Michael Phelps wondered if the itch would return; it hasn’t

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Four years ago, (a publicly but not-so-much privately) retired Michael Phelps attended the world swimming championships in Barcelona.

He left the Catalan capital even more emboldened to return to the sport. He did, officially, the following spring and, after some of the darkest times of his life, ended his competitive career with six more medals in Rio.

That 2013 feeling recently led Phelps to wonder whether visits to swim meets this year might rekindle his competitive fire.

Maybe, he would consider unretiring a second time.

“The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again?” Phelps said in April, according to The Associated Press.

So far, there has been nothing to scratch.

“I’ve been to one or two meets, and I don’t miss it,” Phelps told ESPN on the ESPYs red carpet Wednesday.

Phelps attended a meet in Mesa, Ariz., in April. He has also helped his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, reviewing video of Bowman’s current pupils.

Will he attend the world championships in Budapest from July 23-30? Phelps hasn’t said publicly.

For those still hoping, Phelps did recently say there was a one or two percent chance he would come back, according to Entertainment Weekly.

“Very minimal,” Phelps said after a laugh, according to the magazine. “I wanted to retire on my own terms and never have a what-if, and I’m to that point where I’m very content with everything that’s going on.”

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