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Mark Spitz Not at All Bitter, Oh No

I had heard a few things about Mark Spitz‘s negative attitude towards Michael Phelps and his quest for 8 golds. What I heard however, was nothing compared to the story commenter Gene passes along. 36 years after his day in the spotlight at Munich, Mark Spitz, one of the greatest Olympians ever, is coming off as quite the bitter type. He’s upset he wasn’t invited to the Olypmics to watch Phelps try and break his record of 7 gold medals and 7 world records in one Olympics. The bitter man also added this:

“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.”

“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.

“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.”

Hmm, I really can’t imagine why he wouldn’t have been invited. Maybe like Newman says, it got lost in the mail? Dude, I know it’s tough to let go … but just let go.



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  • SpinMax

    I gotta go with Spitz on this one, because other former top Olympians were invited over but not him. There’s obviously something going on that we don’t know about, until then I’ll side with him. Maybe it will come out that he demanded a lot of money or something, then I’ll reconsider.

  • Niki

    He sounds insulted, and it is perfectly understandable. Even if his ego could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool…he is well within his rights to feel slighted.

    Phelps is aiming to break HIS record, the unsurpassed 36 year record…why on earth shouldn’t he have been invited?

  • Ferg

    Spitz has had several good things to say about Phelps in other interviews, so this one might be a little out of context. It is his record, and Phelps has made it very public that he is aiming for his record. Other olympians were invited, so why not him, especially when his record being broken is the most talked about thing in olympic coverage? I’d be kinda pissed too.

    On a side note, is it me or is Phelp’s mom getting more coverage than the majority of US olympians? I mean its a great story and all, but seriously, does anybody really need all that coverage of his mom cheering?

  • dan

    I am getting tired of Spitz, he is reminding me of Mercury Morris. I wonder if it is any coincidence these 2 are products of 1972

  • http://neswsports.com ethanator1088

    It is hard to believe that someone that would pose for a pic like that is self centered, and cocky, and not the perfect picture of grace and humbleness.

  • Chris

    “he’s just like me”..that sums it up. Spitz actually wanted to be the one who presented the medals to Phelps.. Is he serious????

  • SBR

    I think they should have invited Spitz and they should have invited him to present the medals at Phelps’ final race of the games. It would have been a great story!

  • Sharon

    I think Spitz should have called the Phelp camp and developed a rapport with Michael. Then it would be more of a natural fit for him to be at the Olympics. I think Spitz ego has gotten in the way and the is trying to make this all about him instead of Michael Phelps.

  • Bystander

    I don’t think Spitz is anti-Phelps at all. Roger Maris’ family was there when McQuire broke his record and Mrs Ruth was invited to watch Maris break the Babe’s record. Spitz is alive and they are talking about him in every other sentence. He should have been invited.

    Also, he’s right…he can’t just go over there on his own and it would have been really tacky for him to initiate contact with Phelps…The USOC or NBC should have invited him.

  • Susan

    I’m glad to see that the majority of comments are from people with more sense and good taste than Larry. It’s outrageous that Spitz wasn’t invited; ego or not, his record stood for 36 years and that is an achievement to be honoroed.

    The Chinese, the IOC and the USOC really blew it…. It’s a shame and I don’t get it but I have my suspicions. Honestly, I thought he was dead; could not imagine any other reason that he would not be there. Shame on everyone involved, including NBC!

  • Milton Billingsley

    In fact, you can’t compare the two. Even if Phelps wins 8 he ties Spitz because in ‘ 72 they did not have the eighth event. You can’t even compare the times because of obvious reasons. You cant even compare the world records because of the decades passing.

    What you can compare is their attitudes – Phelps wins by a mile.

    Looking at the 70’s picture of Spitz all I can be reminded of is one of the most popular songs on the times – Muskrat Love, and bell bottoms.

  • Beth

    I fell Spitz should have been at the Olympics Also.

    Perhaps he does have an ego problem, but the bottom line is his record stood for 36 LONG years.

    They have invited other past Olympic greats and even had some as commentators in the past.

    This story does NOT explain it at all and looks slanted against Spitz.
    Perhaps he wanted a huge fee to go, but he should have been there.

    It would have been a perfect moment for him to be handing the gold to Phelps. Somebody goofed big time on this one.

    I like seeing the past Olympians at the Olympics. IN the USA, we forget our past Medal Winners last yesterdays newspaper. That is a shame.