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seltzer
July 28th, 2004, 02:19 PM
Anybody else out there detect out there a petulant tone from Ian Thorpe on the subject of Michael Phelps?

Context:

Back in 2002, Thorpe was toying with the idea of swimming some non-free events in order to achieve a Spitz-lie medal haul in 2004. People pointed to his background in backstroke and possiblity of swimming IM as possible avenues. He wisely ducked out of backstroke when it became apparent that the 100 back is one of strongest events in the world right now.

He then tried to the 200 IM, before Phelps emerged on the scene in late 2002/2003 an event that was dominated by 28 year-old Europeans but then got trounced by Phelps in this event at Worlds.

Phelps performance at Worlds in 2003 overshadowed Thorpe and the great Aussie start shelved his plans to branch out. He's now aiming for 200/400 gold and is a darkhouse candidate for 100 gold.

Recent Snipes from Thorpe:

1) When asked about the probability of Phelps hauling in multiple medals he retorted it's "impossible" (o.k. that's a defensible position) and further more "no one should even try". (sounds like he's jealous to me). Phelps to his credited responded, "Spitz did it once" and "he's talking about himself not me".

2) Recently when asked if he was worried about Phelps in the 200 free, Thorpe's reply ..."we're worrried about the whoe field". He's not giving Phelps any credit for challenging him in an event that the 19 year old is really the underdog but wants to race it for the challenge and experience.

3) Now Thorpe is smearing the reptuation of his unnamed competitors by claiming that "I've raced against competitors that are using drugs" and "the sport is not clean".

What kind of champion is Thorpe? He's not helping our sport with his attitude. Why not welcome the competition and be gracious about it. Why not wish Phelps good luck but tell him that he'll have his hands full beating him in the 200. If he has evidence about illegal drug use why not name names and not hide behind blanket accusations. And let's remind the Thorpedo if Phelps does accomplish his medal haul there is no crying in swimming.

BTW, for the record the US men beat the Australian men in all three relays.

PS: The Aussie women's team is the strongest ever and will likely beat the US women in 2 of the 3 relays.

aquageek
July 28th, 2004, 02:49 PM
Trash talking is good, makes it more fun to watch the actual competition. I think both Phelps and Thorpe should engage in more as I find it hard to dislike either since both seem rather decent fellows.

Kind of reminds me of the way gull80's local "college" likes to think they are a legit university but get trounced every time they travel a 100 miles or so west. (gull80 - I know you didn't go to EZU).

LindsayNB
July 28th, 2004, 05:00 PM
I find it amazing the spin that people try to put on Thorpe's comments, when you see them in context they always come down to saying that he thinks it's impossible in todays context of having to swim semi-finals and increased specialization, that he wishes Michael well and hopes he makes it, and that he thinks it is unfortunate that a lot of people will consider Phelps a disappointment if he only wins six gold.


"I don't think anyone will win seven (swimming) gold medals at the Olympics," he said.

"If it's going to matter, I be delighted to see Michael do it. I don’t really care. The biggest sadness is that if he wins six it would be amazing, but it will be deemed as a failure."
From foxsports.au article (http://foxsports.news.com.au/olympics/story/0,9744,10269698-35135,00.html)

Gee golly, what a mean spirited thing to say. NOT!

craiglll@yahoo.com
July 28th, 2004, 07:11 PM
It will be very hard for Phelps to win all of the races he has entered because of the new format with the qualifying & Semi's. If he does it will be great. We must remember though that the total number of races he will be swimmin gis far more than what Spitz had to do.

Also, Thorpe's overall form is much better in the free. Look at how phelps screws the lightbulb and doesn't drop the pinkie when he first catches the water, esp. with his left hand. that creates drag, uses more time & creats drag. Both are probably the best swimmers around right now. But both have trememdous competition.

It will be an exciting competition. Hopefully, it will spark some true interest in swimming in this country. the real debate seems to me to be why are so many colleges dropping swimming as a sport in the USA. In Australia, the number of clubs, the dominant organizations through which people compete, has dramatically increased over the last 20 years.

seltzer
July 28th, 2004, 07:58 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by LindsayNB
[B]I find it amazing the spin that people try to put on Thorpe's comments, when you see them in context they always come down to saying that he thinks it's impossible in todays context of having to swim semi-finals and increased specialization, that he wishes Michael well and hopes he makes it, and that he thinks it is unfortunate that a lot of people will consider Phelps a disappointment if he only wins six gold.


How about his recent "smear" campaign against his competitors re drugs? Also his "no one should try" that produced Phelps retort?

