(ATR) Michael Phelps turned the tables on the media during his Thursday appearance in the completely full main press conference room.
Coach Bob Bowman and Michael Phelps try being behind the camera for once. (ATR)
Just after sitting down, Phelps whipped out a camera and began taking photos, and his coach Bob Bowman followed suit.
“You’re taking pictures of us, (we) might as well take pictures of you,” Phelps said.
The biggest star of Beijing said he’s trying to savor everything in his last Olympics. Even though this is his fourth Games, he still enjoys Village life.
“I walked out of the cafeteria and I walked past three Russian female athletes who were taller than me,” Phelps said. “I thought, ‘Man, I thought I was tall.’ It’s cool to experience that.”
However, Phelps said he mainly sits in his room or in the common room at the Village trying to conserve energy for his seven events. If Phelps – who already has 14 gold and two bronze medals – wins at least three medals, he will surpass former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympian ever with 19 medals.
“You guys are the ones who keep bringing the medal count up,” he said, addressing the journalists. “I never once in my career said anything about medal counts. I’m going to get in the water and race as hard as I can. If a record happens, it happens.”
"Man, I thought I was tall," said Phelps. (ATR)
Phelps, who quickly tired of comparisons to Mark Spitz throughout his career, added, “I want to be the first Michael Phelps; that’s all I’ve wanted to do, and that’s what I will continue to try to do.”
His first event is the 400-meter individual medley Saturday, where he’ll have his first showdown with teammate Ryan Lochte, who won the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
“We have a couple of days to sit around and wait and then we get to fire one off,” Phelps said. “It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while. It’s going to be a fun one to start. You can guarantee it’s going to be loud in there opening night.”
Federer Talks Emotions, Pin-Swapping
Hours later in the same room, Roger Federer wooed media from New York to New Zealand, but only after delivering a poor example of Swiss timing.
"Reminds us of great memories," Roger Federer recalled about past Olympic Village stays. (ATR)
The longtime Rolex spokesman first postponed his presser by 30 minutes, then kept everyone waiting for another 15.
Fresh off breaking the mark of Pete Sampras for most weeks spent at No. 1, the reigning Olympic doubles champion said “only emotions can tell” whether winning his first singles gold medal – a result one reporter insisted to Federer was a given – would prove as sweet as any of his seven titles at Wimbledon, the tennis venue for London 2012.
Like many of his fellow players, the four-time Olympian won’t be living in the Village this time around. He said he didn't want to get stuck in 2.5 hours of London traffic and will instead be boarding out by the All-England Club.
“I’ve stayed twice in the Village, where I did the whole pin-swapping thing,” recalled Federer, who actually met wife Mirka – herself a tennis Olympian for Switzerland – at Sydney 2000.
“Reminds us of great memories,” he said.
Reported in London by Karen Rosen and Matthew Grayson
For general comments or questions, click here.
20 Years at #1: Your best source of news about the Olympics is AroundTheRings.com, for subscribers only.