London, July 22: Laid-back American swimming champion Michael Phelps says the passion is back, and he hopes to emerge from the London Olympics as the most decorated Olympian of all time.
He needs to win just three medals to surpass Larisa Latynina Olympic record of 18 set between 1956 and 1964. Swimming has been Phelps‘s life as well but, at 27, he is getting ready to walk away and is determined not to let anxiety, or the expectation of others, spoil the farewell party in London.
The American reckons it would be “kinda cool to rewrite history”, as he has done, one way or another, at every Olympics he has attended since Sydney 2000.
For the record, Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won 18 medals, including nine gold, five silver and four bronze) in consecutive Games between 1956 and 1964.
Phelps is, after all, already the greatest swimmer in history, of that there can be no statistical doubt. Eight of his 16 Olympic medals came in an adrenaline gold rush in Beijing four years ago, although life has been much tougher since.
Preparations for his farewell Olympics have hardly been smooth.
Phelps thinks he can do it, although he affects calmness bordering on indifference. “I know it won`t be eight medals again,” he says, confirming the obvious, as he has been entered in only four events – the 200m and 400m individual medley, as well as the 100m and 200m fly – and can feature in a maximum of three relays. Agencies