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Michael Phelps rejoins US drug-testing program, sets himself up to compete in Rio Olympics

Michael-Phelps-London-OlympicsMichael Phelps has rejoined the US drug-testing program, which is the strongest hint we have seen to date that the 22-time Olympic medalist may have his sights set on the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The United States Anti-Doping Agency recently revealed that Phelps was drug-tested twice during the program’s third quarter, which stretched from July 1 to Sept. 30.

By submitting to the testing, Phelps has himself in position to be eligible for competition as early March of 2014. FINA, the world governing body for swimming, requires athletes to submit to drug tests for a nine-month span before competing in FINA events. Phelps could potentially compete in the 2014 US national championships.

More importantly, it now seems likely that Phelps is eyeing Rio. Bob Bowman, Phelps’ coach, told USA Today Sports on Thursday that we should not consider the world record holder a lock for the 2016 Olympics just yet.

“It’s premature to say that,” Bowman said. “What we’re doing is kind of letting him have his options. He came back this fall and started to do some training with the group, mainly just to get in shape. He just felt like he was not fit. He wasn’t.

“He’s occasionally been training. He’s picked it up a little more. We were just thinking about it, and I said, ‘You know, you’re getting in pretty good shape, maybe you want to swim in a meet?’ He said, ‘Well, maybe at some point.'”

Bowman tried to downplay Phelps decision to rejoin the program by saying he didn’t “like how he felt” physically, but it would be hard to believe that there is not more to it than that. Phelps has repeatedly denied rumors that he intends to swim in Rio, though teammate Ryan Lochte insisted it is only a matter of time before the most decorated Olympian in history begins training again. Phelps is only 28. There are very few of us who believe he is actually retired — no matter how much he loves playing poker.

Michael Phelps and girlfriend Win McMurry cozy up at ESPYs

Michael Phelps girlfriend Win McMurry

Michael Phelps brought a familiar face as his date for the ESPYs. For those who are unfamiliar, the stunning blonde by his side at the awards show was Golf Channel reporter Win McMurry. The two were sitting next to each other for the show, and McMurry had her arm tucked inside the Olympic swimmer’s.

This is not the first time the two have gone out in public together. Phelps actually caddied for McMurry at the PGA Tour Wives Golf Classic at the Players in May:

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Ryan Lochte: We all know Michael Phelps is coming back

Ryan-Lochte-Michael-Phelps-OlympicsDoes Ryan Lochte believe in reverse psychology? At this point, I’m starting to think that is what he’s trying to pull off with respect to Michael Phelps and his future.

If Phelps does not compete at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil, Lochte would conceivably have less competition swimming against him in the pool. Phelps insists he has retired from swimming and has no intention of making a comeback, but for whatever reason Lochte refuses to buy it. He reiterated his stance on Monday.

“I think we all know by now that he’s coming back,” Lochte told USA Today Sports after a workout for world championship trials. “I don’t think it’s really a surprise. It’s just a matter of when is he going to get back in the full swing of training.”

Maybe Lochte thinks continuously saying Phelps is coming back will convince him to stay retired so he can prove Lochte wrong. That way, Lochte can be the star of the show in Rio like he is on his ridiculous reality show. Phelps’ trainer, Bob Bowman, said he has been given no indication that the most decorated Olympian in history is planning to continue his swimming career.

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Bowman said. “He’s really enjoying himself. He’s playing a lot of golf and I think he’s in good place as a person, and that’s real important to me, because he had a hard four years. I think it was tough on him. As far as the comeback, I think I’ll be the first to know, and I don’t know anything.”

Phelps is only 27, so a comeback cannot be ruled out entirely. It’s not as if he is too old to continue training. Either Lochte knows something we don’t, or he’s just playing a game with his US Swimming partner. Either way, it’s kind of annoying.

Michael Phelps makes World Series of Poker debut

Michael-Phelps-London-OlympicsMichael Phelps insists he is retired from Olympic competition, which gives him plenty of free time to pursue one of his other passions. Phelps likes to gamble, and there have been several stories over the past few years about him participating in high stakes poker tournaments. Earlier this week, he finally decided it’s time to try his hand at the World Series of Poker.

According to Card Player, Phelps bought into a $5,000 no-limit hold ‘em tournament at the WSOP on Wednesday.

