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.”
David Ortiz called his good friend Aly Raisman on Thursday night. Raisman had one request for their scheduled meeting for Friday.
“I told him that he had to hold my medals while I threw out the first pitch,” Raisman said on NESN. “I told him he better not forget, but he remembered.”
Ortiz made it a highlight, wearing Raisman’s three Rio medals and plodding as if they were weighing him down before the Royals-Red Sox game at Fenway Park on Friday night.
It was reminiscent of Bryce Harper serving as a medal rack for Katie Ledecky on Wednesday night.
Ortiz and Raisman have come to know each other in the last four years, after Raisman’s first Olympic appearance in London. Raisman, a native of Needham, Massachusetts, has attended a gala and golf tournament benefitting Ortiz’s children’s charity.
She previously threw a first pitch at Fenway following the 2012 London Games. It didn’t faze Raisman that her pitch Friday bounced before reaching home plate.
“My pitch was horrible, but that’s OK,” Raisman said on NESN. “I’m good at gymnastics, so it doesn’t matter.”
Raisman will rejoin her Final Five teammates for a USA Gymnastics tour of 36 cities that begins Sept. 15. Whether she returns to competitive gymnastics is unknown.
MORE: Gymnastics royalty reacts to Biles and Raisman’s Olympic heroics
Claressa Shields may just be the most dominant female athlete on the planet. The Flint, Mich., native is now a two-time Olympic boxing champion with a 77-1 record and a four-year unbeaten streak.
Actor Mark Wahlberg, who played boxer Micky Ward in the 2010 film “The Fighter,” took notice.
He taped a video that Shields watched before a celebration in her hometown Thursday, according to the Flint Journal.
“You are the true definition of a champion,” Wahlberg said. “You continue to inspire so many people, not only in Flint, but all over the world. I’m so proud of you. Your performance was amazing. God bless you. I look forward to seeing you, and I look forward to doing lots of things with you.”
Now Shields must decide whether to turn professional, which would end her Olympic career.
“Professional women’s boxing is not nowhere near on the same attention level as the Olympics are,” the 21-year-old Shields said, according to the Flint Journal. “I get way more attention than any female boxer who is professional right now with me being an amateur.
“So the goal is to go professional but still have that same attention and same mainstream. Hopefully, if they have the rule changed that the women professionals can come back and fight the Olympics, I would go professional to fight on TV and make a bunch of money but then come back and defend my two gold medals in 2020.”
MORE: Shields becomes first U.S. fighter to win back-to-back golds