The other was a swimmer with two DUI offenses who has twice been banned from the pool for violating USASwimmings code of conduct. The winner, barely, was Michael Phelps, his record 18 gold medals trumping his past dangerous behavior, his comeback narrative overshadowing any uneasiness that the man leading 555-person American contingent into Rios Maracana Stadium was onceuniversally known for a photo in which he was smoking a bong. To lead our country into this Olympics is something I honestly thought I would never have the opportunity to do, Phelps said Wednesday. If runner-up saber fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad had been selected, especially during this heated election-year climate, it would have made a resounding American statement about inclusiveness and diversity. But Phelps selection makes an equally American statement about the power of forgiveness and the currency of achievement. For far different reasons, both would have been appropriate winners. In vastly different ways, both truly represent the flag that Phelps will now bear. Discover More“It just feels so right to have the most decorated Olympian of all time,” fellow swimming star Missy Franklin said of Phelps. Thats what the USA is all about, thats what being an American is all about. If being an American is about rising above the sins of your past, well, no competitive swimming pool is as deep as the muck from which Phelps has emerged. Nearly two years ago, driving home from a casino in his native Baltimore, Phelps was arrested for allegedly driving 84 mph in a 45-mph zone.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit Michael Phelps can add flag bearer to his Olympic resume – LA Times
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