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Tanni vs Phelps?

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Vaughan | 09:51 UK time, Wednesday, 13 August 2008

I've been interested - but also rather irritated - by the coverage of US swimmer Michael Phelps' achievements at the Beijing Olympics this week. For those of you who don't know, he's just broken the record for winning Olympic gold medals by winning his 10th and 11th early this morning (Wednesday). By all accounts, he's going to rack up some more too - and the next record he's aiming for is the most gold medals won during one Olympic Games.

It's impressive stuff, and the news coverage keeps telling us that he's surpassed the nine golds previously won by names such as Paavo Nurmi, Carl Lewis, Mark Spitz and Larysa Latynina, making Phelps the greatest Olympian ever. Even Sir Steve Redgrave got a mention in some reports, despite the fact that he won a comparatively paltry five Olympic golds.

Hmm. But isn't there a name missing? What about Tanni Grey-Thompson?

Tanni won 11 Paralympic golds during her illustrious career, yet her name doesn't seem to have figured in these comparisons at all. Is this where the Paralympics stops being part of 'the Olympic movement', and becomes that 'other' Games that takes place after the main event, and is for (whisper it) disabled people?

So I'd like to offer Ouch's congratulations to Michael Phelps - on equalling Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson's tally of golds. Just for the record, you understand.

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