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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Latest from 2012 London Olympics; Ryan Lochte's Mother Speaks Out; One-on-One with Michael Phelps; Pride Of America; Interviwe with Daniel Taub
Aired July 30, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, the games, the glory, the drama, the tape delay. All the very latest from London, including the controversy of empty seats and NBC saving the best stuff for primetime.
Plus, a new star is born. Ryan Lochte making a splash around the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK SPITZ, 11-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: All of us have been captivated talking about Michael and Ryan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I'll ask legend Mark Spitz if the Michael Phelps era is over.
And what Ryan's proud mom thinks of her son's new sex symbol status.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ILEANA "IKE" LOCHTE, RYAN LOCHTE'S MOM: I'm glad that all this is coming to him but in the same -- I don't want him ever to change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Also, my one-on-one very candid interview with Michael Phelps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL PHELPS, SWIMMER: If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren't willing to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening from London, and day three of the spectacular 2012 summer games. I'm standing on the edge of the Olympic Park, right next to the main stadium over there. Behind me is the Aquatic Center where an American woman made history this weekend.
Dana Vollmer won the gold medal for the 100-meter butterfly with a new world record. An extraordinary achievement. At the same time a devastating loss for U.S. gymnast Jordan Wieber. Last year's world champion failed to qualify in London, leaving her team and country shocked. And a disappointment today for the U.S. men's gymnastic team, too. Finishing out of the medal race.
And the video that everyone is talking about. Parents of gymnast Aly Raisman twisting and turning in their seats as they watch her perform.
But for sheer drama, nothing can quite match the U.S. men's team and the ongoing battle for glory between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte. Are we witnessing a changing of the guard?
With me now on our big story is Olympic legend Mark Spitz who won seven of his 11 gold medals in the Munich games in 1972. Also with me is Christine Brennan, sports columnist for "USA Today."
Welcome to you both.
Mark, let me go to you first, because you were watching a little earlier the astonishing race where everyone assumed it would be an easy comfortable win for Ryan Lochte, with no Michael Phelps. But this French swimmer Yannick Agnel has really taken the scruff of the neck of the swimming competition and changed the whole game, hasn't he?
SPITZ: Well, I think all of us have been captivated about -- talking about Michael and Ryan, and there's the rest of the world that has a lot talent. And the French have a lot of talent in the sprint men's freestyle events, the 100, the 200 and the 50. And that's a perfect example of what we just watched. The Frenchman coming through for his country. And I think we're going to see a lot of other great performances in breast stroke and the other couple of events that Ryan and Michael aren't swimming.
MITCHELL: Let me just turn to Christine. Should Phelps have basically quilt after Beijing on the ultimate high?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "USA TODAY": There's so much money in this. And the rush, the adventure of it all, too, Phelps will win a couple of gold medals here I believe. And so --
MORGAN: Actually if he wins three, then he becomes the all-time highest gold medal winner in the history of the Olympics. I'm sure in the back of his mind that is now the goal.
Mark Spitz, extraordinary performance by this 16-year-old Chinese swimmer, Shiwen Ye. I mean, to have a split time that was faster than Ryan Lochte. What do you make of this? Lots of people casting suspicious eyebrows in the direction of this particular performance. What do you think?
SPITZ: Well, I wouldn't want to speculate on anything that would be negative to her performance. I mean it stands on its own unless she doesn't pass the drug test which I haven't heard yet. But I think that it's incredible to think that a woman can swim faster than a man. Especially when they were both on world record pace. Ryan just almost got the world record, and yet she swam faster that last 100 meters.
Normally people that break world records are sort of like fading at the end and yet she actually galloped ahead and caught up to the world record pace and then passed it. So she had such an exhibition the last 25 meters of accelerating way past all the people that were in the pool with her. And it was an incredible finish. I've never seen anything like it in my life.
MORGAN: Mark Spitz, the other -- the other big argument at the moment is raging over NBC's refusal to air some of these big events, especially the swimming events and so on, in real time. They're airing them in primetime hours now later. Obviously that's the way it's always been done. Given social media now as it is, do you think it's time that NBC bit the bullet and began to broadcast the big stuff live?
