Usually it’s Jewish mothers who boast and brag about their children’s accomplishments. A big ego on a nice Jewish boy, however, is rather unbecoming.
Mark Spitz — who is “considered the Greatest Olympic athlete of all-time” and whose name “is synonymous with excellence” (according to his Web site) — may be about to have his record of seven gold medals in a single Olympics, set during the 1972 games, broken by fellow American swimmer Michael Phelps.
Spitz, who is perhaps the greatest living Jewish sports legend, has been pouting over the fact that he wasn’t officially invited to the Beijing Olympics.
“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 Agence France-Presse. “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.”
Much is now being made of Phelps’s possible eclipse of Spitz’s gold-medal record. With five gold medals and three world records already under Phelps’s swimming cap this Olympics, Spitz may just have to grin and bear it. Fortunately, he’s humble about the whole thing, saying of Phelps: “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. He reminds me of myself.”
August 16 is the date that Phelps could win his seventh and eighth golds in Beijing, but Spitz already has plans that weekend, so he probably wouldn’t have been able to make it even if he had received a personal invite. Spitz will be at a Jewish community center in West Bloomfield, Mich., according to the Detroit Free Press, watching his 16-year-old son compete in basketball in the Maccabi Games.
This story "Spitz: Gold Medal Pouter" was written by Dan Levin.