Milorad Cavic Questions Michael Phelps’ Commitment To Anti-Doping

This week, Michael Phelps appeared before a Congressional subcommittee to testify about the issue of doping, but a rival from Phelps’ past came forward this week with questions about why Phelps is tackling the issue post-retirement.

Serbian world champ Milorad Cavic openly questioned Phelps’ anti-doping stance in an open letter of sorts this week, posted on Twitter:

Cavic criticizes Phelps for speaking out for doping reform only after his retirement, suggesting Phelps hadn’t supported blood passports when he was still convenient. Cavic (also retired) suggested the timing of Phelps’ stand was “convenient,” and though he says he’s not suggesting Phelps is a cheat, he categorizes Phelps’ recovery rate as “nothing short of science fiction.”

The reference to blood passports may stem from a program Cavic tried to popularize back in 2009 where athletes would undergo “athlete biological passports” which track biological markers of doping and results of anti-doping tests over a series of years. Cavic wanted athletes (Phelps included) to make their results fully public on his website, according to an ESPN story from the time.

You can see Phelps’ testimony before the subcommittee here.

Phelps and Cavic went head to head in several Olympics, most notably the 2008 Beijing Games. Cavic very nearly ended Phelps’ dream of 8 gold medals at those games, pushing the 100 fly down to a touchout where Phelps won by just .01 seconds in one of the most dramatic finishes all-time.

Cavic does conclude his letter by expressing his hope that Phelps will continue to champion anti-doping causes to make a difference in the sport.

A full transcript of Cavic’s statement:

Dear Michael,

Doping has been a problem and it’s only getting worse. I, too, don’t know what to tell my son, nor would I wish that my son ever be half as good as I was knowing what he’ll face tomorrow. People get tested, some more than others… I could even recall Lance Armstrong getting tested 3x in one day and never failed once, but that’s not the problem. At the moment, we’re not able to detect new drugs and advanced methods of doping. Why you’re seeking reform now that you’re retired, and never before supported blood passports, is beyond us all, perhaps even convenient. I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat, you’ve gradually improved your times throughout your career, but your recovery rate is nothing short of science fiction… We all just wished we could understand it. Anyway, I really do hope that you’ll stick with this, because incase our sons go pro some day, I’d like to think you made a difference #NeverTooLate

In This Story

Comments

  1. College Swim Guy says:

    Sounds like a sore loser to me?

    • Satchmo says:

      Shirley Babashoff was also a sore loser

      • Swimfan23 says:

        Babashoff spoke the truth. Very ignorant to say she was a sore loser.

        • Satchmo says:

          Whoosh!

        • meeee says:

          Guessing he was being sarcastic about Surely Shirley. But i agree with Cavic and Phelps’ recovery. Reminds me of Kornelia Ender. Or Lance Armstrong stringing fantastic performances through many a Tour.

          • coachymccoachface says:

            Here we go. The evidence you are basing your accusations on is that Lance took drugs and Phelps recovered well. Give me a break with these people

          • meeee says:

            Coachy, there is no mention in my post of thinking that Phelps has taken PEDs. I simply made an observation. And Cavic is correct, Phelps is phenomenal in his ability to recover, AND so was Lance. Name someone else with the ability to recover like that. What i’d really like him to do now is to submit to some exercise physiology tests that can evaluate and quantify his ability to recover. Lets see what is different about him.

  2. NONA says:

    THAT is bush league. Can’t throw in “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat” when the entire post is suggesting exactly that. Invoking Lance Armstrong, saying Phelps was akin to “science fiction”, etc. This post tastes of the sourest grapes in the world

    • Fluidg says:

      Also, didn’t Armstrong fail some drug tests but prevented the results from being made public through bribery and intimidation?

      • dude 2.0 says:

        yes

      • hehasapoint says:

        To be fair, Armstrong’s power in cycling allowed him to do that. Phelps’ power in swimming is just as strong, if not stronger. Big names in unpopular sports doing inhuman things = more money and recognition for the sport

        • hehasapoint says:

          By the way, I am still not accusing Phelps of doping. But pretty much all of the things about Lance can be applied to Michael. I think we as a society should remain open to the idea that athletes could be doping, and to not be so offended that “our” athlete could be cheating. And we also need to stop automatically putting athletes in the “role model” category either, and getting upset when the mess up. They are purely entertainers and owe the public and our children nothing

          • Dee says:

            I’m pleased this message has thumbs up. I made the point that a small dose of scepticism to greatness is normal a few years ago and it wasn’t welcomed aha.

