|ESPN.com: Swimming||[Print without images]|
ATHENS, Greece -- No two swimmers were more scrutinized for their decisions coming into these games than Natalie Coughlin and Michael Phelps. One for choosing to do too little, and one for taking on too much.
Even at the urging of her coach to do more, Coughlin stuck by her decision. Even after she swam a split so fast in the 4x200 relay, she could have won gold in the individual event, she stuck by her decision. Even after taking bronze Thursday night in the 100 free when she could have had a better shot in the 200 backstroke, she stuck by her decision.
Her male counterpart, Michael Phelps, busy taking home a fourth gold medal Thursday night in the 200 individual medley, insists that he would not change his tactics either. No, he won't break Mark Spitz' record. And yes, some actually have the gall to see his six-medal and counting performance as a let-down. But he would not trade his experience racing the great Ian Thorpe in the 200 meter free, and sooner than he would regret being on the winning 4x200 relay team.
We can debate their decisions endlessly, the important part is, they haven't. That's what makes those choices the right ones.
"People had talked about my decision in my events and I stick to it," Coughlin said after her bronze medal performance Thursday night. "I really enjoyed this race. I loved being out there and I think it was a great experience for me."