Can you remember what you were doing 10 years ago?
On Friday, July 25, 2003, thousands of Baltimoreans were beginning a pilgrimage to Cooperstown, N.Y., to witness Eddie Murray’s induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was in Barcelona, Spain, covering the world swimming championships, where Michael Phelps climbed atop Mount Olympus, a perch he won’t be budged from for a long, long time, if ever.
The world championships are back in Barcelona this week, and Phelps will surely feel a rush of nostalgia when he attends, this time as a spectator. In 2003, he was a month past his 18th birthday and less than two months out of Towson High School when he became the first male swimmer to set world records in different events in the same day, in the span of 49 minutes, no less. That night he became the face of the 2004 Athens Olympics, and well, you know the rest.
I filed a chart for the next day’s Baltimore Sun, detailing Phelps’ movements on July 23, 2003. Here’s what I would have been producing in the Twitter era:
Phelps’ 3.62-second margin of victory in the 200 individual medley was the nearest thing in athletics to Secretariat’s 31-length romp in the 1973 Belmont Stakes.
Glad I got to see that lesson in human potential.