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    • #11888
      silentp
      Member

      My friend Vic (avid d3swimming.com poster) and I were having a friendly argument that I was hoping other people could shed some light on. What would you rather have, world record or Olympic gold?

      I feel it’s the gold because it’s one of the biggest events in sports and it can never be taken away from you. That and it’s the 1 time when swimming is center stage. It’s a top 3 sport at the Olympics (women’s gymnastics, track & field, swimming) and it’s a media frenzy.

      What does everyone else think?

    • #29408
      The Treat
      Member

      @silentp wrote:

      My friend Vic (avid d3swimming.com poster) and I were having a friendly argument that I was hoping other people could shed some light on. What would you rather have, world record or Olympic gold?

      I feel it’s the gold because it’s one of the biggest events in sports and it can never be taken away from you. That and it’s the 1 time when swimming is center stage. It’s a top 3 sport at the Olympics (women’s gymnastics, track & field, swimming) and it’s a media frenzy.

      What does everyone else think?

      olympic gold, for the same reason id rather have a national championship than a national record.

    • #29409
      Derek
      Member

      I agree that Gold is better. Remember this is swimming we are talking about and not baseball or football. When you are 50 and are drunk at the bar telling somebody that you were an Olympic Gold Medalist, you can prove it by holding up your gold medal. (Which means you have to carry it around, but hey, Josh Davis does it.) Now, if you had a world record and when you are 50 you are drunk at the bar, it’s a lot harder to prove.

      I bet it’s easier to pick up women with a gold medal hanging around your neck than a FINA world record book in your hand.

    • #29410
      swim5599
      Member

      Yeah I posted something about this on the other website, it was in regards to Hansen never having won ind gold in either of the breaststrokes. I said he could not be considered the greatest of all time until he won ind gold, so that being said I think I would rather have olympic gold

    • #29411
      silentp
      Member

      @swim5599 wrote:

      Yeah I posted something about this on the other website, it was in regards to Hansen never having won ind gold in either of the breaststrokes. I said he could not be considered the greatest of all time until he won ind gold, so that being said I think I would rather have olympic gold

      That’s exactly how the conversation started!

    • #29412

      I gotta tell you, that Bill Mulliken, the winner of the gold in the 200 Breast in 1960, gets great mileage out of his gold. When I was at Chicago, I invited him to bring his gold to show the teams during a swim meet. He was more than glad. The interesting thing is that probably 3-4 of my swimmers on deck could have beaten his time from his winning effort. But the gold was the one physical token of immortality. And it means the world to anyone who has ever been involved in swimming.

      He showed us the medal. It was smaller than the current ones, and he told us to be careful with the plastic envelope that surrounded it because the gold was actually flaking off. I remember having two emotions: 1) “Unbelieveable: this is the symbol of my dreams as a younger swimmer. I am not worthy of touching this.: 2) “It looks so small and insignificant. Look, the gold is flaking off. It’s just a bronze disk. I have summer league medals bigger than this.”

      It was then that I thought these thoughts: I know that more than 99.99% of all swimmers wake up one day with the realization that they will never win a gold medal. For those that keep the dream, my heartiest congratulations, and for those who do win one, you are the immortals of our sport.

      But my main thought was this, after seeing the medal itself, and matching it to my dreams: the medal is just a symbol of that one time in your life when you realized your dreams and those of millions, and you were the very best in the world. I decided right then that a Olympic gold medal could be made of anything: of construction paper, drawn on by a gold Crayola, and worn around the neck by yarn, and it would be the single most valuable thing in the world. Grown men and women would come close to tears just seeing it and knowing the value. It’s the one symbol that is infinitely beyond the value of its raw materials. Maybe that is why “sports” like cheerleading and competitive dance and other such things award such gawdy and tacky and huge trophies, taller than even the competitors themselves. There’s no value, so the value is seemingly increased with more fake plastic gold and marble.

      Every time I see Bill, I thank him for that opportunity to see his medal, an opportunity for me to reach for forgotten and stored-away dreams for just one minute. I tell him that I went right back up to my office to catch my breath, and I saw my one NCAA plaque and thought about how lucky I was to have even one of those. Wood and bronze, but it means the world to me.

      But let’s not forget that ANY Olympic Medal or even simple Olympic participation is more than any of us will ever have. These are incredible honors, and given the chance, I would congratulate Hansen for “winning silver.” How do I know: because I met Kristi Kowal at a wedding, and I spent a few minutes telling her how proud I was for her that she “won a silver” at the Olympics. She’s a former WR swimmer, but she will always have that medal with her. And I grew up swimming with Mary Parks, who is the daughter of Mary Jane Sears Parks who won bronze in the 100 fly in the 1956 Games in Melbourne. Story has it that Mary went to sleep every night with her Mom’s medal when she was a kid.

