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The class of Mark Spitz on NBC last night


ariadne1880
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I don't know how many people saw the joint interview Bob Costas did on NBC last night with Mark Spitz and Michael Phelps. Spitz couldn't have been classier. He just heaped praise on Phelps calling him the "greatest Olympian" of all time. I was a little disappointed in Phelps. Costas kept giving him a chance to give Spitz some praise or to thank Spitz for his praise and Phelps just didn't until the very, very end when he finally thanked him. I guess these young athletes are so single-minded that sometimes they don't learn things like that.

 

But it was a great interview and for all the negativity about Spitz here the past few days he couldn't have been more well-spoken and classy last night.

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This is just my perspective ...

 

I've seen interviews with Mark Spitz over the past several weeks, and from my perspective, he has become much more "friendly" and supportive of Phelps over those weeks as it became more inevitable what was going to happen. Some of the first interviews I saw showed a man who was arrogant and downright jealous. His recent comments that "it's time for someone else" is a total turn around from his earlier comments.

 

I'm sure Michael Phelps has been very aware of the comments that Mark Spitz has made over the past several years, many of which were not supportive in any way. I'm sure it wouldn't be easy for Michael to show "thanks" to someone who has been so two-faced.

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Guest ReturnOfS

Below is Phelp's daily schedule in Beijing. I think that he deserves a little slack for not remembering to say everything that he should.

 

6:30am - Wake Up

 

6:45am - Breakfast

 

7:30am - Bus to Pool

 

7:45am - Arrive at Pool

 

8:00am - Stretch

 

8:30am - 2400M Warm Up

 

10:18am - 200 Fly Final

 

10:30am - Warm Down 1000M

 

10:59am - 200 Fly Medal Ceremony

 

11:16am -4×200 Free Relay Final

 

11:30am - Warm Down 300m

 

11:38am - 4×200 Free Medal Ceremony

 

11:55am - Warm down 800m

 

12:15pm - Press Conference

 

12:45pm - Doping Control Test

 

1:45pm - Bus to Olympic Village

 

2:00pm - Lunch

 

2:30pm - Rest

 

4:00pm - Team Meeting

 

5:00pm - Bus to Pool

 

5:15pm - Arrive at Pool

 

5:30pm - Stretch

 

5:45pm - Warm up 2400M

 

8:55pm - 200IM Prelim

 

9:10pm - Warm down 800M

 

9:45pm - Bus to Olympic Village

 

10:00pm - Dinner

 

11:00pm - Bed!!!

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>I don't know how many people saw the joint interview Bob

>Costas did on NBC last night with Mark Spitz and Michael

>Phelps. Spitz couldn't have been classier. He just heaped

>praise on Phelps calling him the "greatest Olympian"

>of all time.

 

I hope Phelps also realizes that, in 10 or 20 years, that will be HIM to the far right on the screen with a new swimming star in the middle. Sadly, Costas (with his ego bigger than God's) will still be at the far left of the screen. :-(

 

 

>I was a little disappointed in Phelps. Costas

>kept giving him a chance to give Spitz some praise or to thank

>Spitz for his praise and Phelps just didn't until the very,

>very end when he finally thanked him. I guess these young

>athletes are so single-minded that sometimes they don't learn

>things like that.

 

Maybe it took that long for Phelps' PR guru to pipe in on the earphones and tell him what to say.

 

>But it was a great interview and for all the negativity about

>Spitz here the past few days he couldn't have been more

>well-spoken and classy last night.

 

I think Spitz finally realized he legacy was moving from "greatest Olympian" to "sour puss". That is good he went into positive mode as the Gold kept racking up for Phelps.

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>>I don't know how many people saw the joint interview Bob

>>Costas did on NBC last night with Mark Spitz and Michael

>>Phelps. Spitz couldn't have been classier. He just heaped

>>praise on Phelps calling him the "greatest

>Olympian"

>>of all time.

>

>I hope Phelps also realizes that, in 10 or 20 years, that will

>be HIM to the far right on the screen with a new swimming star

>in the middle. Sadly, Costas (with his ego bigger than God's)

>will still be at the far left of the screen. :-(

>

>

>>I was a little disappointed in Phelps. Costas

>>kept giving him a chance to give Spitz some praise or to

>thank

>>Spitz for his praise and Phelps just didn't until the

>very,

>>very end when he finally thanked him. I guess these young

>>athletes are so single-minded that sometimes they don't

>learn

>>things like that.

>

>Maybe it took that long for Phelps' PR guru to pipe in on the

>earphones and tell him what to say.

>

>>But it was a great interview and for all the negativity

>about

>>Spitz here the past few days he couldn't have been more

>>well-spoken and classy last night.

>

>I think Spitz finally realized he legacy was moving from

>"greatest Olympian" to "sour puss". That

>is good he went into positive mode as the Gold kept racking up

>for Phelps.

