Monday, August 18, 2008

describing Olympian feats

In a week when everyone's searching for--and often failing--to find the right superlatives to describe Olympian Michael Phelps's astonishing eight gold medals in a single Games, it took a 26-year-old fellow swimmer to put together the crisp analogies that deliver a picture of the scope of Phelps's achievement. Teammate Brendan Hansen put it this way in today's New York Times:
“Michael is the biggest thing that sport has ever seen,” Hansen said. “Not swimming, but sport in general. He just made the pressure putt to win the U.S. Open. He just won the Tour of France. He just knocked out Muhammad Ali. And he did it in one week.”
Hansen repeated phrases (called anaphora, in rhetorical terms) to emphasize his point, but even better, pulled from visual, well-known images of victory in a variety of sports to put his point across. We'll give that one a rhetorical gold medal! (Photo by m@rcopako)

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