WYPR FM's interview with Sun sports editor Randy Harvey. Originally aired August 19, 2004.
Randy Harvey: It was a very exciting day. And I think we all know - particularly those of us in Baltimore know - how outstanding Michael Phelps is. But he really is. When you see him do these things, he continues to astonish. And today was just remarkable with him winning his gold medal and going to his medal ceremony and then jumping right into the pool for the 100-meter butterfly semi-finals and setting an Olympic record in beating Ian Crocker. If you know, that's the fellow from Texas whose poster Michael has in his bedroom. He's the guy he's shooting for and he beat him in that semi-final. This doesn't mean much in itself, but he set an Olympic record. It's just remarkable.
Andy Bienstock, WYPR: Another American swimmer won - then lost - then won again. I don't remember that ever happening before.
Randy Harvey: It was a funny story, because on the first day of competition a Japanese swimmer won a race and beat an American. Aaron Peirsol, who wasn't in that race, accused the Japanese of doing something called a "dolphin kick," which is an illegal kick, and said he should have been disqualified. Of course, he wasn't disqualified. So tonight, when Peirsolwas disqualified, of course Oliver Stone said there must have been a conspiracy and payback from the officials because Aaron criticized them the other night. I'm still not exactly sure what happened because a few minutes later they overturned the disqualification. And then they put out a very funny statement which I still haven't gotten to the bottom of, I haven't had enough time to report it, saying that the disqualification wasn't accepted "due to the detail of the reason supplied by the official being inadequate and not in the working language of FINA" I'm sorry for speaking to you in such a confused tone, but that's the release they put out and I still haven't figured out what it means.
WYPR: I guess that's IOC speak?
Randy Harvey: That's FINA speak, the swimming association, international swimming which actually runs its sport under the umbrella of the IOC. It's FINA talk, which must be something like Nemo talk, I guess.
WYPR: Last night, in mens' gymnastics, Paul Hamm put on just an unbelievable comeback to win the gold medal. You have been to so many Olympics over the past 30 years or so, where does that rank?
Randy Harvey: It's right up there. I had the same chills I had when Mary Lou (Retton) when she needed the 10 and she hit the 10. Or at the Calgary Olympics when Brian Boitano hit the jumps he needed to beat the hometown favorite, Brian Orser in the figure skating. Their moment comes and it's at the biggest event of their lives and they just click. They do it and it's just a remarkable moment. For him to come from 12th place, it would have been a miracle for him to get into third place. For him to come from 12th and win is really something we'll remember for a very long time.
WYPR: A lot of athletes have trouble coming back from having such a terrible fall as he took. The mental climb back in to compete that well after thinking you've probably ruled yourself out of winning.
Randy Harvey: I think he's like a lot of great athletes who can block out some of the negative thoughts and distractions. I think immediately he thought, "Well, there goes the gold medal." But I think he started immediately looking at what he had to do on the parallel bars, and it's possible it took all the pressure off of him and he thought, "Well, okay, I'm out of it now so I'll just go out and do what I know how to do on the parallel bars and the high bar."
Hear conversations from Athens with The Sun's Summer Olympics staff Monday through Friday at 5:45 p.m. on WYPR FM, 88.1.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times