    • #29413

      I believe that this topic is touched on somewhat in the book Gold in the Water. I thought that it was interesting the way that Kurt Grote felt that after the 1996 Olympics that he felt ashamed that he didn’t win individual gold but rather because he swam on the 400 med relay in prelims therefore recieved a medal.

    • #29414
      miller
      Member

      2 people (so far) have voted for “World Record.”

      I’d be interested in hearing their rationale because frankly it seems like most people want the Olympic Gold. I agree with most people therefore the logic behind that vote isn’t very interesting.

      Where’re the pot-stirrers here? Who thinks fleeting fame as “the fastest in the world” is better than immortality?

    • #29415
      DonCheadle
      Member

      I put World Record:

      At a swim meet, on an arbitrary day and time with an arbitrary field (almost always the best in the world, but sometimes that is not the case), you happen to be the fastest.

      Versus:

      In the recorded history of this planet no human being has completed your race faster. When compared to every human ever to walk the earth you are number 1. Not number one for a day, but for all-time.

    • #29416
      Derek
      Member

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      In the recorded history of this planet no human being has completed your race faster. When compared to every human ever to walk the earth you are number 1. Not number one for a day, but for all-time.

      Not all-time. Thats the point. You will always be the gold medalist at the year XXXX olympics, but the record will get beaten.

    • #29417
      DonCheadle
      Member

      Not to go Bill Clinton on you, but it depends on what your definition of is, is:

      If this statement is true: “Mike Barrowman is an Olympic Champion,” then this statement is true: “Mike Barrowman is a World Record Holder.” Reason being, Mike Barrowman is no more the current Olympic Champion than we is the current World Record Holder.

      What “Mike Barrowman is an Olympic Champion” really means is “Mike Barrowman WAS an Olympic Champion”. And of course the same would be true regarding the World Record. I might add that Barrowman was a World Record Holder for longer than he was an Olympic Champion, but that doesn’t contribute to the debate, only adding for interest.

      (PS: By the way, last time this was discussed here I voted for Olympic Gold. I thought about it and decided I would rather be Hansen than Cheatajima)

      (PPS: I just came up with Cheatajima)

    • #29418
      Derek
      Member

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      If this statement is true: “Mike Barrowman is an Olympic Champion,” then this statement is true: “Mike Barrowman is a World Record Holder.” Reason being, Mike Barrowman is no more the current Olympic Champion than we is the current World Record Holder.

      Except for that champions are not stripped of their title when another guy wins. It is true that the next title holder is the most current champion, but they are both still considered champions.

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      What “Mike Barrowman is an Olympic Champion” really means is “Mike Barrowman WAS an Olympic Champion”. And of course the same would be true regarding the World Record.

      You are right about what the language means, but I don’t think that the same holds true for a world record. For a world record, either you are the fastest and you are listed first or you are not. Once you are no longer listed first, the prestige is simply not as great as being listed as the previous gold medalist.

      @DonCheadle wrote:

      (PS: By the way, last time this was discussed here I voted for Olympic Gold. I thought about it and decided I would rather be Hansen than Cheatajima)

      (PPS: I just came up with Cheatajima)

      It’s a good nickname, even if what he did is allowed now. I also agree with you that Hansen is way cooler than Cheatajima.

    • #29419
      Chris Knight
      Member

      I disagree with your definitions. Mike Barrowman is an Olympic Champion, as no-one else can ever be the champion from that Olympiad (23rd, I believe). He may not be THE Olympic champion (Kitajima), but that doesn’t mean he ceased to be an Olympic champion once the 200 Br. was held in Atlanta. Therefore, no-one can have been an Olympic champion.

      Being the world record holder, on the other hand, is by definition transient. It’s all right there in the title: You hold the record until somebody breaks it. Then you do not hold it. So you cannot say Mike Barrowman is a world record holder, because Kitajima took it from him, and now it is Hansen’s.

      That said, I do appreciate your point. To know that no-one had ever been faster than you would be an amazing feeling. Many of us have experienced a small slice of this while setting a club or school record. But a world record is the ultimate achievement in terms of time. And there can be no more than 34 LC world record holders at any time, whereas the list of Olympic champions keeps growing.

      But I have to go with Olympic gold. Nobody remembers former world record holders for that long, but people talk about great Olympic races forever.

    • #29420
      Chris Knight
      Member

      Whoops, you beat me to pretty much the same points.

    • #29421
      swim5599
      Member

      Now ultimately we would all love to go out and become olympic champions in WR time. That would be ideal, but it does not always happen that way.

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