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Chris Chase

Michael Phelps hits Vancouver, says London will be final Olympics

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The most decorated athlete in Olympic history began a five-day trip to Vancouver by making a little news of his own. Michael Phelps told reporters that the 2012 London Olympics will be his last and that he won't attempt to repeat his eight-gold-medal performance in two years.

"I told myself I will not swim over the age of 30, and I will not swim over the age of 30," he said.

Phelps will be 27 at the London Olympics. He has won 14 gold medals in his career, five more than any other athlete. Though he didn't specifically say how many events he'd do in London, five or six would be the most likely (three relays plus two or three individual events).

Usually you can take athlete promises with a grain of salt — BRETT FAVRE — but Phelps strikes me as the kind of guy who will stay retired. Swimming is a sport for the young and a 31-year-old competing in the Olympics against 19-year-olds doesn't sound like an enviable task, even for the greatest in the history of the sport. Yet, Phelps didn't say he was retiring immediately after London. Could he stick around long enough to lure him back into the pool in 2016?

If anything, I'd bet more on Phelps coming back in 2020 than in 2016. Imagine that story: Out of the pool for eight years, the greatest Olympic champion returns for one event. That's the stuff from which lucrative endorsement deals are made.

After arriving in the host city of the 2010 Winter Games, Phelps took in a hockey game and took part in some sponsorship events with Canadian gold medalist Alexandre Bilodeau. Before he leaves on Monday he hopes to see Apolo Ohno race in short-track speedskating and also see the highly anticipated U.S.-Canada hockey game on Sunday.

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