Monday, October 06, 2008

Michael Phelps needs some new vines

Michael Phelps came home to Maryland for a "Parade of Gold" on Saturday, a wonderfully small town moment that got national coverage. The parade also honored his USA Swimming teammate Katie Hoff and Paralympian Jessica Long - both Maryland natives - and included his family (Mom Debbie in Chico's finery, no doubt), the principals of the public elementary, middle and high schools he attended, as many local politicians as they could find cars for, and a number of high school marching bands, flag twirlers and the like.

Like Santa at the end of the Macy's parade, Phelps drew cheers and screams of joy as he waved to the crowd from atop a National Guard Humvee. Some fans travelled across several states and some only several blocks, but all jumped to their feet to catch a glimpse or a picture of America's Olympic hero.

And what did the greatest swimmer of all time choose to wear for this grand occasion? You tell me, because that hoodie up there almost defies description. Why not a Team USA jacket, something in red, white and blue, or even a North Baltimore Aquatic Club Shirt? I can't believe Speedo wants their spokesman looking this bad. Get a queer eye on this guy, call Tim Gunn, whatever, but put some lipstick on this pig, please.

Sadly, we've seen this particular fashion disaster before. Back in Beijing, Phelps popped into the USA Basketball locker room to chat with LeBron, Kobe and Coach K, and was rocking the exact same shirt. Maybe he's been travelling so much, it's the only thing he had clean, maybe it's his lucky shirt, maybe his mom set it out for him. I'm just glad he got rid of the hat.

Parade photo from AP, Beijing photo from Getty Images.

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