Last week when I received my Sports Illustrated in the mail, I noticed Michael Phelps was the cover athlete. Shortly after, I received this month's Men's Vougue which featured the swimmer in a fashion spread. I then saw a AT&T commercial with a "Phelp's Phan" and then Phelps practicing his Mandarin for Rosetta Stone.
Thinking back to when he dressed up as a merman for Disney, I began to wonder who thought this guy was such marketing gold. Forget the whole underage DUI thing. Let's look at the fact that he looks like a cross between the Oddities' Kurgan and Fred Gwynne and talks like he has a mouth full of cotton and pennies.
While I have no doubt Phelps is a world-class athlete, despite never seeing him compete, I'm not sure whether or not he is an upgrade from the last Olympic athlete that was shoved down our throat - ginger kid Shawn White who looks like a poor man's version of Budnick - the character Sam Drummond played in the Nickelodeon classic Salute Your Shorts.