Michael Mania or Phelps Phantasmagoria or…

The name of this WaPo piece, Entirely Michael Phelps-free Column!, just reminded me about the insane number of Phelps-related stories.

The New York Times has one, two, three about Phelps in today’s paper alone.

Maybe Michael Phelps should run for president, since he got more headlines than the Presidential candidates; they had to share one headline in today’s Times.

And it’s not just the Americans that are head over heels for this guy. The AP reports that France’s Nouvel Observateur dubbed Phelps “The God of Olympia.”

And, he eats. A lot. Pancakes and pasta and pickles, oh my. (Okay, I added that pickles part for alliteration.)

If you’re of strong stomach, check out the Guardian’s Jon Henley attempt to consume Phelps’ daily menu.

Can you blame the press for gorging themselves on Phelps? He’s a terrific swimmer, an affable young man, whose personal story seems to be without tragedy or hardship, which require a more delicate touch in the telling.

Yet, his success at swimming isn’t a simple story. The slew of technological advances in swimming don’t cast doubt on Phelps’ ability as an athlete, but they do paint a more complicated picture than the majority of coverage tends to present. This isn’t to say that every piece has to be written in a “Yes, but…” fashion, but the Times has to be careful to avoid becoming Tiger Beat. If the end sum of these Olympic games is just the public’s impression that Michael Phelps is dreamy, well, that’s a proposition to make one a little queasy.

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Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.