          • hehasapoint says:

            Don’t worry it will soon be in the negatives. It’s just how it is on SwimSwam and also in America. We are so quick to accuse others of juicing (Hosszu,Ye Shiwen, Biederman, etc.) But when it is our athlete, the idea of them cheating is inconceivable. And when our Olympic athletes do get caught, we forget about it pretty quickly. SwimSwam commenters gang up and downvote everything that is an open minded thought, or a differing thought.

          • Joe Bagodonuts says:

            Wow! Generalize much?

      • DLswim says:

        Indeed Armstrong did fail tests. In one instance, he had a medical doctor write a false, back-dated prescription for a cream, allegedly for saddle sores.

        • Goose says:

          Lance was also making 10x’s the amounts of $$$ that Phelps is even worth today. Though, any swimmer that is still winning golds in his or her 5th Olympics (aka Dara Torres) is an eyebrow raiser…most swimmers peak for a few years at best and the normal career of a swimmer is one and maybe two Olympics at most.

  3. whatshouldswimmerscallme says:

    This is a ridiculously stupid thing to say on Cavic’s part with literally nothing positive coming out of it…

    • newswim says:

      Exactly….Cavic looks like a complete douche. He has not only failed to advance his “cause” he now has many people wondering about his motives. He’ll forever been known as #headdownatfinish

    • Joe Bagodonuts says:

      It IS ridiculously stupid and wholly unsubstantiated by anything other than Cavic’s surmise that the only possible way that anyone could have beaten him was if that person was cheating through PED’s. “50.59 is obviously achieved sans drugs, but 50.58 could ONLY be achieved through use of drugs.” Solid logic, Milo.

  4. coacherik says:

    I suppose he doesn’t know the demands of the G.O.A.T.’s schedule and being able to do as much or more with is time. Why now, because he isn’t training and can give more time to the cause? Only way he could sound more bitter is if he typed in all caps “I WON THAT RACE AND YOU KNOW IT!”

  5. Puff daddy swimmer says:

    Someone is still salty after being beat by .01…

  6. Thadawg says:

    Don’t worry Mil, he won’t be retired for long

  7. Bdb1331 says:

    And the pot stirring begins

  8. 50free says:

    Why…….

  9. SWIMSWEDEN says:

    Cavic has always been the one to talk more instead of just letting his swimming do the talking, in 2008 he talked smack and now he attacks Michael again. Not surprised though coming from him.

  10. Swimgeekgirl says:

    Woah!

  11. dmswim says:

    This is such a bizarre, passive-aggressive post. Cavic, if you want to call Phelps a cheater, call him a cheater. Don’t hide behind some confusing post. Saying “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat…but” is suggesting he’s a cheat.

  12. CBM says:

    Shots fired.

  13. anonymous says:

    Cavic is a crybaby and a hack. Trying desperately to stay relevant.

  14. Swimmer A says:

    “Why you’re seeking reform now that you’re retired, and never before supported blood passports, is beyond us all, perhaps even convenient.”

    Idk, maybe he was too busy training to beat you down in the 100 to take the time to become a full time anti-doping advocate. Also, Phelps did speak out against doping while he was active in the sport. God, I forgot how insufferable Cavic is…

    • Goose says:

      Don’t forget about the bong hit photo Phelps got suspended for back in the day. Marijuana IS still banned by FINA…so is alcohol and caffeine … in actuality all swimmers and athletes are dopers if you think about it. It’s all about timing and how much is in your body when they test you

      • Ex Quaker says:

        This is a ridiculous argument. Just because substances are banned by FINA doesn’t mean they’re automatically performance enhancing. There’s a substantial difference between marijuana and, say, meldonium. Come on.

  15. hehasapoint says:

    Okay, I am not saying Phelps doped, but do would any of you be surprised that a guy that smoked weed and had a drinking problem ended up abusing other substances either? Substances that would help him succeed in his profession? It’s time we all stop becoming so shocked when the athletic greats fall from the graces from using PEDs and become so shocked to the idea that these people COULD be doping

    • coachymccoachface says:

      Except he’s been at that level for like over 15 years. So he started doping 15 years ago?

