michael phelps, leaky goggles, speedo, olympics, beijing 2008During last night’s world-record-breaking, gold-medal-earning 200-meter butterfly swim, Michael Phelps encountered a slight ‘wardrobe malfunction’.

Now don’t get too excited, he remained full clothed, but his goggles began filling up with water when he dove in. Despite swimming completely blind, he won the event and bested his previous world record by .06 seconds. But his frustrated expression and uncelebrated victory stood out as unusual. In interviews after the race, Phelps explained the goggles leaked as soon as he dove in the pool. Speedo, you’ve got some ‘splainin to do!

Until now, all the attention in these Olympic swimming events has been on Speedo’s superfast body swimsuit, which even makes Nike’s suit totally suck in comparison, self-admittedly. However, now it appears Speedo, which by sheer numbers alone will sell millions more goggles a year than swimsuits, has some egg on its face.

The owners of the Speedo swimwear company, The Warnaco Group, woke up to a sharp downturn in stock prices during today’s opening bell. And although it may be ridiculous to peg an entire diversified company’s earnings on one pair of leaky goggles, the stock seems to be fairing better as the day progresses.

Darren Rovell of CNBC’s Sports Biz got a short comment from Speedo:

A Speedo spokesperson said this about the goggles incident: “We haven’t had a chance to speak with Michael yet, as he’s focused on tonight’s prelims.”

Kind of a cop out answer if you ask me, but here’s hoping when they come out with an official statement it’s something substantial. And don’t even think of blaming Phelps for wearing the goggles incorrectly, the dude knows how to wear a pair.

No matter how tight I put my swim goggles on, whenever I dive into a pool they either fly off or totally fill with water instantly. I know I’m a spaz, but I wondered how these Olympic swimmers avoided that and it turns out they don’t always.

Can you imagine how bad it would have been for Speedo if Phelps didn’t have within him super-human swimming abilities and incredible focus? He could have blamed his failure and the dashing of hopes of millions of Americans on a crappy pair of goggles (possibly made in China?). Major disaster.

NYT: Phelps Is So Fast He Can Win With His Eyes Closed, August 13, 2008

CNBC: Speedo’s Goggles Sputter With Michael Phelps, August 13, 2008