Bob Costas sits down with Mr. Michael Phelps of USA
There is no one better at interviewing sports people in the news than Bob Costas, whether it be a celebratory moment or a controversial one. His sitdown in '06 with that curly-haired snowboarder lady who blew a gold by showboating remains a classic of the genre.
Click below for his interview with M. Phelps last night.
And here are are Commack Bob's words to close the NBC prime time show:
"When you consider Dara Torres, silver has never shown so brightly. At 41, she was older than the combined ages of the gold and bronze medalists in the 50 free. And though she couldn't quite catch her, she then outswam Australia's Libby Trickett in the final leg of the medley relay. A true performance for the ages. Meanwhile, regarding her teammate, Michael Phelps, the numbers do not lie. It's beyond dispute he's the most prolific Olympic champion ever. Is he the greatest? That's subjective and there are cases to be made for other Olympians, across eras and across sports. Suffice it to say, it's difficult now to put anyone ahead of the 23 year old from Baltimore. In an age of specialization, he swims all four strokes. Mark Spitz, as great as he was, swam only the butterfly and the freestyle. And Phelps takes on all comers in a deep international field, each one gunning straight for him. He's not done yet, as he figures to add to his medal haul four years from now in London and, in doing so, perhaps end the debate all together. About this, however, there is no debate; what Phelps provided in Beijing was more than just sustained excellence. He provided the kind of theater that none of us will soon, if ever, will forget."Costas: In case you're not aware, Mr. and Mrs. America, I'd like to introduce you to Michael Phelps. He's a pretty good swimmer. He's had a pretty good Olympic Games. You don't even appear winded. You did exactly and fully what you came here to do. We got the immediate reaction with Andrea Kremer afterwards. A few more minutes for it to sink in, any perspective at all?
Phelps: (Pause) No.
Costas: (Laughter) There it is.
Phelps: I'm still at a loss for words. This was everything that I wanted to do, and everything I dreamed of. And, it's an amazing feeling. I do want to say that it wouldn't have been possible without the help from my teammates. They were a huge help to my success.
Costas: Let's tick them off here. As in, not make them angry, we don't want to tick them off, we want to tick off their names here. In the 4x100 free, Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones and of course Jason Lezak with the epic last leg. In the 4x200 free, Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay, and just now Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen and Lezak again, that's three of the eight.
Phelps: I guess starting off from the 400 free relay, you guys saw our reaction and how emotional and excited we were. And then the 800 free, we wanted to break seven minutes, and we went out and broke seven minutes. Tonight we wanted to end on a good note. Those relays are ours. The 400 medley relay is ours, and we wanted to keep it in our country, and we wanted to keep the world record. It was a good race. We went out there, and we put four swims and broke the world record and had one of the best times we've had all week.
Costas: You're aware, I guess, because Andrea mentioned it to you and we showed it for a moment earlier, that in your hometown of Baltimore where the Ravens played a preseason game tonight against the Vikings, the fans stayed around after the game ended. They showed it on the big screen and they went nuts.
Phelps: I was actually talking about that with my teammates this morning, with Peirsol and Brendan and Lezak this morning. I was like, this is going to be live at Ravens Stadium after the game. Almost 70,000 people screaming. It's cool. I'm excited to go home. I can't wait to see a football game. That's one of the biggest things I'm looking forward to when I get home.
Costas: Ian Thorpe was in the house. You're a bit like Michael Jordan in this respect. Jordan would extract motivation from any situation. He would even somehow identify a perceived slight from an intended complement. So, whether it's Thorpe or it's Cavic or whether it was Alain Bernard earlier, if it's there, if it's something real or imaginary that can get under your skin, you'll use it.
Phelps: Oh yeah. I said yesterday I welcome any comments. All they do is fire me up, and all they do for America is fire us up. Before the relay we were fired up, and that made just made us more fired up and fueled us even more to get ready to swim. I always welcome it, and I love when people say that somebody can't do something because you want to go out there and prove it that much more.
Costas: It was actually reasonable what Thorpe said, because if I've got it right, he wasn't so much saying it's impossible. He was saying it's highly unlikely because there are so many variables including the three that are relay events.
Phelps: I guess everything had to go perfect. We had to have a great last leg in the 4x100 free. I had to win by 0.01 in the 100 fly. It's a little bit of everything. Everything had to fall perfectly into place, and I was able to have probably the best week of my life.
Costas: Somebody told me about an hour ago that this week on facebook...
Phelps: Oh my gosh, it's crazy.
Costas: You've gone by Michael Jordan, Manchester United, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer. But it doesn't stop there. You've gone by the Jonas Brothers, you've gone by Miley Cirus you've gone by Justin Timberlake. You swept the board.
Phelps: I checked it one day and I checked it two days later, and I had like 2,800 in one day, and then I went back on two days later and had like 7,600 friend requests. I can't accept anymore, but I have those sitting in my box.
Costas: And of course, you consider them all close personal friends, and you'll respond to them all in due time.
Phelps: Of course, of course.
Costas: Also, you got Will Smith by the way. You moved past Will Smith, at least for the time being.
Phelps: It's cool. I'm having fun. That's all I've wanted to do.