      • Steve Nolan says:

        Why not? I knew high school football players that were ‘roidin’ up.

        • coachymccoachface says:

          Oh yeah those are comparable. Greatest swimmer of all time and some crappy meat head that you “knew” in hs.

          • hehasapoint says:

            Look at every other sport involving physical strength and endurance. The common theme at the top of all of those sports is that the winners (especially the record breakers) get caught eventually (cycling, track, baseball, etc.) Even in swimming the top people are getting caught! Look at Coach Tourtski getting caught with steroids.

          • coachymccoachface says:

            Hmm the current world record holders in the 100 200 400 800 1500 at least in track are all clean as far as we know. This speculation that everyone is doping because some people have got caught is crazy talk. People assuming everyone might be doping because a few top athletes have? This isn’t cycling which has and pretty much always was a dirty sport. There is no evidence that the top baseball players of today are doping except for a select few that were caught, and could hardly be called the top players.

          • hehasapoint says:

            Many people chasing those records have been caught on both the men and women’s side, especially in the US. Tyson Gay, Gatlin, Marion Jones have all been caught (by the way, Gatlin had his WR erased from the books at the time). Also, it is nearly fact that FloJo was a heavy abuser, ultimately causing her early death (records that many people want expunged because they are not attainable). Also, look at coach Salazar for all of the distance athletes (Rupp, Farah, and many others). Probably the most allegations against him by any coach, including allegations by his former athletes. Drugs are rampant in sports, and they are especially rampant in sports that give you spotlight once every four years.

          • hehasapoint says:

            Okay, first of all, many of the people chasing those records have been caught. Gay got caught, Gatlin had the record then got caught, and on the women’s side, it is nearly a fact that FloJo was juicing. Also, on the distance side, I will be willing to bet my life’s earnings on Salazar’s athletes being on gear. Way too many stories about him and testimonials from his former athletes for me to really think Rupp and Farah’s accomplishments are all that legitimate. Plus, look at all of the African distance runners getting caught. But guess what? I really don’t blame them for using PEDs. The public is demanding people to run faster, jump higher, swim faster, and at some point we will reach the human limit. I don’t blame athletes for using PEDs to do the things that we demand them do

          • hehasapoint says:

            Forgot about Ben Johnson too

          • Steve Nolan says:

            I regret not ‘roiding up in HS. Coulda got me a scholarship!

            But you were saying it would be unlikely he’d have been doping since he was a teenager. I offered proof that even crappy HS football players do it. See?! It’s a link! (And yes, I’m going to be this dismissive to you.)

      • Goose says:

        No, if he started doping it was probably during his third Olympics…most swimmers would never even think about swimming at Phelps level for one Olympics let alone 5.

    • Steve Nolan says:

      Amen, brother.

      To me, it’s safe to assume most elite athletes are potentially doping. I wouldn’t single out anyone, but I would not be surprised if any random Olympic semifinalist got popped. (And obviously, the faster an athlete is the more likely they’re supplementing with something banned.)

      Again, not singling anyone out. It’s just prudent to be cautiously skeptical of anyone at that level.

      • Coach Broseph says:

        That is about the most humble way to phrase it Steve N!
        Every other sport has doping at the highest levels and the athletes are well aware of it. I am certainly not at that level in swimming, but I’ve coached athletes in many sports at various levels and the theme is consistent. Doping exist. It may not always be the top athlete like Phelps doping, but it does exist. Taking time off / retiring on and off are all easy ways to get out of the drug testing loop. Many people finally got raised eyebrows with Sun Yang dropping big in-season times at Arena ProSS and disappearing the final day of the meet, let alone other big competitions disappearing. The blood doping finger can be pointed in MANY directions at this level.

        If anything, you have to have confidence in Phelps’ cleanliness with his continued progressive methodical improvements. The look in his eyes when the topic of doping in our sport came up leading up to Rio was serious and with Le Clos taking his 200 Fly gold while regularly taking time to look around at the competition using questionable fly technique – I would put a good deal of money on Phelps’ emotional comments about his disappointment with doping in swimming pointed directly at Le Clos leading up to Rio.

