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SBD Global/July 23, 2012/People and Pop Culture

Mark Spitz Thinks Michael Phelps Will Compete At The 2016 Rio Olympics

Swimming legend MARK SPITZ revealed that he "believes in the man billed as his successor, MICHAEL PHELPS," but only partially: while Spitz thinks Phelps will do great in London 2012, he does not really believe these will be his last Games, according to the DPA. Spitz also dismissed the real significance of the highly-publicized clash between Phelps and Ryan Lochte in London. Spitz said, "That's made for television. I'm not a betting man, but if I were to place my bets I'd be betting on Michael Phelps." He added, "The race I think is going to be the really interesting race is the very first race of the Olympic Games in the men's competition, which will be the 400m individual medley." Spitz does not see Phelps going off to university, and he speaks from experience as he says that endorsement deals and other such business opportunities "don't last forever." For that reason, Spitz "would put more than a 50-50 chance" of a comeback for Phelps, whatever he says now, perhaps to compete in just one or two events in the future. Spitz retired at 22, but only because the rules made it necessary for him. He said, "You couldn't make a penny, and I needed to pay for dental school. I had to go off and accept a couple of the huge, enormous cash offers. Had the rules been different then, as they are currently are now, I would have obviously competed for at least another Olympic Games. My sponsors would have wanted me to. But that wasn't what was available to me at the time" (DPA, 7/22). The DPA also reported that the "62-year-old American will write columns for the German Press Agency (DPA) for the London Games, as he did four years ago from Beijing" (DPA, 7/22).
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