Olympic Heroes Leave Everyone Happy at Penn State -- September 14, 2004
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA, September 14. PENN State reports the “Disney Swim with the Stars” stop in Happy Valley was a great success.
Michael Phelps, the 2004 Summer Olympics most successful athlete with a record-tying eight Olympic medals and soon-to-be freshman at the University of Michigan, jumped in a Big Ten pool for the first time as he took the Penn State campus by storm when he arrived on the campus Sunday to thousands of cheering students and fans for a special AT&T Wireless Town Hall Q&A and "Disney Swim with the Stars" tour stop.
The event concluded with Phelps signing autographs for students and fans that waited hours to meet him and get his autograph on everything, including swim trunks.
Ian Crocker and Lenny Krayzelburg joined Phelps as they put on a swim demonstration and a swim clinic, signed autographs and answered questions from the crowd during a two-hour event held at McCoy Natatorium.
Phelps continued his day of entertaining by meeting with Penn State President Dr. Graham Spanier, as well as meeting with the media, answering questions for students and then signing autographs at Heritage Hall in the H.U.B.
"I tried to talk Michael into rethinking his decision and coming to Penn State as a student," said Spanier. "But he is afraid of all these girls."
"What a great environment," said Phelps in regards to all of the fans that lined up in Heritage Hall, through the halls of the HUB and down the street. "It's exciting to have such supportive fans. Lenny Krayzelburg calls us the 'Aqua Beatles.
"It's great to be at Penn State and see all the support, but I look forward to starting a new beginning and helping take the University of Michigan team to a new level."
Students and fans began lining up three hours prior to the show at McCoy Natatorium and more than four hours prior to Phelps' autograph signing at Heritage Hall.
Phelps sent every fan home happy. One young fan asked for a cardboard cutout of the 6-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and he gave it to her. Another fan asked for his hat and he signed it and gave it to her.