You either have to really respect Michael Phelps for taking an early stand, or scratch your head as to why the world's fastest swimmer would so obviously sabotage his own chances at victory.
Here's the story in a nutshell at least as reported by the mainstream media.
Today's Washington Post headline and first paragraph of the story says it all:
"Phelps struggles in FINA/Arena World Cup"
"Michael Phelps had the strangest thought as he walked out to the starting blocks Tuesday for his third preliminary race at this FINA/Arena World Cup: He was performing so poorly, it was possible that he might not advance to the meet's finals, something he hadn't done in more than 10 years."
In other words, the star of the Beijing Olympics is having a tough time even making the cut in the early rounds of the World Cup.
Most insiders know the answer. Unlike many of the other swimmers at the meet Phelps has chosen to compete in the textile, waist-to-knee "jammer" rather than race in the full-bodied high-tech swimsuits that have recently rocked the world of both amatuer and professional swimming by heavily aiding swimmers in smashing both new and long established records.
These newest high-tech suits will be banned from competition as of January 1, 2010.
So Michael Phelps is taking it on the chin by going "old school" a little early.
According to The Washington Post:
"U.S. officials who declined to be identified because they did not wish to appear to be poor sports said it was the suit choice, period, that slowed Phelps.
"I know I'm not in the best shape," Phelps told Swedish television immediately after the race. "I should be in better shape. I'm happy I could get a second swim. The first two races this morning were a little quick."
Phelps said a month ago he wanted to make a statement by ditching his high-tech suit even before the ban went into effect -- though this was probably not exactly the statement he had in mind. He and two other top-ranked men lined up for the 100 free heats wearing jammers, and all posted abysmal times."
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