SPITZ: I think that they're in sort of a quandary about this because they actually bid for the Olympic Games a number of years ago and paid the International Olympic Committee billions of dollars. And so their business model and their actuarial people that sit back in a room, the bean counters, basically needed to get so much out of advertising dollars, they need do that in prime time.
But with the social media, of course, people can have access to that. I mean I found myself in the same situation with my son just recently at 11:00 on the West Coast here in California, I can actually watch the results. But it's like being a voyeur. I want to see it again in primetime and listen to the announcers and what they have to say. So I still -- I don't think it's going to hurt them right now but they're going to have to have a serious consideration on what they're going to do in the future for broadcasting.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, Christine, I'm not entirely America should be able to dictate to the rest of the world when they actually have the events. It should be always for the best, I think, for the athletes. But NBC's got into a bit of a hole here because clearly social media is massively more prevalent now than it was four years ago.
BRENNAN: It would be the tease. And we're seeing that on Twitter and other social media now. It's teasing people and they're getting good ratings.
Piers, this is the 21st century. I frankly think this is embarrassing for NBC. This is -- this is news, it's sports, it's entertainment, but it's also news. And they're acting as if it's the 1950s and it's "Ozzie and Harriet" and dad comes home and puts his feet up, and they're -- you're watching from 8:00 to 11:00. That's not the way people watch their television.
I completely agree with you. If you had it on in the afternoon and packaged it beautifully again at night --
BRENNAN: -- I think you'd still have the same kind of ratings.
MORGAN: Christine Brennan, Mark Spitz, thank you both very much indeed.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: Despite Ryan Lochte's loss today, he did of course have a stunning gold medal win on Saturday. And I spoke to his mother, Ike Lochte, a little earlier before the 200-meter defeat.
MORGAN: And I'm joined now by Ryan Lochte's mother, Ike.
Now, when we spoke last week, you were a trembling mass of nerves. You weren't sure how's it all going to go. Now you can relax. Your boy, what a crushing gold medal win.
LOCHTE: That was fantastic. I really couldn't believe it. I expected it to be a closer race. And that last two laps, three laps, it was wonderful.
MORGAN: What's it like for you? I mean all the preparation, all the sacrifice he's made, all the support you've given him, and he wasn't the favorite. Michael Phelps was deemed to be still the top dog. I mean it was an incredible race. Your boy just killed him on the night.
LOCHTE: He really felt confident that he's done everything that he really needed to do with all his exercise and all his nutrition and swimming. So to see it actually in action, it was wonderful.
MORGAN: What was the first thing he said to you afterwards?
LOCHTE: He gave me his flowers.
LOCHTE: He brought me his flowers and then he just blew me kisses because I haven't seen him since.
MORGAN: Oh you haven't?
LOCHTE: No, I've only seen him from far away.
MORGAN: Now he has said, and we're going to play you this clip. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN LOCHTE: No matter what, like, I couldn't -- I could break a world record, get an Olympic gold medal, and my mom would be, like, you could have done better. But you looked pretty. That's what she says all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: And all you'd say to him, he could have done better but you looked pretty. LOCHTE: The pretty comes from the strokes.
LOCHTE: So his coach will tell you that I always say, oh, his strokes look pretty. Because when he's all broken up, he is -- and tired of swimming, then his strokes shorten up and then he doesn't look so nice.
MORGAN: But you think that good parenting is about -- when you have a boy or a girl who's got great talent, it's about driving them most of the time. Not telling them all the time that was fantastic, if you don't think it was. It's about being honest, tough love?
LOCHTE: I've always been honest with all my kids. So I -- if they did well, they did well. And if they didn't, actually, I asked, did you try your best? And if they tried their best, then, you know, I back out because I expect them to be honest with me or with themselves. And I can't make you go out there and work out hard. And I know he has. And so if even -- if he broke a world record, this always -- you know --
MORGAN: More --
LOCHTE: A challenge to do better.
MORGAN: Yes. Absolutely.
LOCHTE: Because I don't want him to be complacent with that. You need to make yourself do better.
MORGAN: I can see you're so excited, aren't you? I don't blame you.
LOCHTE: Yes. I'm so nervous.
MORGAN: My mother would be so excited she won't be able to speak if I won a gold medal so at least you can talk still.
