Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps

Bob Bowman: Nobody has filled Michael Phelps’ void in swimming

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Michael Phelps‘ longtime coach explained why swimming needs Phelps and how long it would take Phelps to be competitive with the world’s best swimmers, if he were to come back, in a BBC article.

“Swimming needs [Phelps] because he shines a spotlight on the sport and adds a level of excitement we don’t get from anyone else,” Bob Bowman said while at the UK Sport World Class Performance Conference in Manchester. “When we’ve gone to some meets this year and he is not swimming, you see hardly anyone watching. The stands were full when he was swimming.”

It was revealed Phelps had re-entered the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drug testing pool on Nov .14, when he was attending the Minneapolis Grand Prix.

Phelps didn’t officially come out of retirement, but re-entering drug testing makes him eligible to swim next summer, when the U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships will be decided.

“The two of us have a standard,” Bowman said, according to the BBC. “Should he choose to come back, I would never allow him to be in a meet unless he could compete near his top level. That’s just the way we do business.”

Bowman said Phelps would need “years of work” to be “competitive at the top.” He also cautioned this:

“I would say it’s more likely that he would not come back than that he would come back now,” Bowman said. “We just gave him the option to do it if he wants to.”

‘Female Phelps’ returns to competitive swimming

Caitlyn Jenner: Olympic decathlon title one half of ‘ultimate double’

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Caitlyn Jenner says she has ultimate double — winning the 1976 Olympic decathlon and 2015 Glamour “Woman of the Year.”

Jenner sat down with Seth Meyers for an interview during a media tour for her memoir, “The Secrets of My Life,” which was released Wednesday.

She briefly mentioned her Olympic experience, winning the Montreal 1976 decathlon.

Jenner related it to her current work within the transgender community, one that she said is marginalized and misunderstood with high murder and suicide rates.

“What I’m doing today is mort important than winning the Games more than 40 years ago,” Jenner said.

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Syria-born Olympian takes advocacy role at U.N. refugee agency

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GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency has chosen as a goodwill ambassador a Syrian teenage girl who helped save a boat carrying fellow refugees and later became an Olympic swimmer.

Yusra Mardini was appointed as UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador on Thursday, joining other notables like actress Cate Blanchett and author Khaled Hosseini in the unpaid advocacy role.

UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said Mardini “represents the hopes, the fears and the incredible potential of the more than 10 million young refugees around the globe.”

Mardini and her sister Sarah jumped overboard and swam for hours alongside their overloaded boat to reach Greece from Turkey in 2015.

She swam on the first Refugee Olympic team in Rio last year and has discussed refugees’ challenges with leaders like Pope Francis and President Barack Obama.

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