Phelps Aims for More Olympic Glory in London

Michael Phelps competes in the 100-meter butterfly at the Indianapolis Grand Prix swimming meet in Indianapolis on March 29, 2012.
Michael Phelps competes in the 100-meter butterfly at the Indianapolis Grand Prix swimming meet in Indianapolis on March 29, 2012.
Parke Brewer
LONDON — The first London Olympics gold medals in swimming will be awarded Saturday evening.  Most eyes will be on American Michael Phelps as he tries to add to his legacy.

In 2008 in Beijing, Michael Phelps became the first athlete to win eight gold medals at a single Olympic Games. Four years earlier at the Athens Olympics he won six gold and two bronze medals.

He plans to swim in seven events in London, and if he wins medals in three, he will break the all-time record for total Olympic medals of 18 held by former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

Phelps said at a news conference here it’s the media that is obsessed with his medal tally.

“You know, you guys are the ones that keep bringing the medal count up.  I’ve never once in my career said anything about medal counts.  You know I’m here to swim as fast as I can.  And if I do that, that’s all that matters.  Everything else will fall into place, and I know that.  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, the only person that I can control is myself.  So I’m going to get in the water and race as hard as I can, and if a record happens, it happens,” Phelps said.

Phelps did say it is hard for him to grasp his own incredible achievements in the pool.

“I don’t think everything I’ve done throughout my career has really set in.  But I think over time and, you know, once I retire everything will start to set in more and more, and it will mean a lot more,” Phelps said.

  • US swimmer Michael Phelps poses after receiving the trophy of the greatest olympic athlete of all time after winning gold in the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012 in London.
  • London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012 in London. Phelps brought his Olympic swimming career to a close in style, winning a record 18th gold medal as the United States stormed to victory in the 4x100m medley relay.
  • US swimmer Michael Phelps (C) reacts with teammates Brendan Hansen, Nathan Adrian and Matthew Grevers after they competed in the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the swimming event at the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 4, 2012 in London.
  • Michael Phelps of the U.S. swims the butterfly leg of the men's 4x100m medley relay final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre August 4, 2012.
  • Michael Phelps of the U.S. celebrates winning gold in the men's 100m butterfly final during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre, August 3, 2012.
  • United States' Michael Phelps displays his gold medal for the men's 100-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
  • United States' Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal for the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 31, 2012.
  • From left, Michael Phelps, Conor Dwyer, Ricky Berens and Ryan Lochte pose with their gold medals for the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in London, July 31, 2012.
  • Michael Phelps competes in the men's 4x200-meter freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 31, 2012.
  • Michael Phelps waits to receive his silver medal for the men's 200-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 31, 2012.
  • Michael Phelps displays his eighth gold medal after the men's 4x100-meter medley relay final at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
  • Michael Phelps competes in the 100-meter butterfly at the Indianapolis Grand Prix swimming meet in Indianapolis, March 29, 2012.
  • Michael Phelps and his mother Debbie Phelps attend the Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection during Fashion Week in New York, February 8, 2012.
  • Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps posing in the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool in Long Beach, Calif. (Jan 2008 file photo)

His longtime coach Bob Bowman sat next to Phelps in the packed news conference and was asked what makes Michael so special.

“Perhaps his greatest attribute is his psychological ability to focus under pressure and ability to use his emotional energy wisely,” Bowman said.

Phelps will have to use that energy wisely in his opening event at these Olympics - the grueling 400-meter individual medley, which includes all four strokes - back, butterfly, breast and freestyle.  His biggest challenger in that race is expected to be teammate Ryan Lochte, who beat Phelps in two events at last year’s World Championships.

This is Lochte’s third Summer Games and he has won six Olympic medals - three gold, one silver and two bronze.  

Lochte said he cannot be focused on just beating Phelps.

“Michael’s just one person.  There’s a bunch of other swimmers across the world that I’ve got to worry about.  So I mean I’m just doing what I normally do and I race.  And I am just going to go up on the blocks and race and have fun.  If Michael’s right there with me, then he’s right there with me.  But I can’t just rely on just one person,” Lochte said.

The new sensation for the U.S. swimming team is Missy Franklin.  She qualified for four individual events at only 17 years old - the 100- and 200-meter backstroke and 100- and 200-meter freestyle -- and she’s also expected to swim in relay races.

She said she’s had a hard time channeling her energy at her first Olympics.

“It’s been so much fun.  The day we first got here and we had all our uniforming [getting Team USA Olympic uniforms], I was literally going off the walls.  I was running around and like giving everyone hugs.  And it’s definitely hard to control that energy but I know that I need to do that and keep that energy conserved for when it really matters which is right before I race,” Franklin said.

USA Swimming believes it has a strong team at these Olympics, which will try to prove it is the best in the world over eight days of finals.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sar from: EUC
July 27, 2012 3:15 PM
hey, British... no one cares...!!! NO ONE

by: Tseten from: Toronto
July 27, 2012 1:05 PM
Will Micheal Phelps again get 8 gold medal? and will India get one or two golds? India having a population of over one billion Indians and the gold medal is hardly won? When will India transform?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs