Remember when swimming legend Michael Phelps said this in Barcelona last year:
“I have no plans to do anything. I love what I’m doing now. I’m able to travel so much, play golf. I’m on my own schedule,” he told the press.
“I’ve never been able to have that. I’ve never been able to do really whatever I want to do. I go wherever I want to go. I see whatever I want to see. It’s nice waking up at 10, 11, 12 o’clock in the afternoon. I’m pretty lazy besides playing golf. I don’t do much.”
Boy, what a difference a year makes, because now Phelps has totally changed his position.
At least that’s what his coach Bob Bowman says, because the swimmer took the first step to competing again by entering the anti-drug program, and if things go as planned, Phelps will be competing in the 2015 World Championships, but he also might be able to race as early as this summer.
“If he swims a meet in the next couple of months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine,” said Bowman. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”
And according to Bowman, the 28 year old Maryland native looks like he hasn’t lost a step, at least not physically. “He looks like he is definitely in shape,” said his coach.
But will Phelps be ready mentally? Because anyone who’s played organized sports in the past knows that competing is often about overcoming some sort of psychological challenge, especially if you’ve been away from your sport for a long time.
If you wanted to, you could compare Phelps to basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, since he too dominated his sport for a long time, then retired, only to come back and play some more.
Of course Jordan wasn’t the same player that he was during his heyday, but he still proved to the younger players that he could compete, and Phelps admires that about him, he said, among other things.
“I think one of the coolest things that I loved about him was it didn’t matter what he had going on off the court or if he was sick or this [or] that,” said Phelps.
“He never used an excuse. He came out every single night on the court and did what he had to do to get his job done. That’s what champions do. It doesn’t matter what else is going on when you walk in to your arena, whatever you excel at, you’re there to take care of the job that you have to do.”
Image via Wikimedia Commons