Seventies man Mark Spitz made such an idiot of himself in an interview with AFP yesterday.
“I never got invited. You don't go to the Olympics just to say, I am going to go. Especially because of who I am," Spitz told AFP in Hong Kong.
"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."
"They voted me one of the top five Olympians in all time. Some of them are dead. But they invited the other ones to go to the Olympics, but not me," he said. "Yes, I am a bit upset about it."
Now a stockbroker and motivational speaker, Spitz also thinks he could have won eight golds himself in Munich if only he had had the chance.
"I won seven events. If they had the 50m freestyle back then, which they do now, I probably would have won that too," he said.
Spitz, whose brief stint in show business in the 1970s never quite matched his success in the pool, said he attended the Athens Olympics four years ago—when Phelps also tried to break the record.
"They did not once put my face on television," he recalled. "But as soon as the swimming was over, and Michael Phelps didn't break my record, every time I went to beach volley, they put my face on the volleyballs."
Spitz said it would have been a great idea if he could be the one presenting the gold medals to Phelps, who has for years been candid about his ambition to eclipse the mark of seven golds.
And Spitz thinks Phelps will succeed—for one very good reason.
"He's almost identical to me. He's a world-record holder in all these events, so he is dominating the events just like I did," Spitz said. "He reminds me of myself."