Michael Phelps’ goal number was 40 at the Rio Olympics

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Michael Phelps is known for keeping his goals private leading up to Olympics, but in the months since Rio he has shared glimpses into what he aspired to accomplish at his final Games.

On Sunday, Phelps gave perhaps his most specific account yet.

The 23-time Olympic champion wanted to end his career with 40 world records. And since Phelps already had 39, that meant breaking one more record in an individual event or relay.

Most of all, Phelps wanted to reclaim the world record in the 200m individual medley.

This should be no surprise. Phelps still owns the world records in his two other primary events — 100m and 200m butterfly — but Ryan Lochte took the 200m IM away in 2009. Phelps had held the record for the previous six years.

“I wanted to break the world record in the 200m IM, that was one thing I really wanted,” Phelps said Sunday when asked of his goals in his comeback since 2014. “I wanted 40 world records to retire, and we fell short.”

Phelps has said he achieved one of his goal times in Rio — swimming his fastest 100m free ever in his first splash at the Games in the 4x100m free relay final. Though the time doesn’t technically count for any record purposes, since it came on a relay start, Phelps still achieved what he set out to do in that event.

In his three individual events in Rio, Phelps was well off his personal-best times:

100m butterfly — 51.14 in Rio; 49.82 world record
200m butterfly — 1:53.36 in Rio; 1:51.51 world record
200m individual medley — 1:54.66 in Rio; 1:54.16 personal best (1:54.00 Lochte WR)

“But, at 31 [years old], being able to have two years of training, come back and do what I did, I can’t be hard on myself,” Phelps said.

VIDEO: Prince William lauds Michael Phelps at SPOTY

Saudi Arabia to host 2029 Asian Winter Games

Olympic Council of Asia
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Saudi Arabia will host the Asian Winter Games in 2029 in mountains near the $500 billion futuristic city project Neom.

The Olympic Council of Asia on Tuesday picked the Saudi candidacy that centers on Trojena that is planned to be a year-round ski resort by 2026.

“The deserts & mountains of Saudi Arabia will soon be a playground for Winter sports!” the OCA said in a statement announcing its decision.

Saudi sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal said the kingdom’s winter sports project “challenges perception” in a presentation of the plan to OCA members.

“Trojena is the future of mountain living,” the minister said of a region described as an area of about 60 square kilometers at altitude ranging from 1,500 to 2,600 meters.

The Neom megaproject is being fund by the Saudi sovereign wealth vehicle, the Public Investment Fund.

Saudi Arabia also will host the Asian Games in 2034 in Riyadh as part of aggressive moves to build a sports hosting portfolio and help diversify the economy from reliance on oil.

A campaign to host soccer’s 2030 World Cup is expected with an unprecedented three-continent bid including Egypt and Greece.

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Jim Redmond, who helped son Derek finish 1992 Olympic race, dies

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Jim Redmond, who helped his injured son, Derek, finish his 1992 Olympic 400m semifinal, died at age 81 on Sunday, according to the British Olympic Association, citing family members.

At the 1992 Barcelona Games, Derek pulled his right hamstring 15 seconds into his 400m semifinal, falling to the track in anguish.

He brushed off help from officials, got up and began limping around the track. About 120 meters from the finish line, he felt the presence of an uncredentialed man who rushed down the stadium stairs, dodged officials and said, “We started this together, and we’re going to finish this together,” according to Olympedia.org.

“As I turned into the home straight, I could sense this person was about to try and stop me,” Derek said in an NBC Olympics profile interview before the 2012 London Games. “I was just about to get ready to sort of fend them off, and then I heard a familiar voice of my dad. He said, ‘Derek, it’s me. You don’t need to do this.'”

Derek said he shouted to his dad that he wanted to finish the race.

“He was sort of saying things like, ‘You’ve got nothing to prove. You’re a champion. You’ll come back. You’re one of the best guys in the world. You’re a true champion. You’ve got heart. You’re going to get over this. We’ll conquer the world together,'” Derek remembered. “I’m just sort of saying, ‘I can’t believe this is happening.'”

At one point, Derek noticed stadium security, not knowing who Jim was, having removed guns from their holsters.

“It’s the only time I’ve ever heard my dad use bad language,” Derek said. “He just goes, ‘Leave him alone, I’m his father.'”

Derek told himself in that moment, “I’m going to finish this race if it’s the last race I ever run.” It turned out to be the last 400m race of his career, after surgery and 18 months of rehab were not enough to yield a competitive comeback, according to Sports Illustrated.

Derek had missed the 1988 Seoul Games after tearing an Achilles, reportedly while warming up for his opening race. He looked strong in Barcelona, winning his first-round heat and quarterfinal.

“I’d rather be seen to be coming last in the semifinal than not finish in the semifinal,” he said, “because at least I can say I gave it my best.”