Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps vowed to do another eight gold medals in 2012, a repeating the media frenzy he caused four years ago in Beijing. Unfortunately, Phelps won’t be repeating the winning-streak that made him famous this time around, because he can’t win all that gold by pulling out of events last minute.
On Monday, Phelps withdrew from the U.S. team in the 200 men’s freestyle. He had previously qualified for eight events in the Olympic trials, and promised to take the gold in each event. Today, his coach, Bob Bowman, announced via Twitter that the celebrity swimmer would be withdrawing from one of his needed-eight.
“This will give him a full slate of 7 events,” Bowman wrote. “This change will allow him to focus more energy on relays for Team USA.”
Ryan Lochte, Phelps’ rival in the games, also qualifies for up to seven events in London. Thus far, they have raced each other in four finals, with Phelps winning three, notes the Times.
When asked previously if Phelps could perform better this time, Bowman batted the question carefully, reports USA Today. “It depends on what better is,” he said, smiling slyly. “He can become the most decorated Olympian of all time, which he couldn’t do last time. He could be the first man to win an event three times, at least three chances to do that, which no one has ever done. He could take his gold medal count to a level I don’t know if anyone could touch it. It might be there already. So there are plenty of things he could do.”
Well, whatever Phelps is going to do, a repeat of his success four years ago is off the table now.