Sports

Phelps Downplays Teammate’s Comments On Work Ethic

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Michael Phelps

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Michael Phelps has talked with Tyler Clary after his Olympic teammate questioned his work ethic and isn’t worried about what anyone says.

“For me right now the only thing I’m worried about is myself and preparing myself to go out and represent my country and step up and wear the stars and stripes and try to swim as fast as I can,” Phelps said Thursday at media day for the U.S. Olympic swimming team. “There’s nothing else that needs to be said about it.”

Phelps will compete in seven events at the London Games. Phelps originally wasn’t going to talk to reporters Thursday before stopping to take two questions on his way from the pool at the University of Tennessee. And he knew at least one would be about Clary’s comments to The Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., on Monday.

Clary told the newspaper that he works harder than Phelps and sees the 14-time Olympic gold medalist as somebody ready to be beaten because of Phelps’ lack of preparation. He swam at Michigan when Phelps was taking classes and training at the university for the Beijing Games. Clary missed the 2008 Olympic team.

“The fact that he doesn’t have to work as hard to get that done, it’s a real shame,” Clary told the newspaper. “I think it’s
too bad. … I think the things he could have done if he’d worked as hard as I do would have been even more incredible than what he has pulled off.”

Clary, a first-time Olympian, said Thursday he regretted creating a distraction and should have kept his comments focused on himself. He said he spoke to Phelps and there are no hard feelings.

“It was more of a relief to me to make sure that he knew that’s not how I feel about him,” Clary said.

Bob Bowman, Phelps’ long-time coach, laughed when asked if he put Clary up to making those comments. The coach said there wasn’t much reaction with Phelps just focusing on what he’s doing.

A year ago, Clary won silver in the 400 individual medley at the world championships in Shanghai. Phelps and Ryan Lochte are the two Americans in that event in London, part of a showdown Lochte compared to Michael Jordan versus Magic Johnson.

The comparison raises the question who is Jordan?

“We’ll have to decide that after this Olympics,” Lochte said.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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