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.
“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.”