“It’s kind of weird,” Phelps told Card Player. “I wasn’t even going to play today. I just wanted to come over and see everything and somehow these guys talked me into playing. Antonio [Esfandiari] and JG (Jeff Gross) told me we should just throw in a buy-in and see what happens at your first World Series event.”

Last year, a report surfaced that claimed Phelps won $100,000 playing cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, though the 27-year-old later denied it. He would, however, love to capture a WSOP bracelet.

“I’ve never been out here [before] and all these guys always seem like they’re having so much fun when they play,” he added. “If I ever win a bracelet before [they] do, they’re going to be really pissed. So we’ll see what happens.”

Despite the fact that he has more money than he knows what to do with, some of Phelps’ friends have reportedly expressed concerns over his love for gambling. His decision to enter into the WSOP should do nothing to ease their anxieties.

Michael Phelps refutes report saying he will make comeback

Michael-Phelps-London-OlympicsMichael Phelps tweeted on Friday to refute a report that said he would be making a comeback to the swimming pool for the 2016 Olympics.

Peter Busch of NBC 2 News in Southwest Florida reported on Friday that “Phelps is planning a return to competitive swimming.”

Busch says Phelps “had a change of heart recently and will try to make the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.”

Phelps’ phone must have been blowing up after that with people wondering if the report was true. He responded by tweeting the following:

“Why do I keep getting texts about coming back? Do ppl really believe everything they hear or read? There are to many ppl in the world that think they have a “story”…”

I have no idea who Busch’s sources are or where he’s getting his information, but I wouldn’t dismiss his report.

When athletes have just lost a big event or completed a competition that required extensive training, they can feel worn out. Sometimes all they need is a break to recharge and change their mind. Maybe that’s the case for Phelps.

Phelps said in March that he loves being retired, but Ryan Lochte said last December that he thought Phelps would be back for Rio. We’ll see what happens.

Photo credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Michael Phelps appears to have a new girlfriend, and she’s a huge Ravens fan

Michael Phelps girlfriend Ami

Michael Phelps appears to have a new girlfriend, and the young lady is also a huge Baltimore Ravens fan.

Phelps’ dating life has been a topic of speculation for years. Ever since breaking up with ex-girlfriend Megan Rossee last year, there have been a lot of questions about whom the Olympic hero is dating. We think we have the answer.

[Related: Michael Phelps and girlfriend Win McMurry at the ESPYs]

In case you’re new to the story, Phelps went public with Rossee, a model, during the London Olympics. The two had been dating for about five months as of last August, but they reportedly had broken up as of December.

Then in February, a girl named Sarah Herndon divulged her story of hooking up with Phelps in what seemed like an attempt to gain publicity. She says he invited her to attend the Super Bowl with him, but she turned him down because of a prior engagement. It looks like that’s where she lost him to his new girl.

So here’s the story.

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Michael Phelps reportedly spending time with ex-girlfriend Caroline Pal

There have been so many rumors about Michael Phelps and the dating scene over the past several years that we have officially begun recycling old girlfriends. Phelps is 27 years old and has already basically called it a career. He has more money than he knows what to do with and time is on his side. According to the NY Post’s Page Six, Phelps was recently spotted spending time with his ex-girlfriend Caroline Pal.

Phelps and Pal were reportedly seen at a lounge in Las Vegas having a grand old time together.

Monday night, the swimmer was seen cozying up with his ex Caroline “Caz” Pal at Lily Bar & Lounge at the Bellagio. Our spy said, ‘They were laughing and watching basketball. They were very flirtatious, enjoying drinks at a private table.’ They watched a game, left for a while, and came back for another game and more drinks. They left together and ‘seemed to be having a lot of fun.’

Uh oh. What about that girl he met in Cabo that was so anxious to spill all of the intimate details of her relationship with the 18-time Olympic gold medalist? Perhaps that “relationship” was exactly what it sounded like — a fling that began on vacation. Phelps reportedly broke up with ex-girlfriend Megan Rossee around Christmas time, and it sounds like he has been enjoying the single life since.

His meeting with Pal in Vegas was probably no exception. Phelps began dating Pal shortly after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when he met her while she was working as a cocktail waitress in Sin City. He supposedly later took her to meet his family in Baltimore, which seems to be his signature move. Simply put, this dude has the world by the, well, you know.

Photo credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE