the sports section

Michael Phelps’s Estranged Dad Won’t Try to Cash In on Son’s Spotlight

Michael Phelps and Family

Phelps with mom Debbie and sister Hilary.Photo: AP

The Post tracked down the father of Olympic-swimming hero Michael Phelps yesterday outside his home in the Baltimore suburbs, and asked him whether he’s talked to his son lately. “He’s so busy, I’m sure not even his agent could get a hold of him,” Fred Phelps told the tabloid. It turns out that he hasn’t even called to congratulate his son after he won eight gold medals at the Beijing games. “I’m very proud of him and all he’s done,” he said, before deflecting the paper’s questions. “This is not about me, it’s about him.”

We’re frankly surprised. We thought it was only a matter of time before Phelps’s dad would write a book, or sell an exclusive interview to OK! magazine. The 23-year-old swimmer has been estranged from his father since high school, and told reporters in 2004 that they weren’t on speaking terms and that he didn’t “want to get into that.” The spotlight during these games has comfortably rested on his mother, Debbie, and sisters, Whitney and Hilary, and their cheers and tears have been among the most touching moments of his victories.

You know what else we’re surprised about? That after all the talk about Michael Phelps having a low-key, secret significant other (as opposed to Amanda Beard, Lily Donaldson or Lindsay Lohan), no one has raised the rumor that he’s gay. Everybody is behaving so above-the-board here! It’s like Michael Phelps has turned America into a place where we actually protect our heroes instead of tear them down. Now that’s change we can believe in.


Michael Phelps’s Estranged Dad Won’t Try to Cash In on Son’s Spotlight