Please provide the context for these remarks so we can all be set straight. If he thinks his competitors are on drugs prove it and name names!

LindsayNB
July 28th, 2004, 10:57 PM
I'm not sure about his comments about drugs, I was referring to his comments about Phelps.

With respect to Phelps I have never seen a quote from Thorpe saying "no one should try" only comments that he doesn't think it is possible and that Phelps should not be considered a failure if he comes up short. If you can cite a source for a direct quote for "no one should try" I would be interested and probably disappointed in Thorpe.

On the drug front, I remember the bronze medal winner in a cross-country ski event at the last winter Olympics making comments that her sport was not clean and being jumped on by everyone. In the end the gold and silver winners had their medals taken away for doping offences. Just saying that you believe that drug use is taking place in your sport isn't necessarily a smear campaign. There were Chinese swimmers sent home for packing banned substances to the Sydney Games weren't there?

DocWhoRocks
July 29th, 2004, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
the real debate seems to me to be why are so many colleges dropping swimming as a sport in the USA.

You can thank Title IX :rolleyes: for that. But that's a whole other thread.

craiglll@yahoo.com
July 29th, 2004, 10:53 AM
Title IX has very little to do with why colleges are dropping swimming. Most are dropping swimming because they can't admit that football and basketball are sucking the life out of college sports.

there are drugs in swimming. the high school in my town recently sepended two guys for selling a pain killer. they told the people who bouhgt them that the drug was an undetectable steriod. AAboiut 15 boys bought the drug. I really doubt that either Thorpe or Phelps are taking any illegal drugs. First they are to high profile and are frequently tested because they win. Second, it would take a great toll on them financially. I do wonder about some of the older people who are still able to make great tiems. they are doing somehting. Possibly through great coahes & diet, they're making it happen. I boubt it though.

LindsayNB
July 29th, 2004, 11:01 AM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
why are so many colleges dropping swimming as a sport in the USA.

If you go to swiminfo.com (http://swiminfo.com/) they have an indepth analysis under News: Saving our sport (http://swiminfo.com/saving_our_sport.pdf). They argue that Title IX is not the problem, concluding:


Stated another way, men competing in non-revenue intercollegiate and high
school sports, including the Olympic sports of swimming and water polo, are
losing the opportunity to train and compete because of expanded funding and
roster sizes for men’s football and basketball.

Guvnah
July 29th, 2004, 01:07 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB

men competing in non-revenue intercollegiate and high school sports, including the Olympic sports of swimming and water polo, are losing the opportunity to train and compete because of expanded funding and roster sizes for men’s football and basketball.


This matches my first reaction to the Title IX statement.

But I'd like to add a little different perspective to this. Colleges are struggling to survive financially. Football and Basketball are the two biggest athletic moneymakers in the college world. In most cases, additional $$$ funneled to these two sports come back multiplied in revenue. (Gate revenue, TV, bowl games and tournament payouts, merchandizing.)

I'll be the first to ask the leading question whether the primary purpose of colleges and universities is to educate, or to develop a winning (aka profitable) sports program. But that question is sadly ignored under the current cultural/capitalistic realities of this society.

seltzer
July 29th, 2004, 01:19 PM
With respect to Phelps I have never seen a quote from Thorpe saying "no one should try" only comments that he doesn't think it is possible and that Phelps should not be considered a failure if he comes up short. If you can cite a source for a direct quote for "no one should try" I would be interested and probably disappointed in Thorpe.

I will dig it up. Perhaps others can find it quicker since I'm actually working at a USA swim meet this weekend. But the Phelps comment was specifically in response to Thorpe's "no one should try". Granted we should find the quote.

Just saying that you believe that drug use is taking place in your sport isn't necessarily a smear campaign. There were Chinese swimmers sent home for packing banned substances to the Sydney Games weren't there? [/B][/QUOTE]

Thorpe's comment were directly about people he has competed against and you can find them on the news reports on USA Swimming website.

I believe if you make such accusations you should be direct...Shirley Babashoff pointed directly at the East Germans and others, such as Phil Whitten's comments about Chinese 5 years ago, are on the mark because they have the courage to name/names and cite evidence.

seltzer
July 29th, 2004, 01:22 PM
Also, Thorpe's overall form is much better in the free. Look at how phelps screws the lightbulb and doesn't drop the pinkie when he first catches the water, esp. with his left hand. that creates drag, uses more time & creats drag. Both are probably the best swimmers around right now. But both have trememdous competition.

