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Phelps likely won't keep public attention long

Updated: July 15, 2004, 9:53 PM ET
By Eric Adelson | ESPN The Magazine

LONG BEACH -- When Michael Phelps took his first strokes in the 400 IM final here last week, he was greeted with a memorable sound: silence.

Yes, he got a nice ovation when he walked to the starting block. Yes, the crowd stood and shouted as he chased and reached a new world record in his final lap. But the biggest cheers of the entire week were for Aaron Piersol when he beat Phelps and set a world record in the 200-meter backstroke. The next morning, a local headline read, "Not ...

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