        In any case… the never ending battle continues. Whether it was the oral testosterone from East German era that caused waves, the stimulant Clenbuterol that Hardy was taking, the ties to Stanford athletes back in the day to Balco – might I add that Dara Torres and Jenny Thompson came through during that era… It is really useless as others are pointing out how Cavic is pointing the finger at Phelps as there are too many direction it can fly causing us bad press which is bad for our sport and the development of future athletes.

        Lets continue to hold the drug testing agencies and our governing bodies accountable while expecting them to take ownership of pointing fingers with hard evidence in hand.

        I should also add in… that these agencies have plenty of Phelps samples stored around for when future tests come available. If there needs to be a finger pointed at him, let it be once those come out. Right now he is obviously doing something great for the doping control community. Ol’ sour Cavic.

        • coachymccoachface says:

          Yeah let’s also just accuse everyone to make sure we don’t get miss anyone even without evidence /s

          • Steve Nolan says:

            Hi, Coach Face!

            You completely missed my point.

            I’m not accusing anyone. I’m just saying you should stay skeptical.

            Thanks!

            -Steve

  16. Coach mary says:

    I think that we have all seen a major change in Phelpses attitude and just approach to life in the last three years. All for the better. I think when he was swimming he was just focused on training and as we know he had his little devils to take care of. He spending his time now trying to make things better and he seems to be such a happier person. We all know the people around Michael were wonderful people that’s why it was surprising that he did have issues. I wish him the best of luck. And we do need to illuminate cheating from sport

  17. SwimCoachSean says:

    jelly much?

  18. AvidSwimFan says:

    While doping has been a part of the system, the issue with Russia and possibility of state sponsored doping is a new layer that became a thing this summer with the call to ban all Russian athletes from games. So naturally MP, is speaking on it now. Also, now that he isn’t training and competing he obviously has more time to devote to the another side of the sport. Is it a more convenient timing? Of course. But not for the reasons Cavic is insinuating.

    MP was bound to catch flak whichever way. If he didn’t say anything then he abandoned the sport that made him. If he does, then it’s because he’s no longer testing. Actually if testing improves, MP can still be flagged, and being MP, the news will spread like wildfire (case in point Bolt’s teammate).

    This reeks of nothing but jealousy, and the passive aggressive voice isn’t helping Cavic’s message. MP is trying to still be a voice in swimming despite his retirement. If his contribution is to further suppress doping, well that’s a plus to the sport of swimming.

  19. M Palota says:

    Boom! That’s a hella accusation!!

    I’ll say this about Cavic: He’s never been afraid to play the villain!

  20. Pvdh says:

    That 0.01 still stings eh Cavic?

  21. Whatever says:

    Milorad is a bit sour that he did not have access to the good “stuff.” They were both “loaded”. That makes Milorad’s comments even funnier. It’s about those guys and girls that train just as hard, actually swim drug-free and miss out on the finals and semi-finals… those swimmers should be revolting. There were no clean medalists in swimming at the Olympics since probably the 60s…

  22. Rjcid says:

    Cmooooon maaan!! Phelps is by and large a physical outlier. He is built like a speed boat and his training was built around performing at the highest levels of international competition. His recovery was monitored from the age of 15!! His caloric intake was measured, his insulin, his lactic acid, and even his sleep was measured.

    The fact is, Phelps was the most professional athlete who was blessed genetically. Questioning his recovery ability and thhs insinuating he cheated is not cool at all.

    Yes, lance was tested and passed, but he manipulated his blood and pressured the bike league. I am not disagreeing with this, but you cannot make this type of accusation without proof. Lance cheated when everyone else did too. Look at chesh lazlo, guy was 2nd to mp in 08 in like 4 events. Hes never tested positive, that im aware of. He and guys like lochte were always there with massive schedules and nothing.

    This is a very fine line mr. Cavic…. pleasr use your next words wisely.

    • SwimSwammer says:

      You can make all the same arguments you made for Phelps for Lance as well. I don’t know where the line is from this response.

  23. Sccoach says:

    I’ll play a little devils advocate here. I think Cavic questioning Phelps’ incredible recovery time along with questioning Phelps’ motives of bringing this up post retirement is totally fair. I do think he should have tried to contact Phelps personally to have a discussion with him before firing shots on the internet though.

