset by the Dutchman at Sydney Olympics in 2000.
Eventually, it was revenge time for the Aussie. Also, talking about the American, Phelps wanted to challenge Thorpe and he did that in style by taking part in the race and ended up with a medal. We would have liked to see more of Thorpe versus Phelps.
One has to say that Phelps just left everyone asking for breath in his glorious career where he won 23 Olympic gold medals. The other two amazing men we are talking about here only won three each. In comparison, it looks like a modest return which is why we use the word only. (Michael Phelps announces his retirement from Olympic Games)
The fact that Phelps has been so driven has been the reason that he has been the athlete like no one else. There may never be another one like him.
To imagine that we will see another athlete win 23 gold medals at the Olympics is asking for the sky when we know that no man or woman other has ever won even 10 gold medals, let alone more. But as we saw in this race, Phelps was a mortal occasionally who could come second or third once in a while.