Now when you talked about his pretty strokes, most women in America and indeed around the world view your son as pretty in a rather different way. I think he's an extremely good looking young man. He's single. And they all fancy their chances.
Who would be the right kind of woman for your boy?
LOCHTE: They have to be a family loving person that could stand having a large family and crazy family at that. And then --
LOCHTE: And just be a real to themselves. And not somebody fake.
MORGAN: I'm told he's a bit of an old softy, Ryan. That apparently he cries at movies and stuff like that, is that right? LOCHTE: Yes.
MORGAN: So that makes him instantly more lovable to women, isn't it?
LOCHTE: Yes, he's very caring and loves kids.
MORGAN: I love your T-shirt. The Lochness -- "The Lochte-ness monster. Swimming's creature of speed."
LOCHTE: My middle child daughter, she was the one who developed this and she made it up for him.
MORGAN: It's fantastic.
MORGAN: Now, I'm not saying he's Flash but are these grills that he has in his mouth was spectacular. Looks silver and a flag and everything. What did you make of it as his mother?
LOCHTE: It's Ryan.
LOCHTE: I can't change that. You know, you pick and choose your battles. And that wasn't one of them.
MORGAN: You prefer him not to, would you?
MORGAN: And one last thing I wanted to ask you. About this controversy over NBC's coverage, delaying, screening these big races until primetime, has that affected you or your family back home? Are they anxious to see it in real time on television?
LOCHTE: Yes, but we call all our family and we tell them how they did immediately.
LOCHTE: So it's not a matter that they have to wait for it.
MORGAN: I think sports has to be live, doesn't it, it on TV?
MORGAN: Otherwise, twice. Show it live, and then show it on primetime.
MORGAN: I'd watch it twice.
LOCHTE: I agree. I agree.
MORGAN: Would you? You'd watch your son winning gold twice, wouldn't you?
LOCHTE: You're right. You're right. And it should be for everybody because they want to see it. And if they want to stay up until 3:00 in the morning and do it, then let them see it.
MORGAN: Yes, and the big problem now is with Twitter and Facebook, and everything, everyone's talking about this. And they're posting clips and videos. The game has changed. And I think everyone has to move with the new game in town.
Thank you very much for joining me.
LOCHTE: Thank you so much.
MORGAN: Best of luck with the rest of the races.
LOCHTE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Next, my extraordinary and revealing interview with somebody that, well, I suspect this lady knows quite well, Michael Phelps.
MORGAN: Back now in London. All the athletes here under immense pressure to win. There's one person who may be feeling it more than anybody else. Michael Phelps.
He's already an Olympic legend, a swimming superstar, and as the world saw in Beijing, won gold in each of the eight events he swam. But that was then. A lot has happened over the past four years for the American. Both privately and publicly.
And I sat down with Phelps before the Olympics began to talk about his life, his triumphs, his challenges, and the mistakes he's made. As you'll see, he's a champion and someone who speaks from the heart.
MORGAN: So, Michael, welcome.
PHELPS: Thank you.
MORGAN: You told me that if you're ever tired, you get a bit grouchy and the interview can be very short.
PHELPS: I do.
MORGAN: So how are you feeling?
PHELPS: Well, I feel all right.
MORGAN: Grouchy? Tired?
PHELPS: No, not yet. Maybe a couple questions and --
PHELPS: You get that, right?
MORGAN: Well, you also warned me, you've been answering questions all day. And if I just repeat the same old nonsense you've been asked all day, then you're going to give me less time.
PHELPS: I'll just be like a tape recorder though.
MORGAN: Well, I take you at your word. So London is my hometown. What's extraordinary is every American athlete that I've interviewed when I asked them to cite a role model, I'd say 90 percent say you. Feel like this kind of weird god-like figure to them. With that comes responsibility. Are you aware of the status you have amongst your peer group? And what do you feel about that responsibility?
PHELPS: I mean, sometimes I feel it, but, I mean, I like to just think of myself as a normal person who just has a passion, has a goal and a dream and goes out and does it. And that's really how I've always lived my life.
MORGAN: See, I've seen you say that before. But come on, Michael, you're not a normal person.
