For everyone that like's Mike.


Mike wants to be like Mike

When Michael Phelps was a boy growing up in Baltimore, a popular television advert of the time featured basketball star Michael Jordan together with the slogan "I want to be like Mike".

Now, when children all across the United States are saying they want to be "like Mike", they mean Phelps after the swimming star rewrote the record books here at the Beijing Olympics by winning eight golds.

But, despite his success, there remains a schoolboy sports fan lurking inside Phelps that still reveres Jordan.

"Growing up, I always remember the 'I want to be like Mike' ads with Jordan. I remember putting my hand on the Gatorade jug (the sports drink the NBA legend was advertising). If I am able to inspire kids, I'm honoured to do it.

"It's an amazing feeling," he also told reporters here Monday.

"One of the people I've always wanted to meet in person is Jordan. I've never met him. What he did in the sport of basketball, is what I am trying to do in the sport of swimming. He completely changed the sport of basketball."

However, while Jordan may have long ago opted for retirement, the 23-year-old Phelps insists he still has goals he wants to achieve in the pool even though his career haul of 14 gold medals - he collected six in Athens four years ago - is more than anyone else has won in Olympic history.

As if to signal his intent that his extraordinary career still has some way to run, the undisputed star of the Beijing Games won't be in the Chinese capital come the closing ceremony but thousands of mile away in London, the host city of the 2012 Olympics.

"I am going to London to do the handover for the next Olympics and hopefully prepare myself the way I did for these Games and be ready to compete in London.

"There are some times I still want to hit before I retire. That's what's keeping me going and I want to try some new events.

"Whether it's the backstroke or the 100 metres free, there are some other things Bob (Bowman, his coach) and I are going to try out and work on over the next four years. It will definitely be fun, a change and be interesting.

"Bob said to me, serious training starts in the New Year."

One consolation for Phelps's rivals is that, having now broken fellow American swimming great Mark Spitz's record of seven golds at a single Games, set in Munich back in 1972, is that he has no plans to match or even surpass his Beijing mark in four years' time.

"It would be a lot harder, I'd be older."

The poster boy of swimming faced a barrage of questions from the world's media but one which would have struck a chord with young sports fans all around the globe was, "what's it like to hold eight gold medals at once?".

Phelps answered by saying: "Today was the first day I held all eight together. It's pretty cool. I was able to hold eight in Athens but these are all gold.

"It's just amazing, it's been a really fun week."

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