Michael Phelps has been given every opportunity to rule out a comeback. But he has yet to do it.
Despite Phelps' declaration that the 2012 Olympics would be his last, speculation has run rampant that the most decorated Olympian of all time will return for one more go in 2016, when he will be 31. No less than Ryan Lochte has gone on record about Phelps' future, saying recently, "I think we all know by now that Michael is coming back. I don't think it's really a surprise. It's just a matter of time when he gets back into the full swing of training."
When asked point blank this weekend by NBC's Dan Hicks if he's "totally closed the door," Phelps had this to say: "Well, golf is definitely on hold."
Watch as Hicks presses Phelps for an answer here at the 2:42 mark:
That's Phelps deflecting, making light of the walking cast he's wearing on his right foot after breaking a bone playing golf. Yes, he broke his foot playing golf.
Monday, the Associated Press gave Phelps another opportunity to silence the speculation, and again he chose not to. ''I don't know what's going to happen in the future,'' Phelps said. ''I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow.''
Injured foot aside, it's pretty clear Phelps still has a competitive itch. He said he feels he could have competed at this weekend's world swimming championships in Barcelona, and definitely didn't like watching the U.S. go down in defeat in the 400-meter freestyle relay. "I definitely could have hopped up," he said.
When asked what he misses about being on the national team, he responded, "Everything, just being able to be a part of the team."
So there you go. Michael Phelps, see you in Rio in 2016.
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