Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prediction: Michael Phelps Olympic Program

Michael Phelps has made it clear that he will swim a shortened program in London 2012. It is a testament to his greatness that I all ready consider him a member of our next Olympic team rather than waiting till US Nationals to make this CERTAIN.

Now, if I was a greedy sports agent; (emphasis on filthy greedy), and I had Michael Phelps' ear, I would tell Phelps to undertake a shortened program that was risk free. In other words, leave the stage with nothing but gold in your hands. Leave undefeated and be considered the giant of the Olympics. No bronze medal, no silver, leave the theater with five gold medals only. Silly to consider but a mixed bag of medals would be interpreted as a "felled giant." Sports Agents don't like that brand. They like the word undefeated for when the press asked if he was now officially retired after winning 5-gold, I would insist he recite the following script. "Gee, I had so much fun out there that I may have have to rethink retirement. Maybe I will swim in 2016?" Blam! Speedo is forced to resign him for a couple more years just in case he does want to swim some more for Speedo does not need to see Phelps beat their suit in a final Olympic games in 2016.

So what events would I suggest he swim: 100-fly, 200-fly, 200-IM and the relays. I would tell him to skip the 100-free which I know is a Cardinal sin as is avoiding the 200-free as well. Listen, I am a greedy sports agent and I don't want my hottest property seen as dishing out a mixed result.

Now if I wasn't an example of a "greedy sports agent" for I do obviously have that little something they don't have; (a soul), I would want him to swim the 100-free and the 200-free and accept his anemic chances against Cielo, Bousquet, Bernard, Magnussen, and Nathan Adrian.

So what about Lochte?

Enter the next "Lindsay Vonn" who is poised to become the next face of the Olympics. He does not have to be Michael Phelps and win everything but he needs to medal in everything and get lots of face-time and be his usual charismatic self. This will get him on a Wheaties Box and some modeling gigs too I suspect! What will he swim, EVERYTHING! "Jeah, bro. Come at me!"

19 comments:

Likac said...

I also think Phelps should swim 200 back. He's a fantastic backstroker but he has never been serious about it. It would be really sad if he retired without any major backstroke medal.

TedBaker said...

I don't he'll go the 100-free but he will swim the 200. That 200-free will be, I think, one of the highlights of the up-comming games.

Tony Austin said...

The 200-free is going to be sick. The top 6-swimmers in the event are separated by 1/2-second.

junker23 said...

What do you think of the relays? If he's going for all golds he should probably skip out on the 400 free relay, no? It'll be a battle just to medal in that one.

Charlie said...

I think only the 200 fly is he the favorite. The 100 fly is such a quick race and it is not like he won by that much last time round! Then again I wouldn't bet against him.

I think he should go for the 200 free, purely out of selfish reasons I would not want to see that race without him in the field. 100 free he should avoid.

The relays will be interesting. Don't think the US are guaranteed gold, but he will probably walk away with a couple.

200 IM I think will be an epic two way fight.

Tony Austin said...

I agree with you. At this point is the 2012 Olympics for Phelps a "goodbye tour" or a legacy statement? If it is about legacy, he should skip the 100-free and 4x100-free relay.

Leaving the stage with nothing but gold is quite a statement and he should therefore pick his battles. Sun Tzu in his treatise "The art of War" said fight your enemy where he is weakest; hence my three event pick. It also would keep alive several endorsement contracts if 2016 is a possible option or even a pretended one.

Phelps is no master of the 100 free. His loping stroke is not the stroke of a sprinter. Granted, he is elite but so are the seven other guys he would be racing. Note, his very best time for the 100-free was in a techsuit in 2008 and that time is slower; (barely), than James Magnussen's best textile swim this year. Phelps time at FINA Worlds was more than a 1/2-second off Magnussen's. He is an underdog and Magnussen is young.

Tony Austin said...

The Australians will dominate in any thing that is a sprint freestyle.

The French will be too tired by the finals

Tony Austin said...

I want to include I am not an authority nor an expert coach and I am certainly not as skilled as my readers. I am summarily thinking like a greedy business agent.

If this final Olympics is summarily a goodbye tour and nothing short of a recreational endeavor then he should swim 14-events and just have fun.

