It looks like history would not repeat itself this time round for Michael Phelps. The American swimmer has decided to drop out from the 200-meter freestyle event. This also means that he would not be able to attain the eight gold medals like he previously did four years ago in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. However, the 14-time gold medalist is contended and at peace with his decision on going for just seven.
“Four years ago, we were trying to literally do everything. That was what we wanted to do but at this point, it’s let’s go out, let’s have some fun, let’s relax a little bit,” stated Phelps in an interview on Monday with The Associated Press. On Monday, which was the final day of the U.S. trials, Bob Bowman, his coach, came out to announced the decision for Michael to pull out of the 200-meter freestyle.
It’s so much smarter for me to do that. We’re not trying to recreate what happened in Beijing. It just makes more sense,” said Phelps. So far, he has qualified in five individual events for London. He is also expected to participate in all three of the team relays. However, Bob has suggested to Michael to focus on the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 100 and 200 butterfly. “This is an event program that I’m very confident that I can do and do better than I did here,” Phelps claimed with reference to his results in Omaha.
Michael Phelps is aware that the 400m freestyle relay is going to be a toughest hurdle to overcome due to a strong French side. Aside from that, it has been scheduled on the same day as the preliminaries and semifinals of the 200 freestyle. However, because he has dropped out of the 200-meter freestyle, he will have more energy to allocate for the relay. Unfortunately, there are still quite a number of preliminaries and semifinals that he will have to go through. Although, he will be giving up his 200-meter freestyle Olympics title and a chance to regain back the world record, he will still have an opportunity to three-peat in his other four individual races. There has not yet been a swimmer who has won the same event in three straight Olympics. Michael Phelps could be the very first to make history in that.
The 27 year old has also confirmed that it will be his last Olympics and he will head for retirement after this. “I won’t be coming back. Put it on record,” he said.