Michael Phelps: 200-Meter Butterfly Will Set Tone for Remaining Events

Ryan GerbosiCorrespondent IIJuly 30, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 30:  Michael Phelps of the United States reacts after he competed in heat 5 of the Men's 200m Butterfly on Day 3 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on July 30, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Michael Phelps spoiled us a little bit with his explosive run in Beijing. Now, it is uncertain if he will be successful at all in London. 

Phelps' unprecedented performance in 2008 made us forget that not only is he human, but there are other swimmers in the pool with him.

Two events into the London Olympics and Phelps is without a gold. Typical for most athletes, but Phelps hadn't lost an Olympic event since Athens.

Now, there is some doubt as to whether Phelps is ready for the rest of his events.

In his first race, Phelps finished fourth and out of the medals in the 400-meter individual medley, an event he had won in both 2004 and 2008. The result was eye-opening for Americans who haven't seen Phelps struggle in the Olympics since his debut in Sydney.

Phelps swam well in the 400-meter freestyle relay, but the US finished second behind a strong French team that overtook Ryan Lochte on the last leg. 

Moving forward, Phelps looks toward the 200-meter butterfly, his specialty. 

Phelps performance in the fly will be telling of how he will do in his remaining events.

The 200-meter butterfly was his first event back in 2000 at age 15. Since his fifth place finish in Sydney, Phelps has dominated the event across the world.

In 2001, he set the world record in the event and has not relinquished the title. Phelps has even defeated his own record seven times, lowering it more than three seconds from his original time 11 years ago.

If Phelps does not succeed in this event, there will be many questions about his preparedness for London as well as his ability to contribute in further events.

It seems that Lochte is the better swimmer right now, but Phelps is not through as a competitor. Phelps wants to make a real impact in these Olympics, and the way for him to do that is by winning gold. 

It will be a very long and bumpy road for Phelps if he can't do that in his specialty.