I wrote about the U.S. Men’s 4×100 freestyle relay this morning, and in the post I said that I think Michael Phelps is going to break Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals. As I’ve been watching Phelps in the first few days of the games, I’ve found myself wondering where Spitz is. He was at the games in 2004 watching as Phelps tried to break his record, but for some reason Mark hasn’t shown up in Beijing.
Is he upset that the one thing he’s known for is about to be taken away from him? If that’s the case, it’s hard to really blame him for it. I mean, who wouldn’t be upset if something they accomplished was wiped out of the record books? As it turns out, though, that’s not the case at all. Spitz wants to be in Beijing to watch Phelps. If Michael does break his record, he even wants to be the one to put the eighth gold medal around his neck. So why isn’t Spitz in China right now? Well, nobody invited him.
Spitz said the International Olympic Committee, a US television network or FINA — the international body that governs world swimming — should have brought him to the Games this year, with Phelps making a go at his record.
“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.
“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.
“They voted me one of the top five Olympians in all time. Some of them are dead. But they invited the other ones to go to the Olympics, but not me. Yes, I am a bit upset about it.”
Oh don’t worry, Mark isn’t done. Not only is he upset about not being invited, but he’s pretty sure he could have won eight gold medals if he had the same event schedule that Phelps gets to compete in now.
“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.
Spitz is also pretty sure that Phelps is going to break his record, and for one reason only, he reminds Spitz of Spitz.
“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.”
In other news, Mark Spitz spends 13 hours a day staring into his mirror telling himself how awesome he is. The man seems to have a bit of a crush on himself. Still, he does have a point, the United States swim team really should have brought him to Beijing. That being said, though, I wonder if Mark has ever heard of these things we have called airplanes. They can fly you places, and all you have to do is buy a ticket. You don’t even have to be an Olympic gold medalist to do it, as any moron off the street can walk in and get one.
The fact that Spitz isn’t willing to do this leads me to believe that he is more upset that he’s about to lose his record than he is he won’t be able to watch it in person. If he really wanted to be in Beijing, he could be in Beijing right now. The only reason he isn’t is because he wants to be the center of attention. It’s pretty childish if you ask me.