Michael Phelps is out of retirement. Interested in the possibility of competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, his coach, Bob Bowman recently announced that Phelps will be competing at a meet in Mesa, Arizona on April 24-26 along with Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky to, “test the waters a little bit and see how it goes.” He will swim the 100 meter fly, 100 free, 50 free and possibly the 50 fly.
Phelps has been in retirement for two years; however, last fall, he began training again. He currently swims Monday-Friday with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. According to his coach, “He’s gotten back into good shape since September. He can give a good effort and certainly not be embarrassed. He’s in enough shape to swim competitively.” After getting tested by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, he was ineligible to compete the last six months, which expired March.
Phelps had vowed that he wouldn’t swim competitively after turning 30. Since retiring, he has devoted time to golf, participated in a reality show, started the IM Program for water safety, and continued to endorse his sponsors. Michael is the most decorated athlete in history, having won 18 gold medals and 22 medals overall from the last three Summer Olympics. He has nothing to lose from the comeback; many have said that his reputation will not be tarnished if the comeback is unsuccessful.
“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.”
Michael has inspired many children to start swimming; before his fame, swimming was an overlooked sport. With a net worth of $40 million, it is clear that Michael is not competing in the meet for money.
He said, “If I don’t become as successful as you think I would or should be, that’s your own opinion. I enjoy being in the pool and sport of swimming and having fun with what I’m doing.”
According to Coach Bowman, Phelps has been noticeably happier ever since restarting his training. For him, this comeback is neither about money nor awards. Some have said that he is foolish for coming out of retirement but Bowman suggests that he has not intended to have a full-fledged comeback. “His legacy is sealed.”