I think this race is going to come down to experience and strength and not technique. Both Thorpe and Phelps are good enough technically. Question is whether Phelps has the strength at age 19 to descend that third 50 to stay with Thorpe. Also experience in a 200 is very important and Phelps is at disadvantage vis-a-vis his major competitors (Thorpe, Hoogie, Hackett and even Keller ) in this regard. He just hasn't swum the 200 free in major international meets before.

In two years, or less, Phelps will smash Thorpe's record in the 200 once he "grows into his body".

DocWhoRocks
July 29th, 2004, 01:23 PM
Originally posted by LindsayNB


Stated another way, men competing in non-revenue intercollegiate and high school sports, including the Olympic sports of swimming and water polo, are losing the opportunity to train and compete because of expanded funding and roster sizes for men’s football and basketball.




Less funding for swimming, I can see that. But how can they say title 9 isn't part of the problem if the football & basketball teams are getting larger? That means that either more women must be added or other men/sports are dropped to adhere with title 9.

aquageek
July 29th, 2004, 01:50 PM
It continues to amaze me that people hold Title IX responsible for all college athletic evils. I fail to see how something that has encouraged more sports participation is a bad thing. It is my understanding that college athletic participation is at an all time high. When will the Title IX moaning and groaning end? Isn't it about time to stop crying about that? After all, there's not crying in swimming.

tjburk
July 29th, 2004, 02:03 PM
Geek....remember, there is always crying in swimming! You just don't see it for obvious reasons:D :D

seltzer
July 29th, 2004, 04:04 PM
. Just saying that you believe that drug use is taking place in your sport isn't necessarily a smear campaign. There were Chinese swimmers sent home for packing banned substances to the Sydney Games weren't there? [/B][/QUOTE]

USA Today reports today, Sports Section page 8c that FINA "strongly condemns three-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe's assertion that some of HIS OPPONENTS [caps added] at the Athens game will have taken performance-enhancing drugs."

OK Thorpe name names or shut up!

LindsayNB
July 29th, 2004, 04:32 PM
But I'd like to add a little different perspective to this. Colleges are struggling to survive financially. Football and Basketball are the two biggest athletic moneymakers in the college world. In most cases, additional $$$ funneled to these two sports come back multiplied in revenue. (Gate revenue, TV, bowl games and tournament payouts, merchandizing.)

According to the paper I cited earlier:


Football and basketball we’re told, over and over again until we no longer question it, are “revenue sports.” Well, yes, at Notre Dame and USC and Penn State. But, according to the NCAA, they are money losers at the vast majority of colleges and universities. Last year, according to the NCAA, well over 80 percent of Div. IA and IAA football teams lost money.


The problem seems to be that the forces that act on college athletic directors tend to encourage them to put every available penny into football and basketball. Title IX prevents them from cutting women's programs without making corresponding cuts to men's programs. We can all come to our own conclusions about whether the problem is that football and basketball are crowding out all other sports or that Title IX prevents women's sports from taking the brunt of the cuts.

gull
July 29th, 2004, 04:50 PM
The football programs keep the alumni happy, and happy alumni donate money to the university.

I'm not sure what this has to do with crying in swimming. Perhaps if you spilled a scalding hot cup of coffee on yourself after hearing that the swimming program had been cut...

LindsayNB
July 29th, 2004, 05:08 PM
Originally posted by seltzer
USA Today reports today, Sports Section page 8c that FINA "strongly condemns three-time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe's assertion that some of HIS OPPONENTS [caps added] at the Athens game will have taken performance-enhancing drugs."

OK Thorpe name names or shut up!

Actually quoting Thorpe instead of FINA:


"Of course I've swum against athletes that have been on drugs," he said.

He predicted it was "most likely" he would do so again.


Consider that HGH is currently undetectable, with hopes that tests will be available for Athens or shortly thereafter.

Consider the consequences for a swimmer of naming names, not only are they likely to be attacked by their sport ala Shirley Babashoff, they are likely to be sued by the named, and they have no ability to prove anything, they don't have drug testing facilities.

Strangely, "name names or shut up!" is pretty much a direct quote of the rant by World doping agency head Dick Pound to Ms Scott, prior to the two people who beat her in her race testing positive.

I suggest that if you want a better idea of things Thorpe actually says you should look to the Australian media.