PHELPS: I consider myself normal. I've spent 20 years in the pool. I consider that something that's normal.
MORGAN: That's not normal.
PHELPS: What do you consider normal?
MORGAN: Well, not spending 20 years in the pool.
PHELPS: I don't consider --
MORGAN: I spend about 20 minutes in the pool a day.
PHELPS: Well, that's not normal.
MORGAN: Well, what I was struck by with you was there are great athletes and great gymnasts and great swimmers and so on. I don't think I've ever seen anybody who did what you did, and confirm the statistics on this, that you trained for five years literally --
PHELPS: That's right.
MORGAN: -- every single day, 365 days, each of those five years, consecutively. That is incredible dedication to your sport. Do you know anybody else that has done that?
PHELPS: No. I've never heard of anybody else who does that.
MORGAN: What is the motivation at the end of the day for that kind of extreme dedication?
PHELPS: I mean, if you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren't willing to do. And at that point, you know, we had thought that for every year we get 52 other days of more training than anybody else gets. Every single year. And also in swimming if you miss one day of swimming it takes you twice as long to get back. So, you know, for example, for me after 2008 I took six months off. It took me -- probably it took me really about a year and a half to get back to where I was, like, really needed to be and should be.
MORGAN: When you were little Michael Phelps, was the dream to be an Olympic champion? Did you have other crazy dreams? Did you think of -- being an astronaut or football, or whatever. What were the young Michael Phelps dreams?
PHELPS: Olympic gold medalist. World record holder. Special athlete.
MORGAN: That was it. From what age did you know that?
PHELPS: I mean, I grew up. My sister was first in the nation, third in the world, when she was 14, so I was 9. And then I got to 10 and I saw, like, all the cool things that she got to do. Like travel all over the world and do this, do that, I was like, that sounds cool, like I want to do that.
MORGAN: And also, you're the younger brother.
PHELPS: The baby, yes.
MORGAN: Thinking, why is my older sister doing better than me, right? Like all younger brothers.
PHELPS: We were all very competitive in everything that we do.
MORGAN: When you're at home playing, do you play board games together?
PHELPS: I would always try to. They wouldn't always let me play, like play games with them but --
MORGAN: I mean are you just a ridiculously competitive family.
PHELPS: Yes. Everything that we do.
MORGAN: Try and describe what it means to be a great American.
PHELPS: Wow. You know, I think to be -- for me to be an American is -- you know, it's one of the greatest things in the world for -- you know, for me just because I've been able to grow up with everything. The freedom. You know, in my eyes this is the greatest country in the world. And you know, throughout my career, I've been able to, you know, to travel overseas and to represent my country the best way that I could.
And, you know, being able to wear the stars and stripes, when you step up on one of the blocks or, you know, when you step off of an airplane or when you hear the national anthem play, you know, it's one of the greatest feelings in the world because you know that there are people at home who are supporting you and watching you.
And you know, the stories that I've heard, you know, from people telling me what they were doing or where they were, you know, watching races from 2008, I think really shows how close we are as a country. And it's pretty special to just feel the support from all the fans.
MORGAN: Who are your sporting idols?
PHELPS: Michael Jordan.
MORGAN: Why him?
PHELPS: He changed the sport of basketball in my eyes. You know how -- you know, on and off the court. The guy, I mean, in my eyes made basketball what it is. And you know what he did --
MORGAN: Have you met him?
PHELPS: I haven't. Never met him.
MORGAN: What would you ask him if you were able to meet Michael Jordan?
PHELPS: I've -- you know, I've had that thought a lot.
MORGAN: What's the thing you're most curious about with him?
PHELPS: I mean I think part of me would ask him about what made him come back to the sport. What made him go to basketball and then decided to come back, or excuse me, baseball. And then decide to come back to basketball. You know, I think one of the coolest things that I love about him was it didn't matter what he had, you know, going on off the court or if he was sick or this or that. He never used it as an excuse. He came out every single night on the court. And he did what he had to do to get the job done. And that's what champions do.
It doesn't matter what else is going on. When you walk into your arena or your -- whatever you excel at, you're there to take care of the job that you have to do.
