Michael Phelps going all in at the World Series of Poker?
To: Maese et al.
Subject: Ante up for London, dude!
Got to spend a few minutes with Michael Phelps today after he did some promotional stuff for Visa. He was absolutely exhausted and could barely keep his eyes open, having done too many interviews on too little sleep.
"I am so tired right now," he said, and you could see it in his face.
I asked him a lot of Baltimore questions for an article that will run later in the week, mostly about what it's going to be like to come back to Charm City. He's really looking forward to the Ravens season and says he's not counting out Joe Flacco as the starter at quarterback just yet. (We'll give you the rest of his Ravens-related thoughts over the next few days.)
During his big news conference at Prince Jun Palace in Chaoyang Park, he talked about how much he wants to meet Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, something I suspect you'll see published in just about every newspaper in the country tomorrow, but later behind closed doors I asked him if there is anything he'd like to do now that he has plenty of time, money, and fame to achieve it.
"I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker," Phelps said. "My game is a little off right now, so I'll have to start improving it a little bit. But I think that would be cool, and it would be cool to meet some of those poker guys."
Cards actually played a small role in the amazing gold medal run. Phelps didn't do much during his down time in between races -- movies mostly -- but he did learn to play Spades and team up with Ryan Lochte for a few afternoon victories that took his mind off swimming.
"Lochte and I were teammates a bunch of times and we didn’t start off very good," Phelps said. "We were just learning the game. We finished really well. Cullen (Jones) is really good. Erik (Vendt) and I won a few games. Lochte and I had this one game against (Eric) Shanteau and Cullen where we were down like the first five hands. We were negative points all the hands. It was like 380 to 4.
"We ended up coming back and winning. We were bidding blind and all that."
So, I asked, was there a celebration similar to winning the 400-free relay?
"Oh, we were so excited," Phelps said. "They were like, 'I can’t believe that just happened,' and Lochte and I were yelling and screaming. It was so much fun."