As I’m sure you’re aware Michael Phelps was unable to win the 400 meter individual medley (I.M.) as he did in Beijing, and that’s putting it mildly. Whilst he wasn’t certain to win it, before the race all the commentators were talking about was whether it would be him or Ryan Lochte that got gold, and whichever one didn’t was expected to get silver. So it’s fair to say that it came as quite a shock when Phelps didn’t even make the podium, finishing 4th whilst Lochte eased his way to 1st place and the gold medal.
Phelps was surprisingly honest about his performance and didn’t try to make excuses; he told the BBC afterwards that “It was just a crappy race.” This one race in my opinion isn’t the talking point. I think the talking point is whether we should expect this in all his remaining races or whether it was just a blip.
Personally I think it was just a blip, it’s well known that the 400 I.M. is his least favourite event, where as Lochte is the world champion for it (and now the Olympic champion), and it’s likely that no matter how hard he tried that Phelps would never be as motivated as Lochte in this event if he dislikes it. Phelps actually said he was no longer going to swim in that event anymore after his gold medal in Beijing, and he didn’t swim it again until the Olympic trials this June. So he clearly wasn’t as prepared as Lochte.
Furthermore this was a 400 meter event, which whilst Phelps is more than capable of swimming it, he is stronger in 200 meter events and that is where most of his medals come from. “I felt fine the first 200, then I don’t know.” I think that this comment after the race proves that had it been a 200 meter I.M. then the outcome may have been different. We shall find out whether or not I am correct on Thursday when the pair will compete in the 200 meter I.M.
My opinion is that Phelps had a bad day, and he had that bad day during his worst race, yet he still managed to achieve 4th. He may be disappointed with this but I think that if he has a good day during his stronger events and swims his best, then he will win. So to conclude, although this is his last Olympics I still expect Phelps to go out with a bang. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t win a few gold medals at London 2012 (You heard it here first). Phelps already has the most Olympic gold medals of all time (with 12 so far), but he is four off the record for the most Olympic medals of all time, that record is held by Soviet Gymnast Larissa Latynina (with 18). Whether or not Phelps can break this record remains to be seen, I think he can. But what do you think? Leave your comments and opinions below.