    Hasn’t Phelps said “I’ve never been in a clean race” before though? I could be wrong but I thought I recalled him saying this during the Rio Olympics

    • Steve Nolan says:

      Could you even really take a dig at Phelps’s recovery time, though? Alternate theory: Maybe he’d be like, another 5% faster if he swam half as many races at each of his taper meets, ya know?

      He most likely is insanely good at recovery, but IMO that’s hard to really separate out.

      • Sccoach says:

        Yeah you have to think “how fast could he have gone” if he was just racing once every finals session.

        The main thing that makes me think Phelps’ recovery time is real is that he’s been crazy fast at a variety of events and distances since he was like 10. So unless he was a 13 year old juicing up, I think it’s safe to say he is the real deal. We can’t totally clear anyone because of Lance Armstrong, but I think he is close to as clear as you can get. Bowmans career would be totally ruined also if Phelps popped positive.

        I do think that Phelps would have been more effective at this if he brought this up at the peak of his career, but when Cavic brings up recovery time it does come off accusatory

        • Caleb says:

          It’s not unreasonable to keep an open mind about the possibility that even our favorite champions doped – after all, some do – but there’s nothing about Phelps’ career that hints at doping. It’s a pretty normal performance curve, except that – as SCCoach points out – it’s higher than everyone else, from a very early age at which point it’s pretty safe to say he was clean. Phelps also trained “openly” in the U.S., competed often, swam slower during heavy training, didn’t have weird jumps in his performance and slowed down in the latter part of his career (along with less resilience in multiple events). Throwing out gratuitous jabs like Cavic just did, only makes him look like a jerk.

          • NCSwim says:

            Totally agree with this. Phelps arrived as a skinny kid of 15 – filled out and got faster – trained like an elite athlete totally focused on his craft should and got faster – and eventually got older summoned just enough fast in events where people still hadn’t closed the gap but had a harder time recovering and couldn’t quite do to Joe Schooling what he did to Cavic.

            Tomorrow Cavic goes after Katie Ledecky…

    • SwimGeek says:

      Regarding recovery — why did MP “only” go 50.5 to win in China? Because it was his 8th (or 17th) race. When he went 49.8 in Rome 2009, he was probably in worse shape from a year of weak training. He was NOT wearing the full-rubber Jaked suit (he was wearing the same partial-rubber Speedo suit from 2008). But he went much faster. Why? Because he swam a lighter schedule. So, yes, even MP had recovery issues in 2008.

  24. Swimfan says:

    So my question is….How do we know you didn’t cheat, Cavic?

    This guy is an excellent example of poor sportsmanship.

    • hehasapoint says:

      Cavic only prepped for the 100 fly in Beijing, and maybe he was doping. Maybe his thinking was “I am the best 100 flyer in the world and I am on gear. How does this ‘clean’ athlete swimming 8 events beat me?” Again, not accusing either, but that could be a possibility and the basis of the accusation. Also, it isn’t ridiculous to think that the best and most profitable athlete in the sport could have access to substances that others do not have access to. I have never taken any banned substances in swimming, but if the media was all over me to be the greatest of all time and to win 8 gold medals in one Olympics, I think the temptation to dope would be extremely high. Much higher than the temptation to smoke, or the temptation to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, that is for sure!

  25. Ole 99 says:

    “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat…”

    Actually, that’s exactly what you are doing. That’s fine, just own it.

  26. Khaled says:

    #Salty

  27. Ervin says:

    Someone is still salty he lost

  28. Fluidg says:

    I’m sure MP’s samples are being preserved for future testing as new methods become available. Retirement won’t protect him if he wasn’t clean while he competed, so Cavic’s wrong about why MP didn’t speak out sooner.

  29. Markster says:

    I think Cavic makes a good point. I really don’t think he believes Phelps is a doper. However, I can imagine it is a little frustrating to see the one swimmer with serious influence over the sport only speak out against doping once he retires.

    • Swimfan says:

      Yeah but speaking out on it during his career would have been accusing his competitors of cheating.
      Also, he was training 24×7 and didn’t have time for that.

    • AvidSwimFan says:

      Actually he spoke about while competing, he just hasn’t put in this much effort because he’s been training to beat dopers.

