Monday, August 18, 2008

It's not that I don't like Michael Phelps...

Really, I do like him. I like watching him swim. I think we can all agree that what he did during this Olympics is extraordinary. Extraordinary.

But, I am sick and tired of seeing him interviewed. Last night, I actually watched a show about two ladies who lost 800 pounds between them, rather than see Michael Phelps and his mom interviewed by Bob Costas (who is rubbing me the wrong way himself).

My reasons are two-fold:

a) I don't think he's all that interesting of a person. Before the moratorium on Phelps interviews, I did watch quite a few, and I think he's more captivating whilst in the water.

b) I have this sneaking suspicion he's a bit of a tool, and I don't want to stick around to see that suspicion confirmed.

I'm happy to watch him swim and win races, particularly relays anchored by Jason Lezak, but that's it. I don't want to see him co-host Regis and Kelly, or give out the Powerball numbers, or guest star on 30 Rock (actually, I might watch that).

So, Bob, lay off the interviews, save them for the internet, and show more actual Olympic events. Events that mean something, like the Pentathlon.


  1. here's the thing: it's not like he's asking to do these interviews. i'm sure the guy is exhausted and would rather just go home and eat an entire pizza and a short stack of flapjacks and hit the hay. people are expecting all of this out of him and he is just trying to fulfill his duty of being all record breaking and medal winning and stuff.
    i certainly think he is on the brink of overexposure, but by no fault of his own. i think he's a badass and a seemingly nice guy. the end.

  2. Yes, I am also tired of the Phelps coverage and that other athletes are being overlooked. At my blog I posted a quote by Levi Leiphimer that really captures the appreciation of an athlete making the podium at the olympics. It is the type of story being ignored by the Phelps obsessed media. See

  3. annie, I don't disagree that the overexposure is not Michael Phelp's fault, hence the title of this post.
    What I am saying is that I'm sick of this coverage. I love the swimmning events, but honestly, I'm glad they're over so I don't have to hear Bob Costas opine on whether Michael Phelps is the "greatest athlete of all time".

    Mike, you make an excellent point. Everyone should read this:
    Michael Phelps entered 8 events, and won gold in 8 events. Amazing. Noteworthy.
    But fencing players only have two events to compete in. Total.
    Beyond that, Benjamin Boukpeti from Togo won a Bronze medal in whitewater, earning the ONLY MEDAL EVER for Togo. Isn't that just as noteworthy?
    I just wish there was a little more balance in the coverage.

  4. I agree that the other gold medal winners are being overlooked. 100%. The problem is, that is always going to happen. There is always a star of the Olympics, or at least a star event that is given more attention than the others. It's not like NBC isn't constantly checking ratings and putting together focus groups to find out what "the people" want to see. This year, my friends, it's Michael Phelps. In 2012 it will be someone or something else (if he retires, which i think he should, i mean, quit while you're ahead).
    Since other countries apparently don't cover the USA as much as the USA covers the USA (I'm talkin' to you, Canada) then, unfortunately, awesome things like Togo's win are going to be overlooked by our coverage. You can bet your life that Togo is going wild for Benji.

  5. I don't even think we disagree here. I don't know why things always have to get so tense between us, Annie.

  6. Annie,

    How can someone be a badass and a nice guy too?

  7. joe,
    are you not a nice guy and also a badass? i am most certain you are.

  8. Hey Val! I decided to return the lurking favor. ;-)

    So here's my take... Olympics=Capitalism in the US, (as anything that attracts attention is transformed into a buck in this country). I read an article earlier in the week about how NBC is kind of in a state of panic, begging Phelps to stick around in Bejing even though he has nothing left to do simply so they can keep throwing him up on the screen, and keep people glued to their TV screens. He's a marketing icon now whether anyone likes it or not.

    I have a secret crush on the Phelps family. I actually geekified myself earlier this week and emailed Debbie Phelps with my commendations. Who would have guessed a single mom with and ADHD 9-year-old son would stick him in the swimming pool to solve one problem and watch him climb out 14 years later an international superstar? There's the phenomenon. My hat's off to her. As for Michael, I didn't watch many of his interviews because I agree that he's just a simple guy without much to say. But I have been struck by his humility. That says so much for his character. I sense that he's just as tired of the attention as you are, and he's fully aware that there are others who need to share the spotlight.

    I admit, I like the guy, and I think we need to let him go home and have a normal life now. (Camera cue to next Olympic gold medalist.)