Michael Phelps talks rewatching Olympic races, Peloton competition, Michael Jordan meeting


Michael Phelps, fresh off rewatching many of his Olympic swims on NBCSN’s Olympic Games Week, joined OlympicTalk for a Q&A while promoting his new partnership with Silk, which is putting his face on soy milk cartons (and Aly Raisman on others) …

OlympicTalk: If this was 2007, and you were in a situation where you couldn’t get into North Baltimore Aquatic Club or other pools, what would you and Bob Bowman have done?

Phelps: We either would have already found a pool in someone’s backyard, or we would have found a way to build a pool. We would have found a solution. That’s something that would have been easy for us. You’ve heard it come out of my mouth hundreds of times: when you miss one day [of practice], it takes two days to get back

Here in Arizona, they opened up one of our country club pools for hour slots. I know Allison [Schmitt] is going in there and swimming a little bit. I’m somebody that was so big on feel. If I don’t have that feel I’m completely lost in the water.

Editor’s Note: For years as a swimmer, Phelps practiced every day. Including Christmas. Including his birthday (sometimes twice on his birthday).

OlympicTalk: Did you have that line of swim spas back then?

Phelps: Pretty sure we didn’t have it in 2008. But, that’s something that, yes, we would have done. We had one of those at Meadowbrook [the North Baltimore facility where he trained]. If that was the case, and it was back in 2008, I would have just gone to the pool, or I would have had that thing shipped to the backyard.

I think that’s what a lot of people are doing now. I’ve talked to a handful of ’em, and some of them are having difficulties, but I think a lot of them have been able to find people with pools in backyards that they have connections to, and they’ve been going four or five times a week.

Editor’s Note: Michael Phelps Signature Swim Spas by Master Spas came out in 2010.

OlympicTalk: I’m sure you have access to watch any of your Olympic swims, but they just aired on NBCSN for all to see last week. Did you watch?

Phelps: Yes. A lot of them were really easy to watch, and a few of them were extremely difficult to watch. I ended up watching most of them with Bob, actually, which was interesting because we hadn’t really done that before.

The 2008 ones were really, really fun because, the two of us, our minds together, talking about breakouts and technique and all of it. I mean, everything in 2008 as a whole, those are some of my best races in my life. The 200m free and 400m IM, arguably, are two of the top three races of my career.

MORE: Phelps, Bowman on watching Beijing Olympic races together for first time

OlympicTalk: What was the other race in the top three?

Phelps: I don’t even know. Bob and I were talking about that, if we could come up with my best five races ever. There are a handful of them that are so close. We remember in 2007 when I broke a world record unshaved and unrested in Missouri, coming down from altitude. There’s so many different races. Actually, I do want to come up with that list because it would be interesting to go back down memory lane.

The 200m free [in Beijing], just everything about that race, I would say that’s my No. 1. Just from start to finish with kickouts, with turns, stroke, kick, body position, everything. That’s, without question, my best.

OlympicTalk: Tim Layden mentioned that you stack up pretty well against PGA Tour golfers in Peloton.

Phelps: I haven’t done any live rides with them. Rory [McIlroy] and Billy [Horschel] are unbelievable. They put up some nice numbers on there. I’d honestly like to know if they have any cycling background. We were joking back and forth inside the house about it. Those guys are pretty good. JT [Justin Thomas] is getting better. Bubba [Watson] is good. All those guys are great. Honestly, I think the coolest thing is just the interaction with those guys, but Rory and Billy are beating me down right now. I actually have taken a step away from that. I’m in the process of finishing my gym, and we got a bunch of the weights right before everything was basically shut down, so I’ve been slowly building my way back into the weight room.

OlympicTalk: Michael Jordan has been in the news a lot these past two weeks. I know that you have met him. What did you want to talk to him about?

Phelps: I remember the list being a mile long when I first him, and I also remember not being able to put together a sentence when I met him for the first time. Since then, we’ve had a few conversations and been together a couple of times. Watching the documentary, it’s been interesting for me just looking at somebody who’s done something in sports, pretty big in sports, and kind of piece it together. For instance, right now, it’s so fascinating that every single one of them were such a large piece of that puzzle. Rodman, Pippen, all of them together. I’m almost looking at it in a deeper way because it was a part of my life, too.