  30. Paswim says:

    What. A. Bum.

  31. Sean S says:

    Didn’t Phelps and Torres both volunteer for an anti doing program in 2008 where there blood samples would be stored for longer so that they could be retested as anti-doping technologies evolved?

    • Satchmo says:

      doesn’t mean much when you are caught as a client of a known Canadian HGH dealer. (in reference to Dara)

  32. dude 2.0 says:

    Phelps made the Olympic Team at a young 15 years old… had a friggin’ bowl cut. He was a child. If that wasn’t an indication of his natural capacity, then nothing is. No way he was doping then. Much different story when we are talking about late 20 year old females who suddenly become best in the world in the 400IM once they marry their psycho boyfriends (e.g., Michelle Smith, Hosszu)…
    Cavic, probably ought to take some better aim. There are some offenders out there, and it probably ain’t Phelps. If you really want to fight drug cheats, think about who carries the most weight in the sport; don’t fight them.

    • SwimSwammer says:

      Cool distorted anecdotal evidence. This is the problem with these discussions, instead of focusing on methods to improve results they turn into weird jingoistic finger pointing fests.

      You made 2 points. That Phelps was good when he was 15, and people don’t dope then. And that Hosszu is suspicious because she burst onto the scene as an older athlete.
      Hosszu competed at 2004 Euros as a 15 year old, and is even now only 27 years old, so saying she just burst onto the scene as a late 20 year old isn’t accurate. She was a world champ in 2009 as a 20 year old and had a very successful collegiate career at SC.
      Also there have been plenty of positive doping tests at Youth Worlds. Just because someone is good when they’re young doesn’t mean they’re clean.

      I could easily have claimed that Hosszu is clean and Phelps is dirty based on your exact same points just twisted around, provided I’m equally okay with the hypocrisy of it (Ie Hosszu has been good for a long time and always swims multiple events, Phelps on the other hand took years off and still won a bunch of medals as a 31 y/o… suspicious!)

      • dude 2.0 says:

        you could, but you didn’t. And there is a reason you didn’t, because you know.

      • dude 2.0 says:

        and yes, you are correct. Katinka has been at a world class level for years (as was Michelle Smith, as was Marion Jones, as was… fill in the blank). then she married a psycho. then her body type changed. Then she was suddenly a boss at 12 different events that 8 years ago, she was not anywhere near the level she was at now. It is the same old story. So yes, all we have is anecdotal evidence, but it seems to tell a recurring story.

        Phelps, on the other hand, hasn’t gotten faster in any major event since 2009. But he was so good then, that even a mild decline can still win him medals. In fact, his performance relative to his age is consistent with Ervin, Lezak, Hall Jr., and many other male swimmers. In fact, it may even be more believable by Phelps because, physiologically, aerobic capacity is the slowest to decline with age.

        so I can continue to spell it out for you, or maybe you can come to some conclusions on your own without having to smack you with it on a swimblog.

        • HulkSwim says:

          ¯_(ツ)_/¯

          Katinka was 2:04 in the 2fly, 2:07 in the 2IM and 4:30 in the 4IM… In 2009 at the age of 20. With a ‘college’ look to her (dining hall diet, maybe some beer).

          She hasn’t really ever come close to that fly time, while transitioning into backstroke (which she never really competed in while at USC)… not a shocker for a 4IMer… and her IM’s have ‘drastically’ lowered to a 2:06 and 4:26, with much healthier/stricter living and being, you know, a professional.

          So 1 & 4 second drops in her primary races and an elite 200 stroke that evolved from fly to bk.

          In 7 years.

          As for her freestlye, it’s always been good- 4:38 in the 500 at NCAA’s 2009 and her relay splits have always been fantastic in the 800 Free Relay.

          But I guess some people see muscles on a girl and lose their minds.

          • SwimSwammer says:

            Thank you. I think the main issue people have with Hosszu is that she’s a woman with a lean physique. As you mention this really isn’t that strange that her physique has changed a bit while switching to a professional lifestyle and dialing her diet and nutrition in. And that she’s not American. Because god forbid anybody on her level could be from a different country!

          • dude 2.0 says:

            absolutely not true. And lets not forget, 2009 was “suit” aided. never under 430. Lots of foreign swimmers that deserve the cred. To suggest that it is because she is a woman and foreign is the ultimate “anecdotal” argument.

