By Stephen J. Thomas
ATHENS, August 22. PERHAPS somewhat overshadowed on a final night of competition where three world records were shattered in the last two races, Jenny Thompson, the 31-year-old veteran of four Olympic campaigns took a silver medal as part of the American women's 4 x 100 medley relay team.
Quietly, Jenny surpassed not only fellow American swimmers Mark Spitz and Matt Biondi to become the most decorated swimmer in history with twelve Olympic medals. She also surpassed every other American Olympic athlete in every other sport.
Carl Lewis. Mary Lou Retton. FloJo. All of the gymnasts, figure skaters, speed skaters, volleyball players, basketball players. She has outdone all of them. Male or female.
Jenny Thompson — with her 8 gold medals, 3 silvers and one bronze — now stands alone as the most decorated American Olympic athlete in history.