I'm at a Michael Phelps Visa press conference in Beijing right now.
We know what Phelps has meant in the United States from seeing the television ratings and the reaction by collectors on eBay. But it is insane here.
This is the craziest conference I've ever been at. There are about 150 people here. Phelps' entrance was greeted by about 20 photographers. He was led in by about six security guards and the flash has been popping for the first 25 minutes he has been sitting on the stage.
Phelps has provided some pretty nice color so far. The 5,000 messages on his blackberry, the call from the president and his hearing that Bruce Springsteen dedicated "Born in the USA" to his seventh gold at a conference in Jacksonville.
When asked if he was ready for kids to "Be Like Mike," he responded that he was, and recalled putting his hand on the special Gatorade bottle that had Jordan's handprint on it. Jordan is the one guy Phelps wants to meet.
Phelps said he hasn't talked to Mark Spitz, who's previous record of seven gold medals he just beat. He added that the Beijing games proved that people could swim in the morning, and still swim other different events. When asked by some one reporter what the definition of love was, he was understandably confused.
Visa's Michael Lynch said that they are sending Phelps to London as part of their handover party for the closing ceremony since Visa's sponsorship spans through the 2012 games. Phelps will be at the Buckingham Palace mall via satellite, Lynch said.
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