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Michael Phelps repeats he has no comeback plans

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Michael Phelps says he’s still retired, despite recent reports insinuating a comeback before the Rio Olympics and more definite comments from Ryan Lochte.

Phelps, the 22-time Olympic medalist who turned 28 on Sunday, told the Baltimore Sun he hasn’t thought about unretiring.

His comments to the newspaper were more concrete than his previous statements at a California speaker series event and in an interview with a German outlet.

Panda Express helps boy realize Make A Wish to meet Phelps

“Man, people will believe anything that’s written, anything that’s on TV,” Phelps said. “There’s nothing in the works with me coming back to swimming. This is a part of my life I’m enjoying. I’ve never had freedom like this. I live on my own time. I play golf three or four times a week. I wake up whenever I want. I have a few things to do here and there, but mostly my time is mine. I’m not thinking about changing that.”

At last week’s swimming nationals, Lochte reiterated his stance that Phelps will return and make a bid for a fifth Olympic Games in 2016.

“I think we all know by now that he’s coming back,” Lochte told USA Today. “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.”

Phelps’ coach, Bob Bowman, had a different view.

“As far as the comeback, I think I’ll be the first to know, and I don’t know anything,” he told USA Today.

Phelps has two years left before he would have to re-enter the drug-testing pool for a Rio comeback, but at this point, his comments to the Baltimore Sun make that nothing more than a dream.

“Honestly, I haven’t thought about it,” he said. “I want to help grow the sport, and there are other ways to do it. My life, the way it is now, is great.”

Mikaela Shiffrin wrestles with doubt in seconds before World Cup downhill debut

Mikaela Shiffrin, of the United States, skis during the third training run for the World Cup women's downhill ski race in Lake Louise, Alberta, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press via AP)
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After a momentary panic in the start house, Mikaela Shiffrin raced to a tie for 18th in the first downhill of her World Cup career in Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Shiffrin, the youngest Olympic slalom champion who has also won a World Cup giant slalom, has been slowly adding the speed events of super-G and downhill to her repertoire the last two seasons.

“It wasn’t bad,” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com. “I certainly didn’t risk anything crazy.”

Her result Friday, 1.99 seconds behind Slovenian winner Ilka Stuhec, came after Shiffrin was 18th, 24th and 30th fastest in downhill training runs the previous three days. Shiffrin also had to wait several minutes in the start house as the racer before her crashed (video here).

“That was just a bummer,” Shiffrin said, according to the Denver Post. “I was like, ‘Just don’t let it affect you,’ but being up there for 10 minutes, like, ‘What happened? What’s taking them so long? What’s going on? Is she hurt?’

“Then I started doubting myself, like my technique going off the jumps, which is actually pretty good. I was going back and forth between, ‘Should I even be doing this? Maybe I just should pull out because I don’t want to kill myself.’ Then I’m like, ‘You’re absolutely fine, you haven’t felt sketched out a single time on this track in the past three days, so stick with that. You don’t have to go crazy.'”

“To be fast in speed there certainly needs to be a certain level of risk, and I know that, but now, if [giant slalom] and slalom are my main priority this season, I don’t need to be going crazy in a downhill with flat light and after I got iced [waiting so long],” Shiffrin said, according to SkiRacing.com.

Stuhec won Friday’s race by .22 of a second over Italian Sofia Goggia. Swede Kajsa Kling was third.

A race replay can be seen here. Full results are here.

Lindsey Vonn, owner of a record 18 wins at Lake Louise, is missing the annual World Cup stop in Alberta due to a broken arm from a November crash. Vonn had raced at Lake Louise each of the previous 15 seasons.

Last season, Shiffrin made her World Cup debut in the super-G at Lake Louise and finished 15th.

The women have another downhill Saturday and a super-G on Sunday in Lake Louise, both streaming live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app (schedule here).

MORE: Vonn eyes January return from her most painful injury

High-speed crash at World Cup downhill in Lake Louise (video)

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Swiss Joana Haehlen crashed into netting at high speed during a World Cup downhill at Lake Louise, Alberta, on Friday.

Haehlen, 24, lost her right ski after landing from a jump and sped uncontrollably off course. She braced for impact, slammed into red netting and was turned around before landing with neither of her skis still attached.

She lay on the snow while being attended to and eventually skied down the mountain on her own.

It caused a 10-minute delay before the next skier, American Mikaela Shiffrin, could take her run.

VIDEO: Vonn details the most painful injury of her career