Reaction to Michael Phelps’ 60 Minutes Interview [Video]

  16 Braden Keith | May 07th, 2012 | London 2012 Olympics, News

So there we have it. They made us wait until very nearly the end of the show to see it, but last night we got an outstanding interview with Michael Phelps done by Anderson Cooper on CBS’ news show 60 minutes.

I think first and foremost, Anderson Cooper did a phenomenal job on the interview. He was direct, and avoided compiling fluff about if Phelps is trying for 8 medals again, and put together a typically-great 60 minutes piece. Most of us who follow the sport closely didn’t learn a ton of information, but there were some good insight into the relationships in Michael Phelps’ world.

Further, I think that we can all appreciate the candor and honesty of Phelps, his coach Bob Bowman, and his mother Debbie. I think that it really gave the rest of the world a glimpse into how psychologically tough training to be an Olympic swimmer is. The infamous marijuana incident was addressed, but not dwelt on – they decided instead to emphasize it as a symptom of the bigger lack of motivation that he was going through.

We seemed to get an even further definition to his never-ever-will-I-come-back-after-London. Apparently, he and his mother have discussed him coming back and just swimming sprint freestyles, but even that hasn’t enticed him. Many Americans still hold out hope that he’ll stick around to swim the 100 free even if only on a relay, as American fans are perpetually concerned about the state of our sprinting. This seems to be an event that he’s always wanted to concentrate on, but has never had the chance to. But he made an unequivocal declaration that he would never come out of retirement.

I think that the relationship between Phelps and his mother was very interesting. They are obviously still fairly close. Phelps’ comments that “Bob couldn’t tell me, my mom couldn’t tell me” juxtaposed with the internal conflict of having to tell his mother about the photo and what he had done was truly interesting. It’s clear that he still find support and strength in his mother, but also that he takes ownership for his own swimming, and knows that at the end of the day, if he has to have somebody else tell him that he needs to train, it’s never going to work.

This is the big story of the Olympics. It’s not Phelps versus Lochte, though that’s what will sell tickets and put butts in front of the TV. The real story is Phelps’s internal battle with himself for motivation, and it seems to be one that he’s winning.

(PS – Phelps keeps his medals in a makeup purse…but don’t fool yourself into thinking that they don’t come out of the closet at the occasional request of a young lady – especially one along the lines of Bar Rafaelli).

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16 Comments on "Reaction to Michael Phelps’ 60 Minutes Interview [Video]"

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I can’t believe the “Marijuana incident” is such a big deal. It could have been a great opportunity for the media to say, hey… maybe this drug is less addicting than caffeine and virtually harmless compared to cheeseburgers. The greatest athlete in the world cuts loose?? Who would have thought? After that picture came out and they gave the poor kid so much flack, I donated everything I could to his foundation.

Great video…Watching him be just like the rest of us…uhh Human is great. How many swimmers never did what he did in college? It show how far he has come and how much he has done for the sport of swimming. Listen, it’s a brutal sport and he swim the hardest races…it must have been great to take a break from the sport and re-group…Bob was very mellow but you know he was going crazy not knowing if he was coming back….He did a great job at improving his interview skills…cool…

Coach Paine, didn’t realize you perused the interwebs with the rest of us kids… Very nicely done. Hearing from Bowman and how concerned he was and the honesty of it all was good to see. Even two years ago Phelps wasn’t this good in front of the camera, his bottoming out helped his maturity and growth in all aspects. They probably talked about the “rivalry” but left it out because they don’t seem to have one. Every time it is brought up, they play it down and that it isn’t a rivalry at all. Was it a motivator? Probably. But every one of these guys hates losing. I think it could have been any one of his events, but the… Read more »
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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

The most common question asked about Braden Keith is "when does he sleep?" That's because Braden has, in two years in the game, become one of the most prolific writers in swimming at a level that has earned him the nickname "the machine" in some circles. He first got his feet …

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