Michael Phelps ends retirement, takes first step toward competing in 2016 Olympics

Kevin Kaduk
Fourth-Place Medal
(Associated Press)

Michael Phelps watches the NBA match between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors on October 18, 2013 in Shanghai, China.

(Associated Press)

He's back. 

Michael Phelps has ended his retirement and will enter his first competition since the 2012 London Games, USA Swimming announced on Monday. Phelps is expected to swim at the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa, Ariz., from April 24-26, a move that is largely seen as his first step toward competing in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The decorated Olympian resumed training last fall and has completed the mandatory six-month waiting period after re-entering  the U.S. drug-testing program, the Associated Press reported.  

Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, told the Chicago Tribune last month that the swimmer would likely focus on "relays and shorter events, including the 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly." 

“If he swims a meet in the next couple months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine [at the 2014 U.S. Championships in California in August],” Bowman told the paper. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”

Phelps has won a record 22 Olympic medals, 18 of which are gold, since first qualifying for the 2000 Games in Sydney. He'll be 31 by the time the next Summer Games open in Brazil. 

Check out what's buzzing on the Yahoo Sports Minute:

- - - - - - -

Kevin Kaduk is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kevinkaduk@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next