Andy said...

I some ways I think it would be good for the Michael Phelps 'brand' if he were overhauled in a few events and came away with some lesser medals.

It would demonstrate to the non-swimming world what a monumental and once-in-an-epoch achievement Beijing was and counter those silly arguments about how 'easy' it is for swimmers to notch up multiple golds.

Tony Austin said...

I agree with what you say but look what happened to Lance Armstrong when he did his comeback.

Advertisers were not as interested in him as they were when he was winnin

Andy said...

Yes, true. The best possible outcome for Phelps' brand and legacy would be winning in a completely different set of events (such as 100 Free) which seemed to be the post-Beijing plan.

That looks almost impossible now.... but then so did 8 golds.

Tony Austin said...

One gold medal is a glorious victory, 14-gold medals is a statistic.

Here's an example, imagine being told that Bill Gates in worth over $5-billion dollars. Would you be more impressed with his net worth if he was worth more than $7.5-billion?

You sort of stop caring around $1-billion.

Anonymous said...

Tony Austin said...
The 200-free is going to be sick. The top 6-swimmers in the event are separated by 1/2-second.

jaja.. winning this one is enough

Unknown said...

If I were his agent - and, although I'm not an agent in real life, I have no soul and therefore am able to think like one - I would have him swim the 200 free, and I'd do it knowing that he might not even place in the medals. Here's why:

In 2008, he finished 3rd in the 200 free in what was hailed as "the race of the century." He went head-to-head against the strongest swimmers of the day, and audiences concluded that he was swimming purely for the love of the sport and the thrill of the competition. That race helped shape the image of a "pure" athlete, one who was motivated by the highest impulses and not merely by self-centered greed or ego. Before the race, I'd have him go before the assembled TV cameras and say, "All of the world's greatest swimmers are in this race, and many of them have trained purely for this race, and even though I am not the top seed I am looking forward to the fun of the competition and the chance to be a part of what promises to be one of best races in the history of our sport." Then, if he loses, he'll be lifted even higher as an example to kids everywhere - and of course he can kiss off the endorsements of the swim-suit makers, who have small budgets compared to the real players in the major leagues of consumer products ...

Tony Austin said...

Preemptive damage control before the race even starts. Do you think it would wash with advertisers? If he lost, would not the gunslinger that beat him be a better bet to sponsor in the short term since the eyeballs would be focused on the man who beat Phelps?

TedBaker said...

My bet is 200 free, 100 & 200 'fly, 200 IM and all three relays. And I'm betting he wins every event. (Ricky Berens will be 2012's John Lezak.) Dude's a beast, an absolute beast.
I've been around the sport for 40 years, as an athlete, coach and a administrator. I've seen the best of previous generations and there's been nothing like this guy. He has a ferocious competitive attitude and freakish feel for the water. And his ability to recover is off the chart. I'd argue that his recovery capacity is so unique as to make - quite literally - one in a billion. It'll be generations before we see anything like this guy again.

Tony Austin said...

So he is going to swim seven instead of eight? Seven-events is not a reduced program.

I am so not convinced he likes his job and that these Olympics is a business statement not a "goodbye lap"

TedBaker said...

Tony,, you misunderstand Phelps completely. Read Jerry West's autobiography "West by West" and that'll give you some insight to Phelps.

Phelps doesn't love his job, he NEEDS his job and his job is not swimming; it's winning. Swimming is just the best way he has to do his job.

Phelps burns with the need to prove himself. He's not the most handsome man on the planet, he's got ADD and his Dad left the family years ago. It all lines up. Phelps rages with the need to win. Every slight, ever naysayer, everybody who says he can't, he's not good enough goes becomes fuel.

People say that they understand that drive. Most of them are lying. They have no idea. Phelps is an Olympian, one of the all time great Olympians. You don't become Michael Phelps with normal motivation.

Tony Austin said...

I got ADD too, but you didn't notice right? ;-)

His rhetoric with Bowman as noted in ESPN denotes a different picture in my opinion.

Jerry West loves basketball and he hasn't stopped doing it for over a 1/2-century. I don't see Phelps having that same enthusiasm.