Michael Phelps is unretiring, as we told you earlier today, and will likely swim in the Rio Olympics — although he hasn’t confirmed that last part. But really, if he doesn’t, what’s the point? Anyway, lest we forget, a TV sports co-anchor in Ft. Myers, FL, reported all this 11 months ago, and people basically laughed at him … including Phelps himself.
EXCLUSIVE: I have confirmed that Michael Phelps is planning a comeback. http://t.co/5zNAU2Yzzz
— Peter Busch (@peterbuschTV) May 17, 2013
So as it appears now, Phelps was probably planning this “comeback” the whole time — or leaning heavily toward it. Back then, however, he was quick to deny the entire thing.
Why do I keep getting texts about coming back? Do ppl really believe everything they hear or read? There are … http://t.co/tKAv9NvFrK
— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) May 18, 2013
Yes, sometimes people do. Because often it’s true.
But it’s fun to believe privileged athletes, and bash the media!
@MichaelPhelps Sadly, a large element of the population *does* believe everything they read. And usually, headlines, not the whole story.
— Heidi Solberg Viar (@DrumSgtBeaker) May 18, 2013
Well who’s laughing now, Drum Sgt. Beaker?
And we have our own Phelps retirement story to tell. Let’s enter the Wayback Machine, to July, 2013, when Phelps was being interviewed prior to his participation in the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe, NV.
TOURNEY PUBLICITY DIRECTOR PHIL WEIDINGER: “Let’s start this off. You’ve had a few months off. Are you thinking about Rio a few years from now?”
PHELPS: “I mean, really? We’re starting off with that question? Come on guys.”
Phelps seemed genuinely perturbed.
PHELPS: “I signed my retirement papers in London, and there are no plans. I’m enjoying my life away from swimming, and I’m finding life is very challenging: more so than when I was swimming, actually.”
Phelps went on to say that he was entering a new phase in his life: one in which golf would play a big role.
PHELPS: “I was flying in last night from the ESPYs, sitting with Ray Allen and Ahmad, and all we talked about is golf,” Phelps said. “What I did in swimming means a lot to me. I’ve done things no one else has ever done. I have 22 medals, but that does not define who I am.
“I try not to get caught up in all of that. There’s so much more that I want to accomplish.”
I then watched him play three rounds of golf over the next three days, and with each swing of the club it became more and more clear to me — and the squirrels that were dodging the balls he hit into the trees — that Phelps would be swimming in Rio in 2016. He hasn’t officially said that he would, but why get back into the pool if Rio isn’t the objective?
Moral of the story? Sometimes the media is right on these matters, and athletes will pretty much say anything to avoid uncomfortable questions. Also, Beaker is probably the best Muppet, but knows nothing of swimming or journalism.
READ: Michael Phelps Is No Longer Retired [SportsGrid]