Michael Phelps eyes changes entering busy Charlotte meet

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps‘ fiancée recently asked him if their impending move from his native Baltimore to Arizona was “really a big deal.”

“No, not really,” Phelps responded.

Phelps, who is slated to swim six events at a Pro Swim Series meet in Charlotte starting Friday, will later move across the country with longtime coach Bob Bowman, who accepted the Arizona State swimming coaching job.

“I’m somebody who loves changes,” Phelps said in a press conference Thursday. “If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it. … This is a brand-new change. Myself, my fiancée, we’re looking forward to it. … I’m not nervous about it.”

Phelps joked the biggest difficulty may be not having an indoor pool to swim in if it gets too hot.

“I’ll say the toughest thing is, sort of, at home [in Baltimore], I was able to sort of get on a level where everything around me was so comfortable,” Phelps said. “I was in my own element. I had this and that. I was completely settled. I think that will be a very difficult thing, resettling.”

He’s been through this before, moving with Bowman to the University of Michigan following the Athens 2004 Olympics.

“I know what I’m getting into, versus Ann Arbor was a completely new world when I started collegiate coaching,” said Bowman, adding that he had more input in this coaching switch than with Michigan. “It’s a little more tailor-made for what everyone needs and I need.”

Phelps will challenge himself in Charlotte by swimming a 200m butterfly for the first time since the 2012 Olympics (Phelps is not expected to make it part of his regular program going toward Rio 2016). He added it partly to ensure he had two events on each day of the meet and partly to put himself on the line and “make it not as comfortable.”

And he said he will approach preliminary races differently in Charlotte. Phelps wants to ensure he will not only make finals but also receive a preferred middle lane.

“I’m not 15 or 18 anymore, where I can just sort of coast through in the morning,” Phelps, 29, said.

Phelps also reflected on the financial aspect of swimming in domestic meets. He recalled another swimmer asking after a race if his result would merit receiving “grant money.”

“I’m like, dude, if that’s what you’re worried about, then your mind is in the wrong direction,” Phelps said. “If you take care of what you have to in the pool, everything else comes.”

Bowman and Phelps joked of how money and prizes were not of the utmost concern early in his career.

“He knew he could buy some spinners for his car,” said Bowman, surely referencing Phelps’ Cadillac Escalade that his mother allowed him to buy after he signed his first endorsement deal as a 16-year-old (more on that story here).

“My mom was like, oh, you broke a world record, you can buy a couch for your room,” Phelps said. “Gee, thanks, mom.”

Universal Sports will have coverage of the Charlotte meet on Saturday and Sunday at 6 ET both nights.

Kate Ziegler’s two-year global journey back to swimming

Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid

Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

Delta LA 2028
LA 2028

Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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