I've been coaching for a long time (but in a different sport.) I have a lot of experience in the national arena, and have seen a lot of great athletes.
Is Michael Phelps one of the best, অথবা overhyped?
Granted, TV coverage in the US tends to promote then tear down, and that is (sadly) a part of our culture. But when আপনি look at how many people have accomplished what Phelps has done (answer = one), there really IS only one conclusion.
আপনি may অথবা not like him.
আপনি may অথবা may not like the hype.
আপনি may think he looks goofy, অথবা is too nice.
His size 14 feet may turn আপনি off.
But he is the most accomplished Olympian of all time ... so far. I think his legacy will rest on another Olympics, 2012. আরো great performances there will help him সীল the deal.
Best ATHLETE ever? Not yet ...
Best Olympian ... maybe .... 2012 will tell. I think three Olympics is plenty of longevity to make that judgment.