ENTERTAINMENT
09/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Mark Spitz Needs To STOP TALKING

US swim legend Mark Spitz won't be on hand in Beijing if Michael Phelps breaks his record of seven gold medals at a single Olympics -- because, he says, no one bothered to invite him.

Spitz said the International Olympic Committee, a US television network or FINA -- the international body that governs world swimming -- should have brought him to the Games this year, with Phelps making a go at his record.

"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," Mark 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."

Spitz became one of the most famous athletes in the world at the 1972 Munich Olympics, winning seven gold medals -- with seven world records -- in what many consider to be one of the greatest achievements in all of sport.

Phelps is aiming to better that mark in Beijing, hoping to bring home eight golds. And Spitz, now 58 and grey and without his trademark moustache, cannot understand why he wasn't asked along to see the show.

"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."

Keep reading

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Here's an article on Mark Spitz's 1972 achievement and some more Mark Spitz news about Phelps' quest to beat him. Plus, here is a Sports Illustrated interview with Mark Spitz from last month.