MORGAN: One of the downsides of his kind of success and indeed what you've enjoyed is you become celebrities. Not through choice. You just become exponentially more famous than you were before. How have you dealt with that side of things?
PHELPS: You know I'm sure I'll be the first one to admit I've made a lot of mistakes in my life. And, you know, but I think being able to have the opportunity of being a celebrity. You know, it helps me achieve some of the things that I want to do with the goal to raise the bar on the sport of swimming. You know, I think, you know, one, people should learn how to swim more just for safety. But two, also try to get them involved in our sport.
And, you know, we have seen a significant change over the last, you know, 10 years. But in my eyes it can change so much more.
MORGAN: When we come back, Michael tells how he hit rock bottom after winning all that gold in Beijing.
MORGAN: Back now with Michael Phelps. His low point might have come at the beginning of 2009, when a British tabloid ran a full page picture of him smoking pot. USA Swimming suspended him from competing for three months.
MORGAN: I mean, I remember when I was young Mark Spitz, winning his seven golds, and feeling incredibly inspired by him. Even though I wasn't a good swimmer then. I'm not a great swimmer now. But I remember feeling inspired to want to be Mark Spitz. He made swimming sexy for that generation.
And you've done exactly the same thing now. You know, you've made swimming a sexy sport. And taken it outside of the pool. But with that, as I say, comes this kind of celebrity thing. And you touched on making mistakes. To me the mistakes you've made, they're not massive mistakes. They were made to be apparent massive mistakes simply because of who you were.
I remember the bong picture coming out. And I remember just laughing at people, saying, really? This is a scandal of epic proportions? And I saw the reaction. I saw people getting censorious with you. I saw sponsors getting twitchy and so on. And I really thought it lost all sense of proportion. To me all I saw was a guy -- yes, all right, you probably shouldn't have been doing it.
But I saw a guy who had spent five consecutive years in a pool, who probably just wanted to let his hair down.
PHELPS: I mean -- well, I guess, I literally have made a boatload of mistakes and, you know, that's a part of growing and learning and I guess becoming an adult. You know, you -- with every mistake that you make, you obviously have to pay for the consequences that come your way. And --
MORGAN: When you knew that picture was coming out, how did you feel?
PHELPS: Not too good.
MORGAN: Did you even -- did you lose your cool? I mean, did you feel -- what is that feeling like?
PHELPS: Like the worst in the world, you know, like I lost all the -- I mean, I think it sort of just -- yes, it's terrible.
MORGAN: I heard you say the worst thing was having to tell your mother. I can relate to that. I can imagine there's no harder conversation. How did you get through that? How did you brace yourself for that?
PHELPS: You know I think -- my mom has always been obviously how all moms are. You know they're very supportive in their children. And you know, my mom growing up, you know, always would let us kind of see how we -- I guess choose the decisions that we wanted to but if we made those decision, we had to live with the consequences that came our way. So obviously, I was very disappointed in the decision that I made but, you know, obviously I learned from it and, you know, I mean I'll make a million mistakes in my life but for as long as I never make the same mistake again, I'll be able to learn and grow.
MORGAN: Do you feel people overreacted a little bit?
PHELPS: Do you feel people overreacting?
MORGAN: Yes, I did, yes. Only because you're Michael Phelps, you set yourself on -- of just unbelievable achievement.
PHELPS: People build you up and knock you down.
MORGAN: Must be the sheer volume of attractive women that would like to be associated with you.
PHELPS: I mean, I don't know. I try not to get myself into too much trouble.
MORGAN: Have you found you've got more attractive the more gold medals you won?
PHELPS: I think the biggest thing is you got to find who's real and who's not.
MORGAN: How many times have you been properly in love?
PHELPS: With what?
MORGAN: I was assuming a woman.
PHELPS: A woman would probably be twice.
MORGAN: Twice in your life. Have you been capable of proper love given the extraordinary --
PHELPS: In my eyes, yes.
MORGAN: Have you had your heart broken?
PHELPS: Sure definitely probably, high school. MORGAN: What was worst, having your heart broken or losing a race? A race you really wanted to win?
PHELPS: I mean, I think they're both learning experiences.
MORGAN: I'm trying to get to the age old question about great champions. Does it come before anything? Does winning that gold medal repeatedly come above everything else?
