Is Michael Phelps a hero?

Perhaps I should ask the bigger question: Are athletes heroes? Or is that title reserved only for people like firefighters and soldiers? Is it more heroic to save a life or to inspire one? To keep the body from dying or to breathe life into the spirit?

Some heroes protect our lives and property. Some defend our rights and freedoms. And some heroes lift our spirits and show us that what we thought was impossible is achievable.

They raise us — sometimes momentarily, sometimes eternally — into the realm of immortals.

They move us to find the greatness inside of ourselves and to share it with the world.

When you climb to the pinnacle of your world, you are a hero.

When you can bear the weight of a nation upon your shoulders and still stand straight and tall, you are a hero.

When every boy in America wishes he were you, you are a hero.

So, the answer is, yes.

Michael Phelps is a hero.

Christopher Thornblad