Btw, Hackett has also called for improved testing, also in the interest of safeguarding the good name of the sport.

http://foxsports.news.com.au/olympics/aquatics/

craiglll@yahoo.com
July 29th, 2004, 07:10 PM
Recentcly, I have read (I think) three different studies that have argued that the growing budgetys necessary for football & basketball have directly taken away money from other men's sports. Unfortunatley, I don't have the titles with me. When you look at budgets for athletic departments, you will quickly find that huge gains have been made for football through coaches, training & teaching assistants. The reason most A.D.'s have grown their departments to be huge money suckers is because it takes so much to run them. they have swollowed the available money that use to be for swimming, wrestling, cross country - not women's sports. Now we see the same thing happening with large schools' women's basketball programs. Football no longer generates revenue nor donors for most universities except to the sports.

k140j
July 29th, 2004, 07:24 PM
Originally posted by craiglll@yahoo.com
Recentcly, I have read (I think) three different studies that have argued that the growing budgetys necessary for football & basketball have directly taken away money from other men's sports. ...When you look at budgets for athletic departments, you will quickly find that huge gains have been made for football through coaches, training & teaching assistants. The reason most A.D.'s have grown their departments to be huge money suckers is because it takes so much to run them. they have swollowed the available money that use to be for swimming, wrestling, cross country - not women's sports. Now we see the same thing happening with large schools' women's basketball programs. Football no longer generates revenue nor donors for most universities except to the sports.

Last time I checked, women were people, too, so it's critical to stop whining about Title IX.

That said (and, conceding that I am off-topic as well), I suggest those interested read The Game of Life: College Sports and Educational Values by James L. Shulamn and William G. Bowen. To quote a reviewer - "Makes a compelling case that athletics has utterly warped not only big colleges, but most of education, and in ways that go far beyond the usual allegations of diverting resources and spreading cynicism." (Marc Fisher, Washington Post). Out of print, but available used at your favorite online used book purveyor. EXTREMELY sad and frustrating study.........

Kathy

LindsayNB
August 10th, 2004, 10:22 AM
A swiminfo.com writer has posted his take on the controversy around Ian Thorpes comments on doping in swimming:

swiminfo article (http://swiminfo.com/lane9/news/7736.asp)

Matt S
August 11th, 2004, 09:40 PM
Read the article. Here are a couple of takes on it.

1) I agree with Ian and Grant, we could do a lot more to make drug testing more effective, and probably there have been some swimmers in the same events as Ian and Grant who had used drugs. I don't think that is particularly surprising (I was about to say "scandalous" but honestly, it is pretty bad people would do that, and they deserve to get caught.) But, bottom line, who has the World Record in the 400 and the 1500, by a lot in both cases? The fact that they are saying this, when obviously they have still managed to kick the butts of all the cheaters, makes their comments even more relevant and not subject to criticism as a bunch of excuses from malcontents. So basically, I condemn all the condemnations of what they had to say.

2) Drug testing in retaliation for their remarks? C'mon, you got to be kidding me! First, how is it reprisal to test these guys when they are clean and they have demanded more testing? The reason they have not complained about it is because this is the very thing they requested. Unless you have trapsed off into conspiracy land, and you think FINA spikes the urine samples of athletes it does not like, or you buy into the cheaters' arguments that the testing is sloppy and only IDs innocent athletes, this is not a bad thing. Second, yeah it is unlikely that both Thorpe and Hackett would be picked at random, but hey, I don't want random testing of just anyone in the Olympics. These guys are the World Record Holders, defending Olympic Champions, and likely winners in their events. I WANT THE BOTH OF THEM TESTED MORE OFTEN THAN OTHER ATHLETES TO PROTECT THEIR REPUTATIONS AND THE INTEGRITY OF THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!! Same/same for Michael Phelps and our other top athletes.

3) I am a little uncomfortable with the relentless FINA bashing. Yes they are a little arogant and they have needed some prodding in the drug testing arena. But, they have made good progress there, and when international olympic movement standardized drug testing policies across sports, they had to dial back swimming because our program was more hard nosed than most other sports. To accuse FINA of doing nothing except when under duress is a bit rich. Also, the FINA World Cup Series has added a new and interesting twist to international swimming every year, not just olympic years, and made it possible to talk about a professional swimming circuit. And, the FINA World Championship have achieved a stature almost comparable to the Olympics, with World Records just as likely as at the more heavily covered Olympics. And, the FINA Masters World Championship meets have blossomed and come into their own. Criticize FINA for the policies you think are wrong headed; I'm fine with that. However, one can cross the line separating legitimate, constructive criticism and myopic ingratitude. I don't particularly care for bashing great swimmers like Janet Evans merely because you happen to disagree with their positions on the issues. You can disagree without questioning someone's motives or integrity.

