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Michael Phelps Annoyingly Mum On Comeback

This guy again...

This guy again…

At the 2012 Olympics in London American swimmer Michael Phelps made history while swimming the anchor leg of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. With a nearly insurmountable lead going into the final leg, all he had to do was not disqualify and not drown for the U.S. to win gold in the event.

Not really a difficult pair of tasks to ask of the greatest Olympian of all time, which according to Sports Illustrated’s Michael Farber, Phelps is. The gold won by the U.S. team in that race was Phelps’ 19th, which broke the 48-year-old record held by former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

And he was just getting started. When all was said and done in the London pool, Phelps walked away with a total of 22 Olympic medals—18 of which were gold. A feat that was all but inconceivable just eight years prior, before he won an epic eight medals (six gold, two bronze) at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

Phelps had already achieved so much already when he definitively announced his impending retirement during the 2012 games; there was wasn’t really much to say that hadn’t already been said. His fourth-place finish in the 400m individual medley was certainly proof he no longer possessed the desire of gold medal winner Ryan Lochte. The time, it seemed, had come.

After losing to Lochte, Phelps admitted it was “Just a crappy race.” USA swimming coach Bob Bowman said that “was an accurate assessment” and added that “Ultimately, it was a fitness issue.” His heart was clearly not in it the way it once was, so it seemed like the perfect time to call it quits. Phelps was given a heroes sendoff, with a number of hyped interviews in the summer of ’12.

Honestly, it was quite refreshing too. It’s not that anyone wanted to see him go, but no one wants to see him compete at 60 percent either. Instead of taking a page from former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre’s school of “will he or won’t he retire,” Phelps was willing to step up and admit that his heart was no longer in it anymore. And if anyone taught us that it’s better to leave early than stay too late, it was Favre.

Unfortunately it seems that he may have just been setting up a solid excuse for not training for a couple of years, because all of a sudden Phelps is not so sure what the future holds. Quite a different story from the one he’s been telling for the last 12 months. At the world swimming championships in Barcelona on Monday he was asked by the AP if his mind had changed about competing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

Said Phelps: “I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. I don’t know. We’re in 2013 … There’s nothing in the works right now.” Apparently his agent (just recently) asked him where he wants to be in five years and Phelps said he’s “still in the process of putting everything down on paper.”

Wow. So one year after Phelps retires, his awesome agent decided to ask him what he had planned for the future. And since his answer was likely something along the lines of “uhhh…nothing,” suddenly Ryan Lochte looks like a freaking genius for routinely insisting Phelps would return to the pool at some point. Lochte…a genius??? The mind boggles.

Talk about annoying. Not only is Phelps backtracking on the retirement he announced in countless hyped interviews in 2012, he’s making Lochte, who has the reading comprehension skills of an underperforming fourth grader, look like clairvoyant in the process. There’s no questioning Phelps’ past greatness, but his legacy could really come into question if he undertakes a half-baked comeback just because he doesn’t know what else to do with himself.

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