PHELPS: For me it's more about personal goals and things I want to achieve myself. I know that if I prepare myself the best way I can, everything else will fall into place.
MORGAN: Do you think you're going to retire after this or is it a crazy question to ask any athlete really? I remember Steve Redgrave constantly retiring. He kept being lured back for the love of the gold.
PHELPS: I'm retiring.
MORGAN: That will be it?
MORGAN: Will you literally give up all competitive swimming do you think? That will be it? Will you still swim a lot for fun?
PHELPS: Probably going to need to do something for exercise.
MORGAN: Is swimming still fun for you?
PHELPS: It is.
MORGAN: You could imagine just doing laps for no reason?
PHELPS: I think one of the biggest things after I do retire is, you know, now when I go to the ocean, go to the beach, I don't want get in the water. I spend so much time in the water, I'm like, no, I'll sit here in the beach and you guys go have fun or I'll sit by the pool, you guys do what you want to do.
If I can look back with my career and say I've done everything I've ever wanted. No matter how many medals, no matter how many records, no matter how many this, that, or whatever, if I can look back on my career and say that, doesn't matter anything else. I consider my career a success.
MORGAN: Next, a rare look at the Michael Phelps very few people have seen.
MORGAN: Back here in London with more of my interview with Michael Phelps. We've all seen his public side, record-setting swimmer. Here's a side to him he's kept to himself, his work with kids who have been less fortunate than him.
MORGAN: A lot of young Americans who have gone off the rails a bit. I know you do a lot of these sort of talks in schools and stuff. What do you say to get inside their heads? What have you found makes or can make a difference?
PHELPS: I mean, the biggest thing is -- I talk about how I got to where I am, a dream, a plan and I reach for it. That's literally all -- how I got to where I am. Sure, I mean, I'm human.
And that's literally just what I try to -- get across to the kids. My life hasn't been perfect. No one's is. I was raised by a single mother. I'm able to kind of relate with them a little bit here and there.
And, you know, they see that and, you know, the cool thing is, being able to, one, hear the stories about things they've overcome. Two, the changes they've been able to make whether it's goal setting, whether it's eating healthier.
You know, whether they become water safe. It's all these things and when you see the excitement of them telling you the story, that's the coolest thing in the world.
It's like the best thing ever so just sort of being able to get those points across. Being able to show anything is possible if you want it bad enough.
MORGAN: There's a whole side to you which I unravelled in the research, which I found really interesting. And it was a lot of stuff that you do very quietly.
Certainly, for young swimmers who for whatever reason haven't been dealt a lot of luck in life. There's one really poignant story I wanted to talk to you about, this young boy, a young swimmer.
He became seriously ill, really devoted a lot of time, getting on planes to going to see him. Encourage him and so on. Tell me about this young man.
PHELPS: First time I met him, I went to a summer league. I went to one of his summer league meets to watch him swim. I was able just to hang out. I was with his mom. I watched him swim. We were playing basketball.
And he would be fine then he would get sick. I moved to Michigan. I came back and, you know, he was just happy when he was able to sit and spend time with me.
MORGAN: He had a form of cancer is that --
PHELPS: Yes. And he would just relax and it would kind of help him relax and take his, you know, his mind off the pain. MORGAN: His parents have told the story of -- he suddenly took a dramatic turn for the worse and they contacted you. You got on the first plane you could. The plane was slightly delayed and by the time you got there --
PHELPS: I showed up at like midnight. I had to go home the next day.
MORGAN: You spent hours with him --
PHELPS: He was -- he was asleep, didn't wake up at all. My mom and I sat there and just talked to him, held his hand. Very shortly after, he passed away.
MORGAN: Do you feel there's a side to you that very few people know? Do you protect it?
PHELPS: There are things that are protected, yes.
MORGAN: Hearing you talk about Steve there and what you did for him and hearing what his parents have said, you see a very different side to the steely champion athlete.
PHELPS: Yes. I mean, you know, there are a lot of things that -- I mean, I would say people know about 90 percent of everything that happens in my life. The other 10 percent just no one needs to know.
MORGAN: There was a period your coach, your great coach, said when he thought he lost you. You stopped coming to training. Sometimes you went six weeks without coming to training.
