BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Is he or isn’t he? Michael Phelps took his first steps toward competing in the 2016 Olympics, but he isn’t saying whether he’ll compete in Rio.
Jessica Kartalija reports Phelps fans are all for it.
“I did everything that I really wanted to do, and that’s how I wanted to hang my suit up when I retired,” Phelps said.
That was July. Now, the 22-time Olympic medalist could be changing his tune. Phelps is re-joining the U.S. drug testing program, signaling a possible return to competition.
“I think it’s a little bit premature, but the steps are being taken. This is the first step that needs to happen if he’s thinking of getting back in the pool,” said John Maroon, Maroon PR.
Sports marketing expert John Maroon says from a PR perspective, Phelps, though older this time around, is in a good place.
“I still have a burning passion. I still want to compete, I still want to represent my country. Am I going to be the Michael Phelps from four, eight years ago? Maybe, maybe not,” Maroon said. “Historically, he’s still going to be just remembered as the greatest Olympian ever.”
Phelps and his teammates and coaches have remained pretty tight-lipped about the whole thing. Phelps has only said “nothing is set in stone.”
Phelps fans are all for it.
“If he really loves to do it, then that’s absolutely what he should do,” said Bogdan Filipchuk, Howard County.
“I think if he loves it, which it seems like he does, he should come back and start swimming,” said Mark Blair, Howard County.
Phelps is the winningest and most decorated athlete in Olympic history, best known for winning eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympic in Beijing.
“Look, the greatest Olympian of all time is from our hometown and we thought he was retired, and now, there’s a little chance that he might not be. No, get excited,” Maroon said.
And while nothing is official just yet, Phelps has been seen several times around Mount Washington where he trains.
Phelps has won 22 medals — 18 of them gold.
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