Ok, one last Phelpsian post and then I promise to stop talking about him, at least for the duration of the Olympics.
Last night my mom and I were watching some of the track and field events and one of the commentators mentioned someone going pro. She wondered what that might entail as it applies to track and field and I told her that I'd read that while Michael Phelps attended the University of Michigan, he was not able to swim for them because of his status as a professional. I couldn't help but wonder (because I'm Carrie Bradshaw all of a sudden apprently) how it is someone can make a living as a professional swimmer or sprinter. It's not like football or basketball is it? Do people really pay money en mass to go see track or swim meets?
It wasn't until today that it occurred to me that maybe it's less about getting paid to swim and more about getting paid to be a famous swimmer. I read this morning that Speedo had made a deal with Michael that if he matched Mark Sptiz's 7 Gold medals record, they'd pay him $1 Million. Just for doing something he was going to be busting his ass to do anyway. And I assume that that's a bonus over and above what they pay him to be one of their "spokes models." He also has a deal with Omega watches and is likely being eyed like a Christmas goose by Nike who could use him to launch a swimwear line covered with his name and pay him upwards of $30 or $40 Million for that. He also has endorsement deals through the Olympic team with Visa and Hilton Hotels. So he swims because it's his passion and gets paid because he's freakishly good at it, which is kind of awesome if you ask me.
And the last thing I'm going to say about Michael Phelps and his team mates on the US Men's Olympic Swim Team is a follow up to my earlier post on the vaguely pornographic nature of the new swimwear. This is a picture of Ricky Berens, Ryan Lochte and Michael Phelps during one of the early relay races. As you can see, Ricky has his pants at a totally appropriate level but Ryan and Michael would like us all to think a lot about their penises and therefore they have their pants pulled down to approximately a millimeter above where their boy bits reside. Thanks guys, that doesn't make me feel pervy at all!