BEYOND MICHAEL PHELPS: HOW CAN USA SWIMMING PROMOTE THE SPORT IN THE POST-PHELPS ERA?
A Professional Project Presented to the
FACULTY OF THE USC GRADUATE SCHOOL
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
In Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree
MASTER OF ARTS
(STRATEGIC PUBLIC RELATIONS)
Copyright 2011 Daniel Lee
Michael Phelps has become the greatest star in swimming history after winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, breaking the 36-year-old record of seven that Mark Spitz held. His performance brought unprecedented attention to the sport, with millions watching on TV around the world. It created a surge in membership in USA Swimming. But Phelps has said he plans to retire after the 2012 Olympics in London. What will happen with the sport then? How can USA Swimming continue to draw participants and spectators without its most famous star? This thesis examines the evolution and developments in the sport that helped produce Phelps; it also analyzes swimming currently and makes suggestions on how USA Swimming can better promote itself.