Thursday, May 10, 2012

Sports Illustrated interviews Michael Phelps

His responses were measured and he stayed on message regarding retirement. He was cagey about his goals for London 2012. He stated with a mild qualification that the toughest "country" to compete against for the United States team will be the United States Olympic team. You recently said London will be your last Games. Could anything change your mind?

Michael Phelps: No. I've always said I don't want to swim past 30 and I know if I go one more, I'll be over 30. I don't want to ever be that person where people are like, God, he's this old and he's still doing it or he's been around for this long. So once I'm able to accomplish the goals that I have, if I can look back at my career and say I've been successful, that's all that matters to me.

I for one am concerned about the mens freestyle events which includes all the relays.

50-free, the Brazilians, French or Australians.

100-free, the Brazilians or Australians.

I think the only mens freestyle events we have a chance at doing a two man sweep in would be the 200-free and I wouldn't bet on it. Any country in the final could win.

Regarding the 400-1500-freestyle events, China! When was the last time we won a distance medal in the mens 1500-free? (Answer: 1984: [Link]

I am optimistic about the 4x200 free relay though China looks tough.

As for the 100-free relay, I have to give it to the Australians and the French.

This is not 1972 anymore. The world has caught up and definitely surpassing us in most freestyle and breaststroke events on the mens side. America has the pools and the coaches but American colleges and perhaps the parents and kids are not seeing any economic rewards for the time and effort it takes to put on a program or become an Olympian.

A swimmer ranked say number ten in any swimming event is probably making less than $50,000-a-year. A tennis player ranked number-50 is making $400,000 and that is just in winnings. Reference: Donald Young's 2011winnings: [Link]

With schools closing programs and no money to draw prospective athletes to the sport, we may soon see the rise of a new swimming superpower from a country that promotes the economic incentive to be the best.


junker23 said...

I mean, I knew there wasn't that much money in professional swimming (aside from the very, very best) but how the hell do tennis players make that much!??!

Tony Austin said...

That $400,000 is what the player made in winnings only! Sponsor earnings was not included.

Maria Sharapova rated, number 2, in the WTA has made made 2.3 million just this year. Her estimated earnings including sponsors and endorsements and such is estimated to be $24.2-million with a net worth of over $90-million.

Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer sponsors matches. Banks, tech companies, phone manufacturers as well

How did she make that much?

The way swimming is conducted, it is uninteresting to anyone outside of swimming.

Tennis has personality, it has player reactions and emotions, it easier to view whereas swimming is best viewed underwater but is viewed via bleachers. Men also love trajectory physics and Tennis is full of that.

then the economics: A "Wilson Steam 100 racket" costs $199. Shoes cost $100. A can of 24-balls costs $48. A Lacoste Alligator shirt; (wearing a black v-neck myself), is $78.00

The products sold within swimming are cheap: Cap goggles, suit, towel, sunscreen can all be had for less than $50.

Swimming has to change, it has to borrow from tennis, golf and horse racing. It needs brackets like the NCAA, and gambling as well. It needs equipment such as tech suits and kick-ass watches. Finally it needs to acknowledge that swimming is for rich people only like both golf and tennis are.

That alone would bring in advertisers if rich people were doing it.

jonisaacson said...

Maybe those last two sentences are intended as a joke. I hope so. I hate the thought that swimming is socio-economically closer to polo than to basketball.