Godfather of U.S. competitive swimming bets on Phelps
Nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Mark Spitz pauses during a swim in the Bosporus.
July 14th, 2012
08:53 PM ET

Godfather of U.S. competitive swimming bets on Phelps

Nine-time Olympic gold medal winner Mark Spitz tells CNN he would bet on Michael Phelps if the U.S. swimmer ended up in a race against rival American Olympic hopeful Ryan Lochte in the upcoming London Olympics.

“I’m putting my money on Michael,” Spitz said when asked by CNN who he expects to see victorious at the London games. Spitz spoke to CNN in Istanbul moments after he plunged into the turbulent waters of the Bosporus, the fast-moving natural channel that divides the city in two.

Spitz was in Turkey’s largest city to promote this year’s Bosporus Cross Continental Race.

Arguably the greatest American competitive swimmer, Spitz donned an orange swim cap and swam alongside Istanbul’s Kurucesme Park, as passenger ferries and garbage collection boats churned through the congested water not far away.  He was accompanied by Turkish National Swimming Team trainer Erkan Mutlu in his foray.

When asked why he believed that Michael Phelps would outshine his rival Ryan Lochte, Spitz told CNN that Phelps had “more experience.”  The two U.S. Olympic swimmers are expected to go head-to-head in London in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys.

Spitz: I put my money on Phelps

“Any time they’re swimming together it’s going to be a great rivalry, it’s going to be a great competition,” Spitz added.

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The 24th annual Bosporus Cross Continental race, introduced in 1989 by the National Olympic Committee of Turkey, is said to be the world’s only swimming competition to span two continents - Europe and Asia. This year 1,200 athletes from around the world will compete in the race.

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The race will begin Sunday on the Asian side of the Bosporus in the Istanbul neighborhood of Kanlica, and end in the European neighborhood of Kurucesme. In addition to the swimming competition, this year’s event also includes rowing and canoeing races.

Mark Spitz soared to sports stardom when he won seven gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, a record broken at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing by Michael Phelps. Before he retired early, at the age of 22, Spitz had won a total of  nine Olympic golds, one silver, one bronze and set 33 world records.

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Filed under: Olympics • Sports • Swimming
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. bobcat (in a hat)©

    I see they didn't waste any time taking my clocks joke down. Must be some OJ fans out there.

    July 15, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bobcat (in a hat)©

    @ RR

    I can answer that question in three words. Some of the jokes are originals, others are borrowed and edited material. Edited so as not to be accused of complete plagarism.
    How's that for a three word answer ?

    July 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I like the way you count, Rawr.
      Can you give me three dollars?

      July 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I like the way you count.
      Can you give me three dollars?
      (Let's see if this is placed where it's supposed to be!)

      July 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat (in a hat)©

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    The Sister replies, "Sir, I saw a lot of signs that said 41, not 55."

    The cop answers, "Oh, Sister, that's not the speed limit, that's the name of the highway you are on!"

    The Sister says, "Oh! Silly me! Thanks for letting me know. I'll be more careful."

    At this point, the cop looks in the backseat where the other nuns are shaking and trembling.

    The cop asks, "Excuse me, Sister, what's wrong with your friends back there? They are shaking something terrible."

    The Sister answers, "Oh, we just got off Highway 101."

    July 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. BOMBO ©

    Bobby Fisher was a real freak.

    July 15, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rascal Rabble

      how you kno'?

      July 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bobcat (in a hat)©

    By the time Banta pulled into a little town, every hotel room was taken. "You`ve got to have a room somewhere," he pleaded. "Or just a bed, I don`t care where."
    "Well, I do have a double room with one occupant," admitted the manager, "and he might be glad to split the cost. But to tell you the truth, this man by the name of Santa, snores so loudly that people in adjoining rooms have complained. I`m not sure it`d be worth it to you."
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    July 15, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Ho ho ho!
      Well done!

      July 15, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Nope. It didn't.
    Stupid blog.
    Why have a reply button that is useless?

    July 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. obama smokes cigarettes

    How shallow of a person must one be when one's entire life revolves around swimming.

    July 15, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Dream on.

    July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    Not this "people".

    July 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |

    hymnes from YOU? jesus wept.

    July 15, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chiquita

    Keeponshowin ugliness in your spoken word. God is fooled by no one. Ugly ugly heart ugly ugly soul ugly ugly you.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. Rascal Rabble

    pAhaHahhha...lol...i just got poemed...i don't know whether t'say thankyew or t'say f-few...try shamrock roses and scottish thistles...

    July 16, 2012 at 1:48 am | Report abuse |
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