Michael Phelps: Swimmer's Fall from Grace Will Continue in 200-Meter Butterfly

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Michael Phelps: Swimmer's Fall from Grace Will Continue in 200-Meter Butterfly
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Michael Phelps is one of the most talented and decorated Olympic swimmers in United States history, but his time of dominance in the sport has come and gone.

The star’s fall from grace will continue in an event in which he is the defending champion: the 200-meter butterfly.

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After winning the gold medal in this event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps came into these Games as one of the favorites in this and every event he has entered.

After a poor start to the Games, questions about his readiness for the action of the 2012 Olympics surfaced.

Phelps finished third in his heat for the 200-meter butterfly with a time of one minute, 55.53 seconds, which sits him as fifth fastest for the semifinal of the event Monday afternoon at 3.32 p.m. ET.

The swimming star will have to bring a much better time for his semifinal run this afternoon if he even wants to make it to the final of the event on Tuesday, July 31 at 2:49 p.m. ET. Phelps is the defending gold medalist, yet he is on the edge of missing out on the medal race.

How far the mighty have fallen.

Clive Rose/Getty Images

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Phelps, whose recent struggles have been attributed to everything from illness to a lack of training effort. Whatever the reason, the results are proving that Phelps didn’t come into these Games as strong as he did in 2008.

Phelps was exposed in his poor attempt at the 400-meter individual medley by being the slowest qualifier to make it to the final and ultimately finishing fourth.

With Phelps not on the medal stand for this first time in years, the changing of the guard had begun.

There is no taking away how great Phelps was during his storied career, but the lack of success so far will only be magnified if he can’t defend his gold in the 200-meter butterfly.

Check back for more on the 2012 Summer Olympics as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s Olympics page to get your fill of the best athletes the world has to offer.

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