After the Gold

I watched Michael Phelps win the gold in the freestyle swimming whatever-it-was last night, and I was suitably impressed by the comment he made* in his post-win interview.

"I need to go and rest and get plenty of calories to prepare for my next race."

Do you think a female athlete would have said this? Or an athlete in a sport where weight/aesthetics was a bigger factor?

*This isn't a direct quote- it's a paraphrase of what I can remember.

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Cammy said...

I saw that and was struck by the comment also. Good point about how it seems MUCH less likely to hear a female make a similar remark...

I was glad that he reminded everyone that the Olympics (and athletics in general) should be about what bodies can DO, not how they look, which requires treating them with respect and appreciating health and function over arbitrary, unrealistic "ideal" physiques.

Speaking of what bodies can do, and Phelps' body in particular, did you see tonight's big team relay win? His reaction when his teammate finished the last leg of the race was definitely moving.

Tiptoe said...

I didn't see Phelps's freestyle but saw the nail biting relay win! I really love both his competitiveness but humbleness as well.

Interesting comment by him. I think you're probably right in that you'd hear a male say that over a female, at least publicly.

There was an interesting segment on the Today show this morning with Natalie Coughlin who talked about how it was important for her to eat healthily and nutritionally since she does not rely on supplements.

Charlynn said...

Recently Venus Williams was quoted for saying something like "All I do is eat because my body needs so many calories to keep my muscles fed." (That's not the exact quote, but that was the idea.) Read about it here:

The story came to my attention in my Google news alert for binge eating because the story says she "binges" on food during tournaments.

So, Venus "binges" and Phelps "needs calories." Hm.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think any athlete with common sense would say it.... you can't run/swim/play baskeball on air.

Anonymous said...

Well you'll surely enjoy this column:

I never liked gymnastics anyway but I had NO IDEA just how horrible the training was.

Carrie Arnold said...


Except EDs have nothing to do with common sense. They're about fear and anxiety- people with eating disorders are not (and CANNOT) be rational about food and exercise.

When I was ill, I knew that normal people ate more and didn't get fat, or that I should probably eat something, but I was afraid to.

Anonymous said...

Not to get too off-topic here, but I LOVE Michael Phelps. He seems so "normal," if that word can be used to describe an Olympic-level athlete.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, Sandy Szwarc blogged today about Michael Phelps and his alleged "poor quality diet"

Some years ago, I worked with a guy who was a very good runner (just a hair off from qualifying for the Olympic marathon). He routinely won local and regional races. He also had a "poor quality diet" and I loved the way he kept a dish of M&Ms in his office, drank Coca Cola all day, and always got the yick cafeteria desserts and yet could whip the butt of any runner around who was eating "healthy".

Carrie Arnold said...

I know that Phelps and a lot of other Olympians eat around 8000 calories per day. Sorry, but if you eat the traditional "low fat" healthy diet, all you would do is eat.

Pizza is healthy (having some for lunch today!). So is fettucini alfredo. So is turkey. And salad. It's the amounts that will make it unhealthy.

Thanks for pointing out the JFS post- I haven't been able to read other blogs as much as I might like in the past week or so. I will definitely check it out.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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