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Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Freak Celebrity Sighting

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Saw Michael Phelps at the Kentucky Derby, then saw him again a week later in his hometown of Towson, MD, as I interviewed him on a funny and emotion-filled night for Homecoming (airs July 2 on ESPN.) His coach, Bob Bowman, owns a couple race horses, so he's getting into the ponies. I asked him how he did betting and, like all of us, he had a tale of heartache and woe.

"Every race, I bet $20 on the eight horse, because that's my lucky number," Phelps said, referring to the eight gold medals he won at the Beijing Olympics. "All the way up through the 10th race, I bet the eight horse and it never wins. So, for the Derby, I don't bet the eight horse. What comes in? The eight horse (Mine That Bird). I'm an idiot." By the way, a $20 bet on Mine That Bird to win would've made Phelps nearly $1,020.

As for the 2012 London Olympics, Phelps isn't saying what events he'll swim nor how many he'll enter, but I'd put money on the sprints. I watched him lift Saturday morning and the man's a beast. He's 203 pounds and even more ripped in the upper body. I watched him put on a 44-pound vest and do 10 pull-ups—the hard kind, where your arms go all the way down. It's a long way off, but I'd get your "win" bets ready.

See all of Rick Reilly's Freak Celebrity Sighting More random mind dumps from the brain of Rick Reilly. Go fish! Be sure to check out Rick's Life of Reilly