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Wednesday, August 27, 2008



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EVEN before landing back in the US, Olympic swimming champ Michael Phelps, winner of eight gold medals in Beijing and the man being hailed as the greatest Olympian of all time, was converting his fame into a big pool of Yankee dollars.

Phelps snagged an estimated $1.6 million advance from the Free Press imprint of Simon & Schuster for his latest book, to be called "Built to Succeed."

Waxman Literary Agency, working with Phelps' long-time talent manager Peter Carlisle of Octagon, brokered the deal, which had a $1 million floor price just to get into the hunt.

At least a half-dozen major publishers took a look before Dominick Anfuso, editorial director of Free Press, landed the deal.

In the book, which is being called an "inspirational memoir," the publisher said that Phelps will reveal the secrets of his success, and give a behind-the-scenes look at his approach to training, competition and winning.

The narrative thread is expected to be the eight final swims of the 2008 games.

The book will make it onto bookshelves by December.

Phelps, now 23, had first signed up with Carlisle when he was 15 and was just starting to turn pro.

Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, had first approached Carlisle about repping Phelps, but Carlisle rebuffed Bowman's overture. At the time, Carlisle was heavily involved in the burgeoning snowboarding scene and didn't want to diversify.

But Bowman persisted and now Carlisle has his own version of Olympic marketing gold, thanks to his most famous client.

Carlisle told The Wall Street Journal recently that he thinks Phelps will eventually earn $100 million in his lifetime from marketing and endorsement deals.

Phelps has already earned a $1 million bonus from swimwear maker Speedo, at the Olympics, for breaking the 36-year-old record for the most gold medals earned in a single Olympics, which was set by Mark Spitz.

Last year, Phelps was said to have earned about $5 million from marketing and endorsement deals with companies like Visa, Omega, Power Bar, Speedo and AT&T.

This year, experts say he'll easily double that figure.

Whatever Phelps' long-term selling power turns out to be, he has already passed one of the early marks of hotness by selling out magazine covers.

Sports Illustrated put Phelps on the cover of the Aug. 25 issue that hit newsstands last Thursday with his eight gold medals forming an Olympic necklace -a reprise of Spitz' famous SI cover in 1972.

Early estimates are that Phelps' issue sold close to 130,000 copies on newsstands - a 54,000-copy, or 72 percent, surge over the 75,640 copies that the magazine sold in an average week in the second half of 2007.

Dara's deal

Dara Torres, the 41-year-old swimmer, wrapped up her two-book deal with the Broadway imprint of Random House Inc., even before she splashed down in Beijing and promptly added three more medals to her collection.

Torres, who came out of retirement two years ago, after the birth of her first child, to prepare for her final Olympic event, plans to write a yet-to-be titled inspirational memoir scheduled to be on shelves next April.

The second book, a fitness guide, won't hit shelves until the spring of 2011.

The books were purchased by Stacy Creamer, editor-in-chief for Broadway, in a deal brokered by Evan Morgenstein at Premier Management Group.

Torres has competed in the 1984, 1988, 1992 and 2000 Olympics and has 12 Olympic medals overall, including five golds and the three silvers that she added to her haul at the Beijing Games.

Fast track

Doubleday is speeding up the release of "The Man Who Owns the News," the Michael Wolff tome on Rupert Murdoch, the chairman of News Corp. (which owns The Post) and its epic $5.4 billion takeover of The Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones.

The book, which Amazon still lists as landing on shelves in February, will now be out in early December.

Wolff, a columnist at Vanity Fair, is going to be able to doubly hype the book.

First, he's writing about Murdoch for his monthly column in the October issue that hits newsstands next week. Then Vanity Fair's December issue, which hits in November, will feature an excerpt from the book.

A spokesman for Doubleday said, "We expect to get 100,000 copies out to start."

Last August, Wolff snagged what is believed to have been a $1 million advance to write the book for which Murdoch agreed to grant access.