Saturday, August 16, 2008

Katie Hoff getting a bad rap

As Michael Phelps is putting himself in the record books, Katie Hoff is also making Towson and the USA proud.

Most 19-year-olds worry about getting used to college life in their freshman year. Katie Hoff is representing her country in the Olympics against the fastest and toughest swimmers in the world.

And yet, even though she won three medals (two silver, one bronze) in the six events she competed in, the media is grilling her for the lack of a gold, many calling her performance "disappointing."

Many media's thoughts are summed up in an article by Pat Forde of ESPN on August 15th. He starts off by say she needs to stop "Phelpsing" it and it is "a lesson learned the hard way."

One question. Since when did Hoff says she was like Michael Phelps? I can answer that, Pat Forde did a little over a week ago. Katie never did, even saying that "I'm not supposed to be Phelps" in the Aug. 15th Forde article, and her coach said the comparison wasn't fair (same article). So Hoff and her coach aren't making such a comparison, so why should any of us blame her for not getting a gold just because Phelps got many?

The success of Michael Phelps has been great, but on the flip side the media has been attacking Hoff for not getting a gold. And now an columnist who probably never covered swimming before a few weeks ago actually attacks her because his comparison of her to Phelps wasn't correct? Hoff probably has struggled, but the fact that she is only 19 and she got five top-4 finishes in six events against the top swimmers in the world is very impressive. Leave Hoff alone, we know she isn't Michael Phelps. It just took Pat Forde a lot longer to realize it.

Hoff will be 23 for the 2012 Games, she'll be great in those. Let's hope the Phelps comparisons don't continue then. But for now, most people are proud of Hoff for her accomplishments in Beijing. We sure are in Maryland.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

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