Phelps, Phelps, Phelps

The American phenom has been annoyingly omnipresent. That's too bad, because there are other things happening, and because he's not annoying.

Published August 14, 2008 5:30PM (EDT)

Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps. I'm getting tired of hearing that name, aren't you? Just the syllables.

Nothing against Phelps himself, who is deserving of all the accolades, and who is handling himself in the spotlight about as well as anyone could. He manages to project an average-guy persona without any phony aw-shucks bull, and to express his massive and well-earned self-confidence without coming across as an arrogant jerk.

But his exploits are threatening to suffocate these games, at least for those of us consuming them through American media, most notably NBC. When the Peacock doesn't have a Phelps race and one isn't on the horizon -- admittedly a rare circumstance -- it goes right to the Phelps highlights. Wednesday night we got a montage of all 11 of his gold medal swims. Just because. You know, it had been 10 minutes since he'd been mentioned.

Even the hench networks, churning out hours upon hours of lesser-glam sports during the daytime, find it necessary to throw in a Phelps highlight every once in a while. I think I've seen a packaged feature called "Eat, Sleep, Swim" something like eight times.

With Phelps having a quiet day Thursday, swimming one heat, the over-under on video clips of that 4-by-100 medley celebration on Thursday night's show is seven. Get your bets down.

It's annoying to be annoyed by something so great.

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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