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Phelps: More girlfriends than gold medals?

August 20, 2008 |  7:27 am

Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte greet family and friends on Aug. 13.

BEIJING -- Being a Michael Phelps beat writer has its benefits.

Trips to Melbourne, Australia, and these Summer Games, among other things.

But there are constant deadline demands, and the crushing pressure of having to chronicle his every move, turning an otherwise orderly life into all-Michael, all the time.

And it has only dropped off a bit since Phelps left the Water Cube with eight gold medals. This is what life has become for my colleague, Kevin Van Valkenburg of the Baltimore Sun, our designated expert on all things Phelpian.

Even it seems, the love life of Phelps, who seems to have been linked to every female swimmer in Beijing, with the exception of the impressive Stephanie Rice -- although that will probably happen too.

Kevin put this Olympian nonsense into perspective in a post on the "From Baltimore to Beijing" blog he shares with Baltimore Sun columnist Rick Maese. Here is part of the post:

       Subject: Private lives and private eyes

Fame is a strange beast, my friend. The world of gossip journalism is freaking out right now, trying to figure out whether or not Michael Phelps has a girlfriend. He is, in some ways, the David Beckham of the sporting world at the moment. The British tabloids are basically making things up about his private life (big surprise there!) saying that he's dating model Lily Donaldson or swimmer Amanda Beard, and TMZ.com has sent us a slew of emails, trying to confirm a rumor they heard that it's another swimmer. (Dear TMZ: Seriously, you could not be further off the mark.)

-- Lisa Dillman

Photo: Michael Phelps and teammate Ryan Lochte greet friends and family poolside after receiving their gold medals for the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay on Aug. 13 at the Beijing Games. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times