:eek: LONDON, April 27 (AFP) - The United States couldwithdraw from August’s Olympic Games in Athens overfears of terror attacks, American Olympic swimminglegend Mark Spitz claimed on Tuesday.
The seven-time gold medallist at the 1972 Games -which was overshadowed by the massacre of 11 Israeliathletes by Palestinian extremists - told BBC radio theadministration of President George W. Bush wouldprobably not want to risk their athletes’ lives with theUS presidential election due in November. I would say that about six months ago it was highlyunlikely (the US would pull out),'' Spitz said. But each day it becomes more probable than not thatongoing conversations will take place as to howimportant it is to put athletes in harm’s way.’’
While a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee saidthere was no discussion about such a dramatic move atthe moment, Spitz thinks that such a move would comelate in the day and could provoke other countries to dothe same. We are looking under the microscope at all thedifferent terrorist acts and we know there is a highdegree of probability that something could happen inAthens,'' he said. Would it be political suicide to send a team thereif you were the Bush administration? If you were to yank the carpet out from under theAmerican team and nothing happened, would that bebecause they are only after Americans? If that does happen it will happen in the 11th hourand 59th minute.’’
The Games begin on August 13 and run till August 29.
That’s a tough call and certainly understandable, although it might be a little easier for him to decide to leave b/c he has already won gold medals before, but go ask an athlete who hasn’t, and is at that level, and I dont think they would sway away as easily.
I’ve met a swimmer or two who were swindled in 1980. There was just no excuse for what Carter did.
Just as an aside, what Mark Spitz did may never be equalled. 7 gold medals and 7 world records - wow!
I’ve read a lot about his training, and Spitz was doing a level of yardage and a level of intensity that few, if any, swimmers were subjected to at the time. In fact, I think that Sherman Chavoor (his coach) probably dramatically overtrained all but a few of his most genetically gifted swimmers. Spitz was one, so it served him well.
Interestingly, Spitz spent a lot of the Spring of 1972 after his graduation from Indiana milling around aimlessly, not training, and not sure he really wanted to risk it all by swimming 7 events. He was worried about failure, as he had failed so catastrophically in 1968. So he took severla weeks off, then got serious at the beginning of the summer. I’ve always wondered if that worked in his favor.
One more thing - one must always wonder what Spitz could have done if he had been able to stay in the sport and swim professionally. At the age of 22 he did a 54.7 in the 100 fly, a time that would have been competitive at the Olympic level a decade later. If Spitz had worked his comeback right he might have been able to get back in the kind of shape he used to be in.
Maybe just maybe he is hoping that Micheal Phelps wil not be able equal his medals or eclipse him if, the US pulls out. Australia would probably follow the US line… there goes Thorpe no chance now of anyone eclipsing him.