And no one could blame you. You just won eight golds at the Beijing Olympics. You smashed all records. There was ostensibly nothing left to swim for and he thought really that that was possibly it. What was going through your mind through that period?
PHELPS: Nothing. I literally just -- unmotivated, didn't want to do anything, didn't want to get out of bed, didn't want to work out. Had no drive, had no goals. I had goals but I just didn't want to do anything about them.
MORGAN: Do you feel now as motivated as you've ever been?
PHELPS: I mean, I wouldn't say it was as motivated as I've ever been. I am very motivated. Going through some of the races I've had happen over the last few years.
MORGAN: How many medals, do you know how many you've won?
MORGAN: Have you kept them at all? A bit of doubt about this, you actually know where they are?
PHELPS: Yes. I think my mom has the other one. She has it somewhere in the apartment. We're all good.
MORGAN: How would you like to be remembered whatever happens in London?
PHELPS: Being the first Michael Phelps that's really the only thing. Doing something nobody else has ever done before, changing the sport of swimming. That's what I hope to walk out of this sport with.
MORGAN: Michael, all the very best in London.
PHELPS: Thank you very much.
MORGAN: It's been a pleasure sitting down with you. I really appreciated it. Thank you.
MORGAN: One thing for sure, Michael Phelps now has the race of his life on. Next, we'll sit down with Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom and get his take on Mitt Romney's visit to their embattled country.
MORGAN: Mitt Romney is drawing all the attention, what he said in Israel yesterday about the Jewish state, Iran, and much more. Daniel Taub is Israeli ambassador to U.K. and joins me now.
Welcome, Mr. Ambassador. First of all, are you enjoying the games?
DANIEL TAUB, ISRAELI AMBASSADOR TO U.K.: Enormously. They've been organized fantastically. We Israelis are great lovers of sport. Not great medal winners just yet, but we're getting there.
MORGAN: Britain and Israel are in the same boat. We can catch up. Let's turn to Mitt Romney's visit to Israel. Want to play you what he said about Iran first and then I'll come and ask you for a comment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDAT: We must not delude ourselves into thinking the containment is an option. We much lead the effort to prevent Iran from building and possessing nuclear weapons capability. We should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course. It is our fervent course that diplomatic and economic measures will do so.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: So what do you make of that?
TAUB: In fact, what I heard from Mitt Romney and it was great to see it said so clearly. What we've been hearing from the Obama administration as well, which is that the policy has to be prevention and not containment.
We're obviously extremely concerned. We had just last week another round of talks between the west and the Iranians. We haven't seen any progress yet. They're continuing to speed up their enrichment. They have enough enriched uranium to make five nuclear bombs. They have 10,000 centrifuges and our hope along with the rest of the west is that by ratcheting up the diplomatic sanctions, which is our intention at the moment, we will bring about a change in Iranian policy. But if that doesn't succeed, we have to consider other options.
MORGAN: Ehud Barak, the defense minister, spoke to Wolf Blitzer, CNN, today. He was very glowing of his praise of President Obama. You've been the most supportive of Israel of any U.S. president in at least the last 30 years, quite a statement to make.
TAUB: I think the thing about Israel/U.S. relations is the deeper you go, the better they get. You know, often we have some slight differences that are apparent in the public sphere, but when you get to issues that relate to Israel's security, when you get to common strategic threats.
Iran obviously is not just an Israeli concern. It's a concern for the rest of the world. What will happen if nuclear capabilities were to get into the hands of all the terrorist organizations that Iran is supporting? There you find a quality of cooperation that's really very, very hard to find anywhere else.
MORGAN: The other big contentious issue to some was when Wolf Blitzer asked Mitt Romney about whether he considered Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WOLF BLITZER, HOST, CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM": If you become president of the United States, would you move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think it's long been the policy of our country to ultimately have our embassy in the nation's capital of Jerusalem. The decision to actually make the move is one -- if I were president, I would want to take in consultation with the leadership of the government that exists at that time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Most Israelis, when I've been to Jerusalem to interview Prime Minister Netanyahu, most Israelis told me that they consider Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel not Tel Aviv. Is that your view?
