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Fourth-Place Medal

Michael Phelps won't march at Opening Ceremony

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Michael Phelps will spend his last Olympic Opening Ceremony the same way he spent his first three. The 14-time gold medalist told reporters he won't join his teammates during Friday night's celebration in order to rest for his first event the following morning.

[Photos: Swimming star Michael Phelps]

The 14-time gold medalist will start his Olympic program with the 400 IM early Saturday, hours after the Opening Ceremony is scheduled to end at Olympic Stadium. If all goes to plan, Phelps will swim a heat at 10 a.m. and the final later that night. Standing for four hours and marching into the stadium isn't believed to be a good training technique for the most rigorous swimming event of the Games.

"That is one of the downfalls swimmers have of competing early in the Olympics," he said, "but I kind of like going first."

A number of athletes don't march in the Opening Ceremony for the same reason. Archers who have early events on Saturday and players on team sports with early games tend to sit out. In 2008, members of the U.S. equestrian team watched the festivities from over 1,000 miles away. That discipline at the Beijing Games was held in Hong Kong.

Phelps could watch the ceremony on television, but may have a more pressing viewing appointment. If he can tear himself away from old episodes of "The Wire," the gritty HBO crime drama that was set in his hometown of Baltimore. He said he recently started watching the critically acclaimed series after never getting into it because it was set "five minutes" from where he lives.

That mentality doesn't bode well for Opening Ceremony ratings amongst multiple gold medalists.

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