Michael Phelps desperately needs a PR flack. His post-Olympics statements on NBC prove he is not ready for prime time interviews.
While Phelps is a freak of nature with athletic skills few other athletes have he does have a failing — he has a tin ear. Apparently humility is not one of his assets. Here are some of his comments when being interviewed by Bob Costas:
“I did everything I wanted to do. No regrets. I did everything I put my mind too.”
“I always looked up to Michael Jordan who won it all. Now I am able to say that. Pretty cool.”
“I always wanted to be the first in everything.”
Phelps quoted the US swim team captain: “Guys, you might not know it but you are on a team with the greatest swimmer of all time.”
“I have a million followers on Twitter.”
“I am looking to relax. To play golf. To travel the world. I want to do more than just visiting a city and seeing the hotel room and the pool. I want to see the cities. This is it. The last medal. I won’t swim any more.”
This was his chance to talk about something other than Michael Phelps. It was not a time to brag about his wonderful career. Nor personal claims that he was the Michael Jordan of swimming. Let others say that. And certainly not that he could channel his athleticism into golf. Every over-the-hill jock talks about taking up golf. I want to vomit. Sorry Michael, but no one cares if you take up golf.
It was the time to speak of things greater than himself. He was going to assume the mantle of leadership in the swimming world. He would help channel kids into swimming. He would work to keep the United States on top of the swimming world. He would help keep swimming in the national consciousness between the Olympic games.
He should have thanked everyone who helped make him a champion. His coach, his teammates, his family. All those who sacrificed to support his athletic ambitions. And perhaps his country and the 350 million people who were cheering for him.