Michael Phelps on giving Boomer medals, Oriole who snubbed him

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Michael Phelps rarely takes his Olympic medals out of hiding. So Phelps has one mandate should son Boomer one day want to take one of the 28 prizes for show-and-tell.

Dad has to come, too.

“They [the medals] are never out of my range of sight,” Phelps said on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday.

Phelps said he has taken his medals out once for a photo shoot, and that’s it.

He also was asked what sport he would most like to see Boomer excel.

“I always thought it would be so cool, like Sunday at the Masters, Boomer Phelps leads the Masters by three strokes or something,” said Phelps, who announced on Wednesday that he would play the pro-am at the Waste Management Open next month near his Arizona home.

Phelps also mentioned his “bad sports memory,” when he was growing up and Baltimore Orioles players snubbed him for autographs.

Phelps is from Baltimore, a huge Orioles fan, and even sat in the Camden Yards third-base-line seats at Cal Ripken Jr.’s famous 2,131 game on Sept. 6, 1995, where he broke Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive games-played streak.

Of the snubbing, Phelps said one pitcher in particular stood out, and he’ll never forget his name: Bob Milacki.

Milacki played eight years in the big leagues, compiling a mediocre 39-47 record with a 4.38 earned-run average. He pitched for the Orioles from 1988 through 1992, ending his Baltimore stint when Phelps was 7 years old.

Phelps did get plenty of Orioles autographs, though. He said he recently found a signed baseball in storage with the names of Mike MussinaChris HoilesBen McDonald (who won the 1988 Olympics with Team USA, when it was a demonstration sport), David Segui and Roberto Alomar. Given some of those players’ Orioles careers didn’t intersect, it could have been multiple baseballs.

But back to Milacki. The snub was likely the same story Phelps told in his first book, “Beneath the Surface,” excerpted below:

I remember one afternoon when I saw an Orioles pitcher standing over by the railing, near third base, talking to a friend of his. “I’m going to get his autograph,” I told my dad. “Michael, he’s talking to someone,” Dad said. “If you interrupt him now, it would be rude. Just stand near them and wait until they’re finished. Then you can ask him for his autograph, and I’m sure he’ll give it to you.” It didn’t quite work that way. As soon as the pitcher was finished talking, I spoke up, but he waved me off, because he didn’t feel like signing. My dad had been sitting in the background watching all this, but he shot up to the railing and just about undressed the pitcher in front of everyone. “Now why are you so special that you can’t sign one autograph for this boy? He was waiting for you for ten minutes. I know you saw him. He was the only one waiting and he was very polite. Do you really think you’d be playing baseball in Camden Yards if you didn’t have kids looking up to you like that? The pitcher never did come back to sign anything, but he did sort of crawl away.

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Swim meet canceled after FINA’s threat to ban athletes

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GENEVA (AP) — Amid growing conflict between swimmers and their world governing body, an international swimming meet was canceled on Thursday after threats to ban athletes who took part seeking better prize money.

The Italian swim federation called off the Dec. 20-21 competition it was organizing in Turin, saying it acted to protect athletes from FINA.

The Turin meet was linked to a proposed International Swimming League, a privately run operation which aims to operate outside FINA’s control and pay higher prize money.

“FINA declared the event ‘non-approved,’ threatening sanctions against the participating athletes,” Italian officials said in a statement.

FINA, based in Lausanne, Switzerland, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some Olympic champions have long criticized FINA, believing swimmers should be better rewarded, have more say in decisions, and could create their own union.

Olympic champion Adam Peaty of Britain wrote on Thursday on Twitter he was “incredibly disappointed” by the cancellation.

The politics involved will “galvanize swimmers, not break them,” wrote Peaty, who holds 50m and 100m breaststroke world records.

Peaty has previously supported Hungarian star Katinka Hosszu in her public criticism of FINA, and calls to create a swimmers’ union.

Italian organizers said Peaty, Hosszu and other Olympic champions including Chad le Clos of South Africa and Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden were due to take part in their 25-meter pool event. It was scheduled days after the short-course world championships being staged in Hangzhou, China.

The clash of events seemed to provoke FINA into finding more prize money for its worlds event in the smaller pool.

On Nov. 6, FINA added to its promised prize fund for China by almost doubling the total to $2.07 million.

FINA wrote to member federations on Oct. 30 warning of bans of up to two years for taking part in Turin.

However, a European Commission decision last year suggests swimmers could successfully challenge any attempt to limit their right to race and earn money.

The European Union’s executive arm ruled the International Staking Union in breach of anti-trust laws by threatening severe bans for speed skaters who wanted to compete in a South Korean-organized event in Dubai.

The ISU’s threats “also serve to protect its own commercial interests,” the European officials said.

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Simon Ammann believes ski jumping career end is near

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Simon Ammann, the most decorated active ski jumper with four Olympic gold medals, said it is hard to imagine competing beyond this season, according to Swiss newspaper Blick.

Ammann, 37, swept the individual Olympic titles in 2002 and 2010 to join retired Finn Matti Nykänen as the only four-time Olympic ski jumping champs.

In PyeongChang, his sixth Olympics, Ammann placed 11th and 13th, one month after making his first World Cup podium in nearly three years. He decided after those Winter Games that he would continue at least one more season, but has no plan to go all the way to a seventh Olympics in 2022, according to Blick.

Ammann has teased retirement since at least 2011 and even said going into the 2014 Sochi Olympics that he was “99 percent sure” they would be his final Games.

The now-father of two first gained crossover celebrity with his surprise Salt Lake City 2002 gold medals, his first wins in top-level international competition. The bespectacled Ammann’s victory screams and resemblance to Harry Potter helped land him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and one of Europe’s biggest shows, sitting next to Shakira.

Fellow ski jumper Noriaki Kasai of Japan holds the Winter Olympic record of eight appearances. Kasai, 46, has said he plans to go for a ninth participation at Beijing 2022.

NBC Olympic Research contributed to this report.

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