Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mark Spitz is all wet

It’s always interesting to watch the reactions of former athletes as their records are about to fall.

Case in point: Hank Aaron. I don’t think it was any great secret that he wasn’t thrilled to see Barry Bonds break his career home run record last summer because of what Barry allegedly did to get there. But he handled himself throughout the hoopla with class and composure.

Then there is Mark Spitz.

Spitz set a record in 1972 by winning seven gold medals at single Olympics. That record has a good chance of being broken this year by Michael Phelps, who now has three golds and hopes to take home five more before these games are done.

Spitz seemed gracious enough when I heard him interviewed on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning not long ago. But then I read an interview with him this morning that left me with a very different opinion of the Olympic legend.

To be fair, he doesn’t seem all that bent out of shape about Phelps surpassing him. His beef is that no one invited him to watch it happen.

"I never got invited. You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am," Spitz told AFP in Hong Kong.

Spitz feels he’s been snubbed because he didn’t get an engraved invitation from the International Olympic Committee, NBC Sports or FINA -- the international body that governs world swimming.

"I am going to sit there and watch Michael Phelps break my record anonymously? That's almost demeaning to me. It is not almost -- it is,” he said.

Perhaps he has a legitimate gripe. But he’s better off taking the high road and keeping it to himself and avoiding phrases like “because of who I am.” Newsflash Mr. Spitz: this is Michael Phelps’ time. It isn’t all about you.

But Spitz was just getting warmed up. He insisted he would have won eight golds in 1972 if he had the chance.

"I won seven events. If they had the 50m freestyle back then, which they do now, I probably would have won that too," he said.

It sounds like the word humble isn’t in this guy’s vocabulary. The article closed out with Spitz explaining why he thinks Phelps is so successful.

"He's almost identical to me. He's a world-record holder in all these events, so he is dominating the events just like I did," Spitz said. "He reminds me of myself."

The whole article made Spitz seem like he has an ego the size of Rhode Island.


Aaron Hull said...

He's a egotisticle maniac who dosen't deserve a second of media coverage. Maybe the International Olympic Committee, NBC Sports and FINA saw this and decided not to invite him. What a JERK!!!!!

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