Thursday, August 14, 2008

Michael Phelps Calls Americans 'Front Runners' For Only Following Swimming Every Four Years

In an interview with muckraking sports program Best Damn Sports Show Period, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps called Americans "front runners" for only following Olympic sports every four years.

On Thursday night's episode of the FOX Sports show Phelps, who has won five gold medals and set five world records at this year's Summer Games, told the hosts he felt, for some reason, the United States public only seems to support swimming every four years when athletes from all over the world gather in one place to compete in their respective sports.

"There are times, ya know it's like, one of those countries they, ya know ... I might catch some flak for this - they're front-runners," said Phelps "When you're doing good, they're on your side. When you're doing bad they're completely against you."

Phelps compared his situation with that of the the swimmer who came in behind him, winning the silver medal in the 200m butterfly and 400m individual medley in this year's games.

"For example, Laszlo [Cseh]'s from Hungary. Ya know, Hungary, it seems like, they support their team. They're out there ... and they're encouraging. In The U.S., you can't be no punk," he said.

Phelps' remarks have set off a firestorm among sports fans in the U.S. who argue that the Olympics only happen every four years and wouldn't know how to follow the sports beyond that time frame even if they wanted to.

However, some sports figures in the United States have stood behind Phelps' remarks. Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins said Phelps was completely right about front running fans.

"If he lived in Philly he'd really see how bad it was," said Rollins. "Try swimming laps with guys chanting E-A-G-L-E-S the entire time."

Rollins' teammate Ryan Howard responded by saying, "Uhhhhh ...."