>

 

 

Fascinationg as Mr Spock would say how people interpret the same events different ways. I had a slightly diffrent impression from the interview. I had disliked all the negativity shone to Spitz in the previous thread. After listening to the interview yesterday, I didn't think it was horrible on Spitz' part-- but I did think there was a little bit of self-aggrandizement going on. Not that he doesn't deserve some for his former atletic prowess--just there was still a lot of what I interpreted as being all "about me" rather than Phelps. At the end though Spitz did come across and say something about Phelps being the greatest Olympian. So again I thought it wasn't a horrible showing by Spitz--but there was some self-centeredness there. Oh, and you could see why Spitz never made it as an anchor or advertising TV pitchman, you could tell he was not that comfortable on screen.

 

On the other hand Phelps was not entirely blameless. It took him awhile to acknowledge Spitz' accomplishment--although here again he pulled it out at the end--saying something about because of Spitz, he and other athletes had goals to strive for.

 

Gman

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Some of you saw an entirely different interview, obviously, from the one I saw. Spitz couldn't have been more gracious while also acknowledging his own achievement. Although he said, repeatedly, that he thought it was even harder to do what he did today than it was back in 1972.

 

I guess some of you have something in your shorts about Spitz. We all know the problems -- some of them of his own making -- over the years but don't want to see how he was also treated in the 70s himself by a media that decided it was no longer interested.

 

The man has come around to show a great deal of class last night. And I find the excuses made on Phelps' behalf here to be either disingenous or dishonest. You cannot make the claim that his schedule is such that he was too tired to say the right thing and at the same time say that he obviously knows what Spitz has said about him in the past few weeks. Entirely inconsistent.

 

Phelps knows how to swim. But he obviously has not had many lessons in how to show some humility in winning and in acknowledging that others have achieved something in the past as well. I always find athletes annoying who don't seem to recognize that they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before them.

 

You would think that after all these years of fame -- and I say this as someone who admires Phelps -- he would have learned a bit more about PR and how to handle himself in these interviews.

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Guest ReturnOfS

>Some of you saw an entirely different interview, obviously,

>from the one I saw. Spitz couldn't have been more gracious

>while also acknowledging his own achievement. Although he

>said, repeatedly, that he thought it was even harder to do

>what he did today than it was back in 1972.

>

>I guess some of you have something in your shorts about Spitz.

>We all know the problems -- some of them of his own making --

>over the years but don't want to see how he was also treated

>in the 70s himself by a media that decided it was no longer

>interested.

>

>The man has come around to show a great deal of class last

>night. And I find the excuses made on Phelps' behalf here to

>be either disingenous or dishonest. You cannot make the claim

>that his schedule is such that he was too tired to say the

>right thing and at the same time say that he obviously knows

>what Spitz has said about him in the past few weeks. Entirely

>inconsistent.

>

>Phelps knows how to swim. But he obviously has not had many

>lessons in how to show some humility in winning and in

>acknowledging that others have achieved something in the past

>as well. I always find athletes annoying who don't seem to

>recognize that they stand on the shoulders of those who have

>gone before them.

>

>You would think that after all these years of fame -- and I

>say this as someone who admires Phelps -- he would have

>learned a bit more about PR and how to handle himself in these

>interviews.

>

>

 

Good God... So much grief over a swimming interview.

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I guess I saw the same interview you did. After what had been written on here and what I had heard listening to the local sports talk radio station, I expected last night to see a bitter man being forced to confront being equaled in accomplishment.

 

Instead I saw a gracious man who had every opportunity to say unkind things and chose not to. The new champion had every opportunity to say good things about Spitz and for the most part chose not to. Now analyzing why Michael didn't say many nice things about Mark, that will become a cottage industry.

I'll just point out a few things. It was his umpteenth interview since getting his 7th gold. After that many interviews a pattern of responses sets in.

 

Also, he may not have been listening carefully, because at one point Costas asked Spitz a question about Michael and Michael started to answer.

 

It is also possible that Michaels people had only prepped him for negative comments that might be made by Spitz. I think that is what many of us expected.

 

BUT I have to agree with the original poster. Spitz couldn't have been more classy and while I am not sure if that is the story the media wanted, it's the one they got. Whoever prepped Spitz did a good job.

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>... -- he would have

>learned a bit more about PR and how to handle himself in these

>interviews.

>

>

From what I've seen, including the interview referenced here, I wonder just how good of a "PR" rep Michael has, if any. I like how Costas mentioned that Mark Spitz had a mustache and had no cap covering the hair--it was a perfect opportunity for Michael to address how the sport has changed over the years and how results may have been different given the same circumstances for all athletes. Just my opinion...

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>It is also possible that Michaels people had only prepped him

>for negative comments that might be made by Spitz. I think

>that is what many of us expected.

