Sunday, August 17, 2008


Perhaps it's my paranoia of getting drowned in a swimming pool, or maybe it's the sheer awe of watching a superhuman re-create Adidas' 'Impossible is Nothing' theme in real life... either way Michael Phelps has lit a spark somewhere on this lazy Sunday morning.

As he stroked his way to win his eighth Olympic gold medal (the number's lucky for the non-Chinese as well!) with yet another world-record less than a couple of hours ago, the glory of a quartet winning a relay was overshadowed by this one man who is now being called Phenomenal Phelps.

Some of us watched water catch fire as it happened today. In other worlds still asleep, people may have missed out on this feat. And even if they were up and about, there is little chance of them having caught the action - in at least one so-called developed world that I know, some people have no access to daily newspapers and certainly no television set. The only way someone can afford to stay in touch with the world is either a radio (yes, it still works!) or the free Internet.

Enter YouTube... much abused for copyright violations from publishers in Belgium to the music mafia in India - and everyone in between. But what we tend to miss is the service YouTube delivers at moments like these... if the Olympics is all about bringing the world together in one triumphant spirit, the money-making machine that TV companies have become is in clear contrast. For all those who missed the freestyle swimming relay finals this morning, they'll catch glimpses of it on news bulletins for sure. But if you really want to relive the breathtaking win, if you want to replay it at will and have inspiration delivered on demand, only YouTube will have the full spectacle online soon (it isn't up yet - I just checked) as some kind soul rips it off TV and uploads it.

Criminal? Perhaps to the legal boffins.

But to many of us, YouTube is equal to YouSpirit. Always.

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