The People’s Republic of Phelps-istan
First Published: August 15, 2008 10:58 AM EDT Credit:
BEIJING, China -- When Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush caught up with Michael Phelps outside of the Water Cube on the Friday after the champ won his 6th gold medal of the Beijing games, Michael flashed Billy a peace sign.
No…. wait…. make that a “2” – as in: ‘Billy, you only get 2 questions (because you’re hounding me every day now).’
But the Phelps man, nonetheless, kindly stopped yet again, to talk with the Bushy.
“Yeah, Michael, two to go,” Billy said, misinterpreting the signal yet again.
“Champ, we’re trying in the media to find different ways of putting this,” Billy pontificated. ”And the latest we’ve heard is that if you were your own nation, the People’s Republic of Phelps-istan, you’d be tied with Korea for gold medals in third.”
“I have no clue what to say,” Phelps said, literally, almost speechless at Billy’s analogy.
“It’s cool, I’m having fun and everything so far has gone as planned.”
With his mom and sisters cheering him on, Michael once again crushed the field, this time in the 200m individual medley. The victory was made even sweeter as his teammate and good friend, the very laid-back Ryan Lochte, brought home the bronze.
“You guys were walking off together, you guys were laughing,” Billy asked. “What are you talking about?”
“Oh I mean, we can talk about anything” Ryan said. “Most likely, it’s some girl that we saw. “
“You guys pop out of the water and you said, “Did you see the blonde in the second row, she was phenomenal?”
“That’s, like, what we basically say to each other, just, it gets our mind off everything, swimming, everything. We just talk about girls.”
It was an amazing day for Ryan – he broke a world record in the 200m backstroke, his first individual gold ever.
“It was my dream come true,” Ryan continued. “That’s been my lifelong dream; to get an individual gold, and I finally did it.”
Ryan’s teammate Aaron Piersol took the silver. Peirsol will be part of the relay team in Phelps 8th and final race on Sunday.
“Of course we admire his goals,” Piersol told Billy. “And by all means we’re going to do what we can to help him achieve his goal there.”
But first, the thus far infallible Phelps will have capture number 7 — the 100m butterfly, Saturday morning.
“I think the semi-final this morning set up hopefully a good final,” Michael told Billy. “I have to take it out with those guys and lay it all on the line.”
It was a great day for the ladies as well — Natalie Coughlin picked up a bronze in the 100m freestyle, her 5th medal of the games. And newcomer Rebecca Soni captured gold in the 200 breaststroke, breaking another world record!
“What were you feeling when you were standing up there on that podium, is it all surreal,” Billy asked Rebecca.
“It definitely was a little surreal,” she said. “I was kinda shaken up there a little bit, it felt great!”
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