On Sunday Phelps won the 200 meter Butterfly at Olympic qualifying; securing his 5th trip to the Olympic Games. This is an incredible feat considering most Olympic athletes only get 1 maybe 2 chances to go to the Olympics. Not 5. 5 Olympics is something I would expect from a archer or a sport that isn’t as physical. Swimming requires immense amount of dedication and endurance. It’s so physically demanding that you can’t make it with just talent; you put your all into it. I swam throughout high school so I know how hard it is on your body, and the workouts I did aren’t even half of what the Olympians go through.
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. With 22 medals, 18 of them being gold; he’s already had a completely full filled career. After the London Olympics in 2012 he had completed all of the goals he set out to do he retired in 2012. He assured us that he was done and would not return. This turned out not to be true as he returns for his 5th and possibly his final Olympics. Returning for another Olympics is not like returning for another season in the NBA or NFL you have to be committed to the sport for 4 more years. There is also no one there to bail you out if you have a bad day.
Phelps has grown up a lot in the last 4 years. He had a rough period after the London Olympics in which he got his second DUI. I think not having swimming or something to focus his energy and time on was not good for him. Now he’s a new father, has a fiance and is starting his real adult life. I think having a family of his own and people relying on him will help him to mature into adulthood.
Whether Phelps medals or not it doesn’t really matter. He’s already accomplished everything there is for Olympic swimmer. He’s made his country proud and his dominance is not something we will likely see again. Anything he does in Rio is extra and only adds to his legacy. We should all tune in to watch the greatest swimmer of all time compete in probably his last Olympics.