Michael Phelps did not ‘prepare’ for London, still won four golds
Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian ever as he has won 22 medals over three Olympiads. Phelps won five golds and six medals at the 2004 Summer Games in Athens; a whopping eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing; and he pulled in four golds and two silvers at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Though most athletes would be ecstatic about winning six medals — including four golds — at an Olympiad, London was considered a down Olympics for Phelps. Yet the Baltimore born swimmer says he won those six medals in London without even preparing.
“In my eyes London wasn’t that great. I didn’t prepare for it,” Phelps said in an interview with NBC’s Bob Costas. “Prior to London, I hated [swimming/training]. I wanted nothing to do with the sport. I was pushing so many people away. I just wanted it to be over.”
What Phelps said next will probably drive most swimmers crazy.
“I basically [won six medals] off of pure talent. I did very, very minimal work. The last year leading into London I worked pretty hard, but the other three years I just joked around. I would miss a week or two weeks here or there and I didn’t care. That was the bottom of everything I had in reserve.
“I almost won the 200 fly without any training.”
Can you imagine a swimmer who worked and trained hard almost every day for three or four years being beaten out by a guy who says he barely prepared? That’s what it’s like going up against Phelps.
But the news only gets worse for Phelps’ competition in Rio; the swimmer says he’s at his best entering these Summer Games.
“This time around I wanted to do it the right way and this was the only way I was going to come back. I don’t think I’ve ever competed at 100 percent,” Phelps told Costas.
In comparing himself at his current state to when he was younger, Phelps says he believes he is now mentally and physically stronger than he ever has been. That new mental toughness did not come without a price though, as Phelps did encounter some legal trouble a few years ago.