Michael Phelps looked like his old self again in the men's 4x100 freestyle relay on Day 2 of the 2012 Olympic Games. He's not the one who lost the race. It was his teammate, Ryan Lochte, who choked away Team USA's big lead on the final leg.
Judging from Phelps' amazing swim, it's safe to say that his time as a dominant force in men's swimming is far from over. He was superb in his leg of that relay, posting the fastest time by anyone except for France's Yannick Agnel, according to the official splits from London2012.com.
The 100-meter freestyle isn't even Phelps' best event. He doesn't even compete in the regular 100-meter freestyle sprint. He's been better throughout his career in the longer sprints, and his specialty is the butterfly.
With that in mind, it's ridiculous to assume that his sub-par performance in the 400-meter individual medley from Day 1 is going to be indicative of the rest of Phelps' performance in the 2012 Summer Games.
I'm much more inclined to see his Day 2 performance in the relay as the benchmark for what we should expect the rest of the way.
Let's just chalk Phelps' Day 1 disaster up to a case of jet lag and forget about the whole thing. The truth is that he's just as fast as ever, and he's going to prove it in the days to come.
Let's take a look at Phelps' remaining schedule.
200-Meter Butterfly on July 31
This event is Phelps' bread and butter. He owns this race, and there's no way he doesn't win.
200-Meter Freestyle Relay on July 31
Lochte choked away the lead in the 4x100 freestyle relay, but he won't do the same in this race. He's a 200-meter specialist, and he knows what he's doing—unlike what we saw in the latter race.
He and Phelps will lead the U.S. team to another gold-medal victory, much like the Americans have done in every single major international event since 2003.
200-Meter Individual Medley on August 2
This event is another one Phelps has dominated over the years, winning gold medals in 2004 and 2008; but seeing how he blew it in the 400-meter medley, I'm not sure if he'll be able to beat his rival, Ryan Lochte.
That said, Phelps should earn at least a silver medal, if not the gold.
100-Meter Butterfly on August 3
Much like the 200-meter fly, this is Phelps' event to lose. He's the best fly swimmer in the world, bar none. He'll win the gold.
100-Meter Medley Relay on August 4
Is Phelps finished, or is he just getting started in 2012?
This race is going to be Phelps' swan song. He has already stated that these will be his final Olympic Games, and he and Team USA will be fired up to finish strong (h/t NBCOlympics.com).
Of course, it doesn't hurt that there isn't a team on earth better than the combination of Phelps (butterfly), Nathan Adrian (freestyle), Matt Grevers (backstroke) and Brendan Hansen (breaststroke).
They'll win the gold medal, and Phelps will retire as the greatest athlete in Olympic history.