Also, his attitude. That’s been the coolest thing. He didn’t care. He was just going to go out there because he loved the game, and he was going to do whatever it took to win. That’s something I can relate to and understand.

I don’t even know what I’d ask him [today].

OlympicTalk: Has anyone else that you’ve met left you speechless or fumbling over your words like that?

Phelps: Not really. I think Tiger [Woods], that was just awesome because of Tiger and getting to know him a little bit more. Peyton [Manning] was the same way. We were like two kids in a candy store. He wanted to talk about swimming, and I wanted to talk about football.

I was trying to think of what other athletes I would want to meet. I got into F1 over the last year, so Lewis Hamilton and some of those F1 drivers. That’s a sport that I want to go and see and see how their mindset is. That’s fascinating for me.

OlympicTalk: I don’t think I’ve seen the story behind the name Maverick for your third boy.

Phelps: If we did go a B name, then we had to get one with some punch. [Our first two boys] Booms and Becks, they have just great nicknames. We wanted to keep MP, and [middle name] Nicolas is for [wife] Nicole. That was really all it was. We kept her name in there, and we kept MP. My name was something that I didn’t want to continue. Maverick was just a cool name. That was really it. It was something that we both gravitated towards. We each came up with five or 10 different names, and whatever one popped out the most is the one we went with.

OlympicTalk: Why did you partner with Silk Soymilk?

Phelps: Well, let’s be honest. I’m not the same person I was when I was training. I chose to change how I was eating. For me, adding and incorporating more plant-based proteins, Silk Soymilk and Silk Yogurts, honestly, I feel like it’s given me more energy. With three young kids — the youngest one is about to start crawling — so I need all the energy I can get to keep up with them. This is something that allows me to still get the nutrients that I need when I’m working out as much as I am. It’s also something that the boys like, and Nicole enjoys as well.

MORE: Why Michael Phelps unretired in 2013

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Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz set French Open semifinal showdown


Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz will play in the French Open semifinals on Friday in the most anticipated match of the tournament.

Each man advanced with a quarterfinal win on Tuesday.

Djokovic, eyeing a record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam men’s singles title, rallied past 11th-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4. The Serb reached his 45th career major semifinal, one shy of Roger Federer‘s men’s record.

Later Tuesday, top seed Alcaraz crushed fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (5) to consolidate his status as the favorite in Friday’s showdown.

“This match, everyone wants to watch,” Alcaraz said. “I really wanted to play this match as well. I always say that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.”

FRENCH OPEN DRAWS: Women | Men | Broadcast Schedule

Alcaraz, who at last year’s U.S. Open became the first male teen to win a major since Rafael Nadal in 2005, is at this event the youngest man to be the top seed at a major since Boris Becker at 1987 Wimbledon.

The Djokovic-Alcaraz semifinal will produce the clear favorite for Sunday’s final given left-handed 14-time French Open champion Nadal is out this year with a hip injury and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev lost in the first round. Djokovic and Nadal share the record 22 men’s major titles.

Djokovic and Alcaraz met once, with Alcaraz winning last year on clay in Madrid 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5).

“[Alcaraz] brings a lot of intensity on the court,” Djokovic said, before breaking into a smile. “Reminds me of someone from his country that plays with a left hand.”

Alcaraz and Djokovic were set to be on opposite halves of the draw — and thus not able to meet until the final — until Medvedev won the last top-level clay event before the French Open to move ahead of Djokovic in the rankings. That meant Djokovic had a 50 percent chance to wind up in Alcaraz’s half, and that’s what the random draw spit out two weeks ago.

Earlier Tuesday in the first two women’s quarterfinals, No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus and 43rd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova advanced to face off in Thursday’s semifinals.

Sabalenka, the Australian Open champion, swept Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4 to complete her set of semifinals in all four Grand Slams. Sabalenka will take the No. 1 ranking from Iga Swiatek if Swiatek loses before the final, or if Sabalenka makes the final and Swiatek does not win the title.

Svitolina, a former world No. 3, returned to competition in April from childbirth.

Muchova took out 2021 French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia 7-5, 6-2, to make her second major semifinal after the 2021 Australian Open.

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz
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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw French Open Men's Singles Draw