Michael Phelps has passed Mark Spitz's record number of career gold medals, and is dead set on eclipsing the seven golds Spitz won in Munich in 1972. But apart from their metal preferences the two men are very different people, observes the New York Times. The detached Spitz matched his talent with cockiness that annoyed teammates and was accused of mind games—while Phelps is sociable and popular.
"I just don’t believe in this guy at all," said a teammate Spitz had tried to talk out of the 200-meter freestyle in Munich—and beaten. "Nothing would have pleased me more than to beat him, but I just couldn’t do it.” Phelps has said his goal is not to become the second Spitz, declaring: "I want to be the first Michael Phelps.”