Mark Spitz is a little angry. According to Spitz, no one extended him an invitation to the Olympics as Michael Phelps tries to break his record of seven gold medals in one Olympics.
"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 goes on to say that he is demeaned by not being able to watch Phelps in person. He even went so far as to suggest that he should be the one hanging the medals around Phelps' neck.
He was also upset about how much face time the cameras gave him in Athens in 2004, saying that they never once showed him at the pool. However, once the chase was over and he was attending volleyball matches, those cameras seemingly couldn't get enough.
Spitz does think that Phelps could do it, though, because "he's almost identical to me, he reminds me of myself."
Anyone else think he's more than just a tad arrogant? I understand that he is upset about not being there to see the record broken, but seriously. Does he think that him being there is the most important thing to the world? That it would somehow legitimatize Phelps' accomplishment?
As for him not being invited, apparently he's too important to buy his own plane ticket as evidenced by him saying that you don't go to the Olympics just to be there, and it's even more prominent in his case because of who he is. Are you kidding me?
Spitz will always be remembered as an incredible athlete and an amazing Olympian—he was voted in the top-5 Olympians of all time. But, it sounds like he lives in a dream world. Records are made to be broken. If they weren't, would Spitz even be famous?
Spitz seems to be tarnishing his legacy with this, in my opinion anyway. He doesn't seem to realize that he's only mentioned in the same breath as Phelps because Phelps is more dominant than he was. Personally, I hope Phelps breaks Mark Spitz's record and I hope for his sake that Spitz can give Phelps heartfelt congratulations, in Beijing or in the States.
What do the people that were able to watch Spitz in his prime think? Did he dominate the field the same way Phelps is right now? Who would you take head-to-head in their respective primes?
All information and quotes were taken from this article on Yahoo!Sports.