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Ryan Lochte thinks Phelps is coming back soon

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Despite all the rumors that swimming legend Michael Phelps will return to the pool for one more go at the Rio Games, he seems to be pretty content spending his first year of retirement golfing with the likes of his idol, Michael Jordan.

But Phelps’s friend and top-rival Ryan Lochte said he thinks it’s just a matter of time before Phelps gets the itch to dive back into competition.

“Michael Phelps is the hardest racer I ever went up against,” Lochte, an eleven-time Olympic medalist, told the Indo-Asian News Service Wednesday in Vancouver. “What he’s done for this sport of swimming is tremendous. I hope he comes back in. I think he will. I know he will. It’s just a matter of time and when. I know he will.”

Lochte wouldn’t actually say whether or not he’s talked to Phelps about a possible comeback, but instead Lochte just claimed he had a sixth sense about it: “I can’t say. I just have a feeling. I’ll just leave it at that. I have a feeling he’ll come back…” adding that the sport is better with Phelps around.

“The friendship that we’ve developed throughout the years of racing each other and the rivalry it’s one of the biggest in the sport and we had a lot of fun doing it. So I definitely hope he comes back because in a way he pushed me and I pushed him… it was definitely great for the sport.”

Three-time Olympic gold medalist and NBC swimming analyst Rowdy Gaines is also pretty confident Phelps will be back soon, even after he became the most decorated Olympian in history. But Gaines thinks Phelps wants to make the announcement on his own terms, if at all.

“I know he has 80,000 gold medals already,” Gaines told MyDesert.com. “But still, you don’t want to have that eating at you. ‘What if I would have come back? What if I would have made one last run?’ Especially if he still has the desire to compete.”

Lindsey Vonn wins No. 76 in biggest rout of her comeback

Lindsey Vonn
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Lindsey Vonn gapped the field like never before during her comeback, and never before away from her favorite course in Canada, running away with a World Cup downhill by 1.51 seconds in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, on Saturday.

Vonn notched her 76th World Cup victory, moving 10 behind the record held by retired Swede Ingemar Stenmark.

“Every win for me is more special than the last,” Vonn said.

She’s won by larger margins three times in her World Cup career — by 1.95, 1.73 and 1.68 seconds, all at her favorite downhill course in Lake Louise, Alberta, and all before her February 2013 World Championships crash and two major right knee surgeries that kept her from defending her Olympic downhill title in Sochi.

Swiss Fabienne Suter was second Saturday, followed by German Viktoria Rebensburg. Full results are here.

Swiss Lara Gut placed 14th, which meant Vonn increased her lead from 45 points to 127 points in the standings for the World Cup overall title, the biggest prize in the sport this season with no World Championships or Olympics.

That race will likely not be decided until the World Cup Finals in a little more than one month.

Vonn won her ninth World Cup race this season, matching her total from 2008-09, the campaign that set her up to be the Alpine skiing star of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic season. Her best total was 12 from the 2011-12 season.

Vonn has won 11 of her last 12 World Cup starts in speed races (downhill and super-G) and can clinch her eighth World Cup downhill season title in the next downhill in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, next Saturday.

That would break her tie with Austrian legend Annemarie Moser-Pröll for most titles in one discipline by a female skier. It would match the record for all skiers with Stenmark, who took eight giant slalom and eight slalom titles.

But first Vonn will try to inch closer to Stenmark’s wins record in a Garmisch-Partenkirchen super-G on Sunday (4:45 a.m. ET, NBC Sports Live Extra).

MORE: U.S. Olympian podiums in first race on 2018 Olympic course

Amanda Kessel ‘dream come true’ in University of Minnesota return

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Olympic silver medalist Amanda Kessel recorded two assists in her first game in nearly two years, coming back from a concussion for the University of Minnesota on Friday night.

“I think I’d regret it if I didn’t get back to this point,” Kessel said after a 3-0 win over North Dakota, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “It’s pretty much a dream come true.”

Kessel, 24, last played in the Sochi Olympic gold-medal game and then sat out nearly two years with symptoms from a concussion reportedly suffered before the Winter Games. Coach Brad Frost said in July that Kessel wouldn’t play this season, ending her college career.

But in August, new doctors gave Kessel hope she would play again.

On Friday, she skated on the Golden Gophers’ top line after the school’s medical staff got second and third opinions before clearing her to play, according to the newspaper.

“If I was going to get back to playing, I was going to be 100 percent healthy and be able to get in there,” Kessel said, according to the Pioneer Press. “I felt great being able to get in corners and get hit and stuff like that.”

Kessel, the 2012-13 NCAA Player of the Year for the undefeated national champion, said she wasn’t 100 percent in “game shape” and that she felt like a rookie, but that she’s ready to challenge herself in the final month and a half of her senior season.

“I don’t think I’ve heard it that loud since we won the national championship here [on March 22],” Minnesota coach Brad Frost said. “So many people were just so excited to see her work her way back to where she is now.”

MORE: How Amanda Kessel became a star for U.S. hockey team