Michael Phelps: Countdown to Conspiracy


Michael Phelps has inadvertently set another record in Beijing, this time for the fastest conspiracy theory to emerge after a controversial finish. Was Cavic robbed by FINA and the official timekeeper, Omega? Check out www.001ofasecond.com, which raises a good question by way of the weirdest analogy I’ve heard in a long time:

How is it that the official timekeeper of the event is the same company that sponsors Phelps since 2004? Isn’t there a clear conflict of interest here? That’s like having sex with your own sister and then bragging around that you get laid a lot.

For the record, I was cheering against Phelps, but it looked to me like he won.

(link via)

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Michael Phelps: Countdown to Conspiracy

  1. Not only that, I don’t think it’s an accurate analogy. Convincing your sister to sleep with you, what with the nearly universal social mores against it (feel free to replace the word “nearly” with the word “completely”. I’m hedging.), would be a true accomplishment. In a really, really perverse way.

    I can’t buy the conspiracy either. I’m not sure what the exact relationship is but theoretically, Phelps merely winning 7 gold and a silver could cost this company millions of dollars. That said, being caught rigging the event pretty much puts them out of business.

  2. Take a look at the picture at the top of that site, the underwater shot that shows Cavic much closer to the wall than Phelps is. The thing to note (aside from the obvious, “He ain’t there yet”) is that Cavic has finished his final stroke, and at this point is more or less just gliding toward the wall, while Phelps is in the middle of his stroke, and his arms are in the process of moving very, very quickly toward the wall—much more quickly than the rest of his body is moving, and much more quickly than Cavic is moving as a whole. Given that his head is already more or less tied with Cavic’s (a little ahead, to my eye), it’s not at all difficult to believe that Phelps could make up the difference, even in the tiny bit of time available. The picture proves nothing.

    The other two pictures they have are also unconvincing. The angles, combined with the blurriness, make it not at all clear whether Phelps is or isn’t touching the wall in either picture.

  3. “For the record, I was cheering against Phelps, but it looked to me like he won. ”

    Same here – it looked like Cavic had started to glide thinking that he had won.

    I’m sure you were not the only one cheering against Phelps. It wouldn’t surprise me if the entire US men’s swimming team was doing the same thing. You could win multiple medals in that team and even your mother won’t ask for your autograph.

    And Phelps will be back in 2012.

  4. That’s like having sex with your own mother and then bragging around that you are good in bed because she told you she preferred you over the rest of your football team.

  5. Would you please elaborate on why you were cheering against Phelps, Mr. Potter?

  6. Nothing terribly complicated about my reasons for cheering against Phelps; same reason I was cheering against the Patriots in the Superbowl: Sport is, among other things, a metaphor for life, and a perfect life is less interesting than one where the successes are leavened with loss.

  7. Too much thrill of victory, not enough agony of defeat

  8. I was cheering against Phelps for the simple reason that I think Spitz is a much more interesting person, but that website is… yeah.

    Plus, read the text and tell me what the chances are that the website exists if Phelps is Australian rather than American. I’m thinking .001 of a percent but that’s just because I’m a smart-aleck.

  9. Except nobody does American-conspiracy-theory better than Americans:

    Domain name: 001ofasecond.com

    Registrant Contact:
    Whois Privacy Protection Service, Inc.
    Whois Agent

    PMB 368, 14150 NE 20th St – F1
    C/O 001ofasecond.com
    Bellevue, WA 98007

  10. Say, do they have equivalent awards to the Order of Canada in the U.S. for Mrs. Phelps?

    – Walter

  11. Mr. Potter, as you must have noticed yourself, that whois entry is for a privacy protection service. The entire point of a privacy protection service is to prevent people from finding information about you such as where you’re located.

    They’re actually de rigeur in domain name registrations these days; Dreamhost (where that website is hosted) offers them complimentarily with every domain registration. If you’d like to see another example of this in action, feel free to whois one of my domains, vopatclone.com: I’m located in Victoria but the whois is set for Scottsdale, Arizona.

    I mention this merely in the interests of accuracy than because I believe the authors couldn’t possibly be American; there are plenty of self-loathing Americans out there, just as there are plenty of self-loathing Canadians, Brits, etc.

  12. (P.S.: Any macleans.ca editors looking for material to convince their bosses to start up a “Pedants’ Corner” section, feel free to quote my message. It bored me and I wrote it. :P)

  13. Whoopa — my mistkae. Thanks for the correction.

  14. Machines are not perfect,specially when Omega is one of Phelps sponsors (from 2004 btw). Fairy tale won..Did anyone read what Ekumbo, FINA offical said (who is BTW from great swimming country called Kenya)”Michael Phelps is the greatest we ever had.He would have won the race no matter what”

    Discussion over.Congratulations…you have your hero.
    Cavic is a real treasure and the real Olympian in this fake.
    This has nothing to do with Phelps, who is a great champion.

  15. FINA and more importantly Omega has a serious problem here and there is no way to audit the times. FIS (Alpine Skiing has figured it out and does it correctly).

    All times (events) are recorded on a master timing device. If we were to do this in swimming, all times for the start would be the same and finish would be all different(ish). Subtract one from the other and you get the elapsed time.

    However, bring on Television. They want a time NOW. So, you capture the times out of the timer, do the math/lane calculations and send a result to the graphics generator. This is all done in software. Omega owns the software and travel with their own software writers as they will make changes in their software daily. It would be so easy to report one result to TV and not publish the actual times that were recorded on the master tapes. FINA and Omega have NOT released the master tapes to anyone for an independent review. It is as simple as “If Phelps close to winning, then blah blah ….”

    This is not the first event that there are clearly timing problems in that pool. Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe broke the world record in the semifinals of the women’s 100-metre backstroke, however, you can clearly see on TV that the times between the first and second place finishers are not correct. Even Coventry was surprised that she was that fast. If Coventry won by 1 full second then the distance between 1st and 2nd at the wall would show the 2nd place swimmer almost a full 2 meters (body
    length) behind as Coventry hit the wall to win.

    Omega is dirty. They have likely been bought off by the Chinese to ensure that more and more world records would be broken. It would NOT be hard to do and there is NO ONE to audit Omega. There HAS to be a 3rd party auditor to ensure it is a fair playing field.

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