Phelps Jittery Over SNL Appearance

Olympic great admits he battled nerves before MTV awards
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2008 5:01 PM CDT

(Newser) – Winning gold medals was easy, but appearing on Saturday Night Live? “Oh gosh, this is going to be tough,” Michael Phelps told Jay Leno this week. Phelps is enjoying a burst of post-Olympic celebrity, the Baltimore Sun reports, but public speaking is a new sport for the 23-year-old. Phelps says he battled a major bout of nerves before the MTV video music awards, but he’s calmer about appearing on SNL tonight.

Lorne Michaels isn’t worried about Phelps’ performance. “He's not suddenly going to be a professional sketch player,” said the SNL honcho, “but he'll do just fine.” Whether or not Phelps parlays his 15 minutes into a solid pitchman career remains to be seen. “If he puts his heart into his message the way he did in his swimming,” one speech coach said, “the sky is the limit.”