Olympic swimming star Phelps book signing draws long line of fans

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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NEW YORK The first fan arrived not long after midnight, 12 hours before Michael Phelps would be signing copies of his new book.

By the time the record-setting swimmer arrived Tuesday afternoon, the line outside the bookstore in midtown Manhattan snaked around the corner and down the long block.

Girls squealed and giggled as they reached the table where Phelps sat. Those further back craned their necks around shelves to catch a glimpse.

Phelps signed copies of No Limits: The Will to Succeed for nearly two hours. The book, released Tuesday, chronicles his journey to winning eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics.

I didnt know what to expect, Phelps told The Associated Press after his session at Barnes & Noble. They said the line was wrapping around the building this morning, and then I got here and it was.

The crowd didnt exactly match the throng drawn to a recent Jonas Brothers appearance, store officials said, but it was similar to those attracted by a couple of New York sports greats: Joe Namath and Gary Carter.

It was pretty cool, Phelps said. It was interesting to see how excited everybody was.

(The book is) out, so hopefully well get some good feedback from it.

When it was over, Phelps took a deep breath and made a show of stretching his neck and arms. Asked how his hand was doing, he laughed and said, Oh, its fine.

Phelps was scheduled to speak Tuesday night at Adelphi University on Long Island.

David Kugelman, a 17-year-old distance runner from Staten Island, lined up at 8 a.m. ET, wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Olympic rings. He said this was the first time he waited in line for hours for somebodys autograph. But, he added, it was with good reason.

Hes the most famous athlete in the world, Kugelman said.

Organizations: No Limits, Beijing Olympics, The Associated Press Barnes & Noble Jonas Brothers Adelphi University on Long Island

Geographic location: NEW YORK, Manhattan, Staten Island

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