While it seemed that Michael Phelps' swimming career had already come to a close, the world-famous swimmer is back in the pool, and his mom is hoping that he can compete in the 2016 Olympics.
Nicole Auerbach from USA Today reported that Phelps underwent drug testing in order to be eligible to compete once again. The report goes into detail about what that drug testing would mean for Phelps competing:
By subjecting himself to testing, Phelps has set himself up for a return to competition next spring and possibly an appearance at the 2014 U.S. national championships. He'd also have plenty of time to get in shape by the 2015 world championships in Russia, a meet which will serve as a tune-up to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics the following summer.
While Phelps has yet to confirm that he will be planning to compete in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Olympics, the training is a good sign. What's even more promising is that his mother, Debbie Phelps, says she hopes the two will be able to go.
“I don’t know if we’re going to Rio, but I know that, according to the Baltimore Sun and out there in social media, Michael did make an announcement about being back in the pool,” she told WBAL News. ”Where that leads him, I don’t know. I’m hoping it does lead us to Brazil.
“But, you know, athletes, children, composers, artists have to love what they do. Michael has a love for his sport, a passion for his sport. I know when he went to Barcelona for world champs last year [July 2013], I watched his face. He has such eagerness about where the sport of swimming is going to go. I’m supporting him all the way as his mom.
“I would love to go Rio.”
Phelps already has the most medals in Olympic history, grabbing 22 total medals and 18 gold. He broke Mark Spitz's record with eight gold medals in a single Olympic Games back in 2008 in Beijing.
At this point, Phelps doesn't have much to prove. He's done everything you can ask for from an Olympic athlete. However, even though he's such an accomplished swimmer, he could still probably perform at a high enough level to earn at least one more medal, if not more.
Although it felt like Phelps couldn't run the tables during the 2012 Olympics in London, he still did. He earned six total medals, four gold and two silver, and he proved anyone that had any doubt wrong.
However, at 28 years old, Phelps will be in his 30s in the next Olympics, and age could slow him down. At some point, age combined with a lack of desire could keep him from competing at a high level.
Desire could be an issue in regards to coming back and competing in the Olympics. After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps said that he was done swimming, and he confirmed he had no plans to return back in June of this year.
Still, considering the fact that he's back in the pool and his mom is wanting him to return, it's safe to say that the odds are good that we will see Phelps going for gold in 2016.