He's not likely to win another eight gold medals and match his world record total for most gold medals won in a single Olympics, but he certainly won't disappoint his fans.
Why? Because Phelps needs to go out with a bang. The 26-year-old Baltimore native recently said that this summer's event will be the final time he participates in an Olympic competition.
He said this, as per CNN.com:
"I've been able to go to all these amazing cities in my travels and I haven't been able to see them at all," he said. "I see the hotel and I see the pool. That's it. And (after the Olympics) I'm just going to go and do whatever I want to do."
Well, you can't blame him with a reason like that. As fans, we typically focus on all the perks that we believe Olympic athletes receive, but we seldom acknowledge the downside of dedicating ever waking moment to winning an Olympic medal.
According to the report, Phelps had some doubts as to if he would even compete in the 2012 Olympics. His trainer thought there was a "50-50" chance that he would return.
But Phelps is competing this summer nonetheless, and he is sure to be on top of his game in his quest to grab some more medals. In fact, Phelps is just two medals away from tying Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most Olympic medals over the course of a career.
He's confident, too, saying, "I kind of feel like my old self again," he said. "I'm swimming times like I used to. I'm swimming races how I used to."
The Baltimore Bullet captivated the nation when he set seven world records in Beijing, two of which still stand today. Along with Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens and Peter Vanderkaay, Phelps was part of the USA relay team that became the first team to break the seven-minute mark in the relay. They also broke the old world record by more than four seconds.
Phelps was light years ahead of his nearest competition in 2008, so there's no reason to believe that he won't be able to take home a handful of medals this summer in London.
The Americans were atop the swimming scene four years ago, and will look to Phelps as an inspirational story line to continue their Olympic dominance in the pool.
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