 

I think you are dead on. That is what I expected and was a little stunned at first. Whether it was a self-awakening on Spitz's part that he was damaging his own image/brand or some wise person enlightened him we may never know. But I sure thought I was listening to a different person - so much so that I kept doubting it was genuine. I have got to quit being so skeptical.

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>...I saw a gracious man who had every opportunity to say unkind things and chose not to. The new champion had every opportunity to say good things about Spitz and for the most part chose not to... BUT I have to agree with the original poster. Spitz couldn't have been more classy and while I am not sure if that is the story the media wanted, it's the one they got. Whoever prepped Spitz did a good job.

 

That's exactly my perception, also. I was very impressed with the way Spitz handled himself.

 

But, I've also got to agree with other posters that Phelps needs some major help in the PR department. The more I listen to him the more self-centered he appears.

 

And I'm still steaming mad over the way he and a team mate were laughing and joking during the National Anthem after their relay win. If he doesn't know the words to the song the very least he can do is stand there QUIETLY and appear to show respect.

 

This guy is starting to come across as a "swimbot" (swimming robot). I'd love to see him show some emotion and perhaps even a little tear in his eye when he gets another medal. Has he become calloused by his success or (yawn) is he just bored?

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I didn't see the anthem ceremony you spoke of, but if they did that, it was bad form.

 

I am going to give Phelps the benefit of the doubt as to his lack of communication skills. I can only imagine the pressure cooker he lives in. It is no longer enough to train hard and try your best, now you have to be able to communicate since you are representing the whole country. Bad behavior is one thing and it's inexcusable. Bad PR skills, well as you say he needs some help with that.

 

I would imagine that when he wins his 8th medal, there will be some real emotion and tears. But if he is unable to find a way to translate his feelings in a way that the rest of us mere mortals can relate to, then he will find himself occupying more than just the records of Mark Spitz. He will have the distaste award as well.

 

It reminds me of a train of thought expressed in the new Batman movie about living as a hero long enough to turn into a villain. We love to tear down our heroes after we build them up.

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>We love to tear down our heroes after we build them up.

 

That sentence is too long. This crowd just likes to tear down heroes, build-up be-damned.

 

Phelps is criticized for not showing emotion (although I've seen plenty), and he's criticized for *showing* emotion/excitement too. He can't win, at least not here. (Fortunately "here" doesn't count for anything.)

 

At his age, I doubt I would have been able to process breaking a record that is OLDER THAN HIM, set before he was born. I'll give him a pretty wide berth, particularly since he isn't done swimming yet!

 

Eat. Sleep. Swim.

 

That is his life and no matter what he does during it, this bunch of bitter old biddies will knock him down.

 

::shaking head and walking away::

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Was that when they were playing the US National Anthem and the music kept messing up? The music would stop then start in the wrong spot. What was going through my mind then was, "Is it that hard for the Olympics people to get the music correct?".

 

 

"China messes up anthem at Michael Phelps’ first medal ceremony"

http://2008gamesbeijing.com/china-messes-up-anthem-at-michael-phelps-first-medal-ceremony/

 

 

"Phelps Gets Cheated During Medal Ceremony: National Anthem Screw Up"

http://fehrenbacher.wordpress.com/2008/08/10/phelps-gets-cheated-during-medal-ceremony-national-anthem-screw-up/

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I don't recall the music screwing up and believe it was a later incident. They were obviously talking amongst themselves and appeared to be laughing.

 

After being taken to the woodshed by Deej's remarks about us bitching about everything, I did a little research on Phelps. I didn't know he had ADD and this could explain some of his quirks. His social skills or the way he comes across could be affected by the way his brain is functioning.

 

I'll try to cut him some slack.

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As I have made it perfectly clear in other posts regarding Mark Spitz, I don't like him. However I must admit that IMHO he makes a damn fine looking 57 year old man. When he was young he did absolutely NOTHING for me, actually I found him rather dorky looking.

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>That sentence is too long. This crowd just likes to tear down

>heroes, build-up be-damned.

>

...

>

>That is his life and no matter what he does during it, this

>bunch of bitter old biddies will knock him down.

>

>::shaking head and walking away::

 

 

I’ve read a lot of your posts, Deej, and I usually agree with and admire your positions. I must take exception with being called a “bitter old biddy” for having expressed observations about Michael Phelps.

 

Once again, my opinion: I don’t view this exchange of perceptions and opinions as the “tearing down” of particular athletes. Instead, I see a vigorous, mature discussion among members of a forum—a forum that facilitates the opportunity to participate in such an exchange (Mature, that is, until someone starts calling names…).

 

Valid points have been made in support of both sides of this discussion and I find all the points interesting and thought-provoking—I’m sad that everyone can’t view this thread, and similar ones, the same way…

 

I certainly didn’t view the “OP” as trying to “tear down” Michael; merely making an astute observation. We all, of course, have our own opinions and perceptions.

 

Shake your head and walk away if you choose. I choose not to be stifled and to continue to contribute my opinion, in spite of name-calling…

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