Olympic great Michael Phelps ending retirement

continued from page 1

Question of the Day

Should Congress make English the official language of the U.S.?

View results

Five-time Olympian Dara Torres knows about comebacks. At 41, she made the 2008 U.S. Olympic team in her second return to the sport and won three silver medals. At 33, she made the 2000 Olympics after seven years in retirement.

Torres said she came back twice because she missed competing.

“Knowing how competitive Michael is, I’m sure that’s a big factor,” Torres said. “When you’re on top of your sport and all of a sudden you’re not and you’re out there in life, you miss what you used to do. When you retire, nothing is structured; with swimming, it’s very structured.”

Phelps‘ camp is being low-key about the comeback, and he wasn’t made available to speak Monday.

“I think he’s just really enjoying it,” Bowman said. “He enjoys the training and being physically fit. He just kind of wants to see where he’s at. It’s more really for fun. It’s been nice for me to see him swim just for the joy of it really.”

Olympian Jessica Hardy, who will compete in Mesa, said many swimmers were surprised by the news.

“He kept it pretty much under wraps,” she said. “Even if he’s not at peak performance, it’s great for the sport and each athlete particularly to keep learning from him. I don’t think anyone wants to put pressure on him. He’s accomplished everything you pretty much can. It’s just great to see what else you can do.”

Phelps won’t be coming back for the money, having earned tens of millions of dollars in endorsements during his career. However, his endorsement potential certainly goes up if he’s in the water. His presence on the pool deck will give a boost to USA Swimming, which can endlessly market him.

“Anytime you can have the most decorated Olympian in history in the pool, it’s a fantastic thing for swimming,” said Chuck Wielgus, executive director of USA Swimming. “USA Swimming and Michael share the goal of growing the sport, and his return to competition will surely inspire even more kids to give swimming a try.”

Phelps‘ name recognition goes far beyond the pool deck. He’s as well-known as athletes from far more prominent sports, such as NBA star LeBron James, which is an accomplishment for a swimmer whose sport gets most of its attention in an Olympic year.

In MesaPhelps will swim 100 free and 100 fly preliminaries on the first day. Then, if he qualifies, he’ll decide which race to swim for the evening finals, Bowman said. He’ll swim the 50 free on the second day and might swim the 50 fly “just for fun,” the coach added.

“I bet you’re going to see a little spark in him that you didn’t see in 2012,” Torres said.

Phelps will stick to the shorter races and some relays rather than the grueling individual medleys he swam during the height of his career.

“He’s really doing this because he wants to — there’s no outside pressure at all,” Bowman said.

Phelps has already entered the remaining Grand Prix meets in Charlotte, N.C., in May and Santa Clara, Calif., in June, although Bowman said no decision has been made on whether he will compete.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Get Adobe Flash player