Thursday, July 30, 2009


Sometimes the arrogance of sports figures and their “handlers” is breathtaking. Michael Phelps lost a race this week to Paul Biedermann of Germany in the 200-metre freestyle final at the World Championships in Rome, the first time he has lost at a major swim meet in four years. The reaction from the Phelps camp, coming off the record-setting gold medal winner’s bong smoking, stripper-dating, painting Las Vegas red post-Olympic free-for-all? That unless the international swim federation immediately banned the new bodysuits swimmers are wearing, Phelps would take his toys and go home. The ban on the aerodynamic suits (which Phelps is eligible to wear in the meantime, by the way) has already been announced and takes effect in spring 2010, but apparently that’s not soon enough for this superstar. “Probably expect Michael not to swim until (the ban is) implemented. I’m done with this. It has to be implemented immediately. The sport is in shambles right now and they better do something or they’re going to lose their guy who fills these seats,” threatened his coach Bob Bowman. Then he went on to question the training regimen of the German winner, which many interpreted as a dark hint at steroids. “That’s an amazing training program. I would love to know how that works,” Bowman spat. Wow. Given all the trouble Phelps got himself into this spring and summer, you’d think he’d have been a bit more humble as he tries to rebuild what’s been lost of his public image. And yet all he had to say was: “Bob chooses where I swim,” thereby leaving the threat hanging out there. It was cheap and tawdry, just like much of Phelps’ behavior since the Olympics.

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