The Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte rivalry may have ended on Thursday night, but Phelps will still add another medal to his already legendary trophy case before all is said and done at the London Games.
He already has the world record for the most Olympic medals. What else is there left to prove for the 27-year-old American swimmer??
Coming off of his 2008 Olympics performance, Phelps is back to prove to himself and the world that it wasn’t fluke—that he wasn’t just someone who struck gold at the right time, during the Olympics.
Since 2008, he has undergone heavy criticism for his extra-curricular activities and even his work ethic. Critics were satisfied when he failed to medal in his signature event, the 400-meter individual medley.—the race Ryan Lochte seemingly broke out of Phelps’ shadow and used to propel himself into worldwide stardom.
Having beaten Lochte head-to-head in their final encounter, the pressure is off Phelps, finally. The only thing he has to focus on now is doing what he does best: winning gold medals.
Only just a mere hour after winning the gold in the 200-meter IM, Phelps took to the water again and qualified for Friday’s 100-meter butterfly final today. He aced the qualifier round with an impressive second-place score of 51.72, just .18 behind Chad le Clos of South Africa.
Days ago Phelps earned the silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle. Le Clos bested him by a minuscule 0.05 seconds. Don’t be alarmed, Phelps isn’t “falling off,” and the sky isn’t falling; the competition has risen to the challenge after being completely embarrassed in Beijing. In fact, some of Phelps’ biggest wins have come by the smallest of margins.
Le Clos acknowledges Phelps has a slight edge heading into the event.
"It's too short for me I think," le Clos said (AP). "It will be a completely different race. These guys will be a lot quicker than this morning. I hope I can swim the fast time which will get me in the final."
Sometimes, when dealing with athletes as remarkable as Phelps, Locthe and le Clos, taking a wrong breath or making one wrong stroke is the equalizer.
Throughout the rest of the 2012 Olympics, Michael Phelps will show his ability, desire and the clear mindedness by continuing to add to his iconic status in Olympics history.
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