- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (AP) - Mark Spitz says he feels badly for Michael Phelps.

Spitz, whose record of seven gold medals at the 1972 Olympics was broken by Phelps last year, talked briefly about Phelps on Monday night while in Little Rock for a speaking engagement. Phelps has been at the center of controversy after a photo surfaced showing the swimming star with a marijuana pipe.

“As a fan, I feel sorry and I feel badly for him at this time,” Spitz said. “Nobody would want to wish that upon him, I’m sure. He’s obviously dealing with it in a way that he feels appropriate, and I’m not one to comment on whether it’s right or wrong because I’m not with his management team.”

USA Swimming suspended Phelps for three months after the photo was published in a British tabloid Feb. 1. He also lost his sponsorship from Kellogg.

Phelps won eight gold medals in Beijing, breaking the record Spitz set in Munich in 1972.

Spitz was in Little Rock to speak at a dinner sponsored by the Development Council of Central Arkansas Christian Schools.

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