After the London Olympics in 2012, Michael Phelps claimed he was done with swimming. He retired and said he was excited to focus on the next chapter of his life. Well, just over a year later, Phelps has rejoined the U.S. drug testing program, a signal that he is planning a comeback.
Phelps told The Associated Press on Thursday that “nothing is set in stone,” but he’s clearly working to get back in shape. He has dropped 15 pounds and has been working out with his former team at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club.
Phelps had the following to say:
“If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I’ll compete. If I don’t, I guess I’ll retire. Just don’t compare me to Brett Favre.”
The U.S. Anto-Doping Agency claims Phelps underwent two doping tests during the testing period ending on September 30 (referred to as the third quarter).
Phelps’ former coach and close friend Bob Bowman said the swimmer re-entered the testing program in the second quarter, but wasn’t tested until the third. The 28-year-old would be eligible to compete again in March, according to Bowman.
Phelps has been working out a few days in the pool and a few days in the weight room, as well as doing some core training every week.
By re-entering the drug testing program, Phelps has set himself up to go through an entire season before the 2015 world championships in Russia. The world meet would be a great test to see where Phelps is in comparison to the rest of his competition heading into the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Swimming’s world governing body, FINA, requires an athlete to be tested for at least nine months before entering sanctioned events.
When Phelps retired it was clear that he was burnt out on swimming. But for his entire adult life he has been Michael Phelps the world’s greatest swimmer, and the transition to being Michael Phelps ordinary guy had to be difficult. He was largely out of the public eye and living a private life.
This is a guy who holds Olympic records with 18 gold medals, 11 individual gold medals and 22 total medals. He’s one of the greatest competitors in sports history, and that switch can’t just be shut off.
Maybe Phelps wants to go back to being a superstar. I think more than ever it looks like he’ll be competing at the Rio Olympics.