Olympics: Phelps looks ahead to 2012
LONDON ó Look out London, Michael Phelps is coming to the 2012 Games and he’s thinking about adding events to his repertoire.
“I am looking forward to trying some new events, some events I’ve never really had the opportunity to swim since my schedule is always so crowded,” Phelps said Sunday while taking part in the British capital’s handover celebrations.
Phelps, fresh from the Beijing Olympics where he won a record eight gold medals, said he’s never competed in a backstroke event at a major international meet or in the 100-meter freestyle.
“No breaststroke, no distance swimming, no open water swimming,” Phelps said. “At least those guys will still be my friends.”
The 23-year-old American also confirmed that the 2012 games will be his last Olympics.
“I’ve never wanted to go beyond 30,” he said. “I may go a few years beyond the Olympics. I said to my coach, ‘Don’t get any ideas because I don’t want to compete beyond 30,’ and he said, ‘That’s good because I don’t want to coach you past the age of 30.”‘
Phelps has said Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are the two superstars he’d most like to meet following his exploits in China, and he could be emulating one of them already.
Woods took time at the pinnacle of his career to remodel his swing to renew his dominance, and Phelps is speaking of completely switching the training program he has followed for the past decade.
Phelps said the changes suggested by coach Bob Bowman could help rejuvenate him mentally and physically after what he described as the most grueling period of his life.
“Bob said to me that he’s going to take everything he’s done coaching me and throw it out the door and try something completely different, just to see how it works,” Phelps said. “We’ll try a bunch of new things. If we’re successful, great. If not, we can go back to what we’ve been doing.”
Only a supremely confident athlete would contemplate moving away from a program that has brought a record 14 Olympic gold medals, an unprecedented eight at one games and the unofficial title of history’s greatest swimmer.
But “confident” sums up Phelps pretty well.
Despite arriving in London late Saturday, Phelps posed good-naturedly with one of his medals through 10 minutes of blinding camera flashes ó adopting each of the artificial poses requested of him with an easy manner and enthusiasm.
Phelps said he was enjoying his celebrity status, but deflected suggestions that the rock star treatment could distract him from being as dominant in 2012 as he was in 2008.
“If you’re having fun, that’s really all that matters,” Phelps said. “You can still do everything and still be successful. You can do anything and everything. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over last four years is that anything’s possible.
“I’ve had some pretty lofty dreams in my head. Those dreams and those goals are going to stay until they’re accomplished,” Phelps added. “It’s not going to be easy getting there, there are going to be some bumps in the road here and there, but everyone has bumps in the road and it depends how you get over them.”