TAUB: I think it's absolutely true. Jerusalem is Israel's capital. It was the capital of the ancient state of Israel thousands of years ago. It's the capital of Israel today. It's where our government is.
It is sad to say that unfortunately the international community is holding back on moving most of their embassies there, because they don't want to prejudice what might be the future of the city as a result of negotiations.
But certainly we consider it to be our capital and it would be great to see the United States reflecting that by moving their embassy.
MORGAN: Funny, Mr. Ambassador, there's been a lot of controversy over how best to pay unite to those who lost their lives in the Munich catastrophe, so many Israelis being slaughtered there. There wasn't any moment of silence in the opening ceremony. Were you disappointed with that?
TAUB: We were disappointed. I don't want to say we were overly disappointed because the families of the 11 Israelis that were murdered in a terroristic massacre in Munich have been asking the International Olympic Committee to do this for over 40 years.
These were Israelis, of course, but they were also Olympians. They were murdered as Olympic athletes in the Olympic village during the Olympic games.
The families have been saying quite rightly I think that we would like to see the Olympic family recognize the tragedy of these people who were killed as Israelis, but also Olympians.
MORGAN: Mr. Ambassador, thank you very much indeed.
Coming up next, I'll talk to Kim Rhode, the American woman making history in London.
MORGAN: Kim Rhode won the women's skeet shooting here in London on Sunday. She becomes the first American, the first ever to win individual medals in five straight Olympics, quite an incredible achievement. You don't look old enough. How old are you for goodness sakes?
KIM RHODE, OLYMPIC GREAT: I'm 33. You're not supposed to ask a lady how old they are. I was 16 when I went to the first Olympics. Now, five Olympics later, how time has flown --
MORGAN: Does it get any less exciting, less enjoyable?
RHODE: No. It's really about the journey, and every journey is so unique, and the bumps you have to overcome to make it to that podium is incredible. That's what keeps each Olympian coming back again and again.
MORGAN: You hit 99 accurate shots out of 100. My question is, what went wrong with the other one.
RHODE: I can come up with, there was something in my eye or -- there are a million excuses out there, but sometimes you just miss.
MORGAN: Now this is the medal.
RHODE: This is the real McCoy.
MORGAN: This is the first of the London medals I've felt. RHODE: It's a lot bigger than thet point previous medals I've won and it's really heavy. You know, the face of the Olympic medal never changes. It's the back that's unique to each Olympic medal.
If you ever get the chance to see them, look at them. That's what's unique to each of them. I think London has a beautiful back to the medal.
MORGAN: That's the last one I'm going to see. How do you feel representing America and doing so for such a long period of time?
RHODE: Well, you know, it's such an honor. In my event they only take one person. It's all or nothing. To be able to go out there and hear the national anthem play and see the American flag go to the top of the pole, it's amazing. If gives you a chill on the back of your neck. Hopefully, I get to go again in 2016.
MORGAN: Let me ask you one question about a news story in America, which is the big shooting in Aurora in Colorado. As someone as a professional marksman, what do you think about the whole debate that's raging about gun control and so on?
RHODE: Well, you know, obviously, my heart goes out for the victims and their families and it's really sad this even occurred. The guy was obviously very disturbed and had some serious issues.
But I think it's really sad too, that the news gets those lines blurred between the news and the sport. And really the sport of shooting is about responsibility, discipline, focus, and that's really what we represent here at the Olympics. And for me, it was a tradition, something that was passed down generationally in my family.
We really embraced that and just run with it. It's really for us that's what our sport is about. And hopefully we can push more of that positive message.
MORGAN: Kim, I think you have an amazing story, 99 out of 100 successful shots competed.
RHODE: Not too bad.
MORGAN: Congratulations, seriously. Thank you.
Before we leave you tonight, a word on Olympic pressure. It's not just the athletes. Take a look at the parents of Aly Raisman. This tells you all about the agony and ecstasy of having your child competing in the Olympic Games.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come on. Stick it, stick it! Yes!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's what it's like to see your kids compete in the world's most exciting and yet competitive competition. It's as tough as it gets. Maybe it's worthy of its Olympic event. For the Raisman's a gold medal performance.
That's all for us tonight. "Anderson Cooper" starts now.