Bill's Rant

Forgetting the golden ticket

August 13, 2008|By BILL ORDINE

More than three decades ago, Mark Spitz was the American super-athlete with enough gold hanging around his neck to qualify him for his own safety deposit box at Fort Knox.

Today, the former swimming star, 58, who captured seven golds at the 1972 Summer Games in Munich sounds a little curmudgeonly as he complains that no one has invited him to Beijing to preside as the swimming god emeritus while Michael Phelps carries the standard for America.

"I never got invited," Spitz was quoted as saying. "You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am."

And 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."

The point here is that the Phelps-Spitz comparisons have been obvious for, well, forever and it shouldn't have come down to an "oops" while the Games are going on in Beijing.

It's unclear who was supposed to send Spitz his engraved invitation, but this much is clear: Someone, or several someones, dropped the ball. At the same time, Spitz's attitude, which verges on petulance, that he's being ignored doesn't wear well on him, either.

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