Matt

seltzer
August 12th, 2004, 09:53 AM
I AGREE WITH MATT S. BUT....

This swiminfo article is a proganda piece. Yes, FINA could do more about catching drug cheaters (so could the USA and Aussie authorities) but what does that have to do with Thorpe's comments. No one has any problems with complaints about FINA it's his finger-pointing at unnamed competitors that set's everyone off.

Then there is Thorpe's recent comments about "performances versus medals" (see NYT, AP and Aussie wire services). This is in response to constant questions about Phelp's medal attempts and questions about Thorpe's medal hopes. Wonder what Thorpe would say if someone asked him why he hasn't set a world record LCM in years and will he be disappointed if he doesn't set a world record at the Olympics? Bet Thorpe changes his tune to it's just about winning the gold.

The truth is that Thorpe's seems to be struggling with his image in the swimming world. As a teenager he was a real phenom. He greatly upstaged by Phelps at World Championship. Phelps beat him head-to-head (that doesn't matter though because Thorpe's performance was good) and set multiple world records.

Thorpe is a great swimmer. Now we'll see if he's a great competitor....in my mind that's all that counts. He'll have to prove himself a great competitor in Athens to establish his legacy because ultimately Phelps is going to knock down his records in the 200/400 so it really isn't about "performances"

LindsayNB
August 12th, 2004, 12:44 PM
Are you sure Thorpe's comments about medals versus performance were in response to questions about Phelps? No chance that they were in response to questions concerning the fact that if he wins more than one gold he'll become Australia's "greatest Olympian" ever? (fox.au article (http://foxsports.news.com.au/olympics/story/0,9744,10410274-35135,00.html))

Considering that he holds the world record in the 200 and 400 free there is a good chance that a personal best performance, or even close to personal best, in either event will get him the gold. Is it really such a bad thing that he is more focused on matching his best performances instead of his medal count? Consider that if he wins gold without setting a personal best that people will continue to make comments about his not setting a LCM world record lately.

I really think that attempts at cutting Thorpe down are really misguided.

tjburk
August 12th, 2004, 01:31 PM
I'm gonna open up an old can of worms!!!!!! Thorpe shouldn't even be competing the 400!!!!! DQ'd!!! End of subject! They even had to bring in lawyers to make sure he got in! What's that saying?

Scansy
August 12th, 2004, 01:59 PM
Originally posted by tjburk
I'm gonna open up an old can of worms!!!!!! Thorpe shouldn't even be competing the 400!!!!! DQ'd!!! End of subject! They even had to bring in lawyers to make sure he got in! What's that saying?

Geeeeze, you are a glutton for punishment! (Although I agree with you.)

aquageek
August 12th, 2004, 02:28 PM
Probably the same lawyer who thinks hot coffee is a health hazard when consumed in a vehicle.

Mark in MD
August 12th, 2004, 03:58 PM
I feel your pain, Aquageek, in trying to figure out some kind of television schedule for the Olympics. So I went to NBC's website to see their schedule of programming. I got a big headache at first but figured out some sort of schedule for myself as I want to record the swimming events, especially since I am from the Baltimore area. (Actually, I grew up in the Towson, Maryland area.) I know that NBC might not be the best, but it's better than nothing!

That being said, NBC is rebroadcasting the previous day's events early in the morning following the prime time broadcast. All of the listing are on NBC (check your local cabel channel) and the times, I believe are EDT. (Don't ask me which day has which event!) Here goes:

AUGUST 15: 2:00 AM - 5:30 AM
AUGUST 16: 2:00 AM - 4:30 AM
AUGUST 17: 2:00 AM - 4:30 AM
AUGUST 18: 2:00 AM - 4:30 AM
AUGUST 19: 2:00 AM - 4:30 AM
AUGUST 20: 2:00 AM - 4:30 AM
AUGUST 21: 2:00 AM - 5:30 AM
AUGUST 22: 2:00 AM - 5:30 AM

In addition . . .

AUGUST 13: 8:00 PM - 11:30 PM Opening Ceremonies
AUGUST 29: 7:00 PM - 10:30 PM Closing Ceremonies

Since the prime time coverage is during the day, the probability of my taking off from work, life (honey-do stuff), etc., is about zero to nothing, so recording the rebroadcasts seems to work for me.

I am curious, anyone else doing some time shifting here? Also, what format would you use: VHS tape or DVD? I am using DVD myself.

It will be an interesting week, nonetheless, for swimming.