Spitz Says That Phelps Wouldn’t Have Beaten Him

Mark Spitz didn’t get an invite to the Beijing Olympics despite being VERY FAMOUS. So, in those moments when he wasn’t high-fiving himself for being really, really awesome, Spitz did what any of us would’ve done: he went to New York City to pimp a Hyatt Resorts vacation package.

Mark Spitz

While there, Spitz, who won seven gold medals in ‘72, had some interesting thoughts on Michael Phelps, proud owner of eight gold medals courtesy of the Beijing games. And by “interesting” I mean “backhanded compliments that make me feel better about my quickly fading relevance,” of course.

According to the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Spitz reports that there’s only one man who Phelps can’t beat. Coincidentally, his name is Mark Spitz, too. Weird.

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Spitz Wondering Where His Beijing Invitation Went

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.

Mark Spitz

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.

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Father of Olympic Swimmer Falls To Ironic Death

I generally operate under the assumption that the Big Guy (you know, upstairs) not only has a pretty decent sense of humor but that anything really ironic in this world is a fascinating twist on things. I am, occasionally, however, reminded that this is not always the case and that irony plays just as much towards tragedy as it does comedy.

Alon Mandel Swimming

I suppose that’s the lesson — if there’s any lesson — to be learned from the sad, sad death of Kostia Mandel, the father of Olympic swimmer Alon Mandel, who passed away this past weekend. Mandel had been celebrating his son’s achievement - reaching the global stage of the Olympics - by hanging a flag outside their house in Israel, when he fell and suffered fatal injuries.

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Michael Phelps Splashes Up Gold Medal Number 2

You know, it seems that every time the Summer Olympics roll around, there’s an American swimmer who is supposed to break Mark Spitz‘ record of seven gold medals. Then, invariably, that swimmer fails. Michael Phelps was supposed to do it in Athens back in 2004, and came up with eight medals - but “only” six golds. Well, after watching last night’s 4×100 freestyle relay, I’m starting to think that Spitz’ record is finally going to fall.

US Mens Swimming 4x100 Freestyle Relay

 

While Phelps’ pursuit of eight gold medals is still the story in men’s swimming this year, it was Jason Lezak who stole the show for one night. As the anchor for the United States men’s team, things looked over before Lezak even entered the pool. The French team, which had been talking smack about the race all week, had a rather large lead in the race. World record holder Alain Bernard - the man who said France would “smash” the Americans -  entered the pool long before Lezak, and it didn’t look like Lezak had any chance of catching him.

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