Michael Phelps dropped the 200-meter freestyle from his London Olympics swimming schedule, leaving him with a shot at one fewer gold medal than the record eight he won in Beijing in 2008.
Phelps said in a telephone interview that he will skip the 200 freestyle to focus on other events, as his coach, Bob Bowman, had posted on his Twitter account moments before. Phelps won the event at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials on June 27, beating Ryan Lochte by five-hundredths of a second.
“The biggest thing we wanted to do is make sure that we could compete at a high level with a lot of events,” Phelps said. “After this week, thinking about everything that will be there in London with possibly adding three relays, we just want the best shot at doing the best that we can with the events that we have.”
Phelps, whose 14 Olympic gold medals are the most in history, will race in four individual events in London -- the 100- and 200-meter butterfly and the 200- and 400-meter individual medley -- and make himself available for the three relays.
Bowman said on Twitter that Phelps would have a “full slate of seven events,” meaning he would race in all three relays -- the 400- and 800-meter freestyle and 400-meter medley.
“It’s all just based off of the schedule,” Phelps said. “I have an extra day to recover after the IM and really prepare for the 400 free relay and the 200 fly as well. It just really gives me more time to recover.”
‘Support the Dream’
Phelps was speaking in his role as a spokesman for Hilton Worldwide Inc.’s “Support the Dream” program that funds Olympic training centers when fans post good-luck messages on its website. He said he hadn’t changed his mind that London would be his fourth and final Olympics.
“There are things outside of the water that I want to do,” said Phelps, who turned 27 two days ago. “‘I just told myself I never want to swim past the age of 30 and that’s the biggest thing for me. Enough is enough.”