          • Dee says:

            I think we can learn a lot from how swimmers are spoken of by their peers. Something happened during the BBC coverage of swimming in Rio that seemed revealing. The BBC pundits gushed over every piece of greatness – Ledecky, Hagino, Peaty, Phelps, Manuel… One athlete wasnt so warmly received, I might go as far as to say this particular athlete was subtly taken-apart on air.

            Incidentally, Hosszu’s progress since being Champ in Rome.

            ’09 – 4.30.31*
            ’10 – 4.34.68
            ’11 – 4.42.93
            ’12 – 4.32.83
            ’13 – 4.30.41
            ’14 – 4.31.03
            ’15 – 4.30.39
            ’16 – 4.26.36

          • Aquajosh says:

            2009 was also the suit era.

          • completelyconquered says:

            You really need to look at her 2010-2012 years to see the rapid improvement.
            2010
            2:06.71 200 fly, 2:10.09 200 IM, 4:34.68 400 IM.
            2011
            2:10.06 200 fly, 2:11.24 200 IM, 4:42.93 400 IM.
            2012
            2:07.03 200 fly, 2:10.68 200 IM, 4:32.83 400 IM.

    • American hypocrite says:

      Ye Shiwen won two Olympic golds at a young 16 years old… had a friggin’ pixie cut. She was a child. If that wasn’t an indication of natural capacity, then nothing is. No way she was doping then.

      American hypocrisy runs deep.

  33. Fluidg says:

    I believe MP earned that amazing recovery ability in addition to his exceptional genetic make up. It isn’t in the realm of science fiction at all for someone with natural ability and a legendary work ethic. Remember when he nearly broke two WRs in a span of about 20 minutes very early in his career? He was able to handle the enormous volume of races in 2008 by managing his effort in each round to conserve energy. Very few swimmers were good enough to cruise through prelims and semifinals in any event, much less 5. That was the key to winning 8 golds. (Plus a little luck at Cavic’s expense.)

  34. Ferb says:

    If Cavic thinks Phelps’s recovery rate is nothing short of science fiction, I wonder what he thinks about Katinka Hosszu’s.

  35. Swammerererer says:

    we liked Cavic better when he went by Michael

  36. xenon says:

    I have been curious for a long time what effect of long term add medication use has on athletic performance. I can’t find any studies on it. Most of them are just looking at short time use. It is certainly working out for Simone Biles and Jack Conger. Michael Phelps had to have taken add medication growing up. Things like Adderall and Ritalin speed up your metabolism and probably give you an advantage similar to clenbuterol. If you take it for years like Phelps probably did, there could be lasting effects on your metabolism even after coming off of it. This may explain the science fiction recovery.

    • Satchmo says:

      He takes Gabapentin

      • Peter Davis says:

        This is the most interesting point in this thread. Recently Fancy Bear, no doubt in a state-sponsored effort at retribution for spoiling the Russian doping scam, released information to Russia Today that indicates Phelps was taking Gabapentin during the Olympic year. Gabapentin aka Neurontin is used to prevent seizures but is also a very effective drug in combating neuropathic pain, as well as being an oft-used anti-anxiolytic. In other words it is used to treat epilepsy, nerve pain(example from diabetes), and anxiety. Personally I don’t think it is any of our business, but since it is out there, I wonder why Phelps was taking it.

        • Taa says:

          TUE is a big area of abuse among dopers. I think it should be dealt with asap.

        • John Bradley says:

          My cat takes it as well – I’m not kidding – it helps her with pain from titanium implants to make her rear leg bones stronger since she only has one back leg.

      • anonymous says:

        Gabapentin is not a PED. It can be used for nerve pain, seizures, and anti-addiction treatment.

    • doctor says:

      You obviously don’t understand how ADD meds work or even a slight understanding of pharmacokinetics. ADD meds do not give you an advantage like clenbuterol.

  37. He Gets It Done Again says:

    Actually, people DO understand why Phelps has such a fast recovery capacity. As early as the 2003 World Championships Bowman and the USA staff were publicly sharing Phelps’s blood lactate levels!! They would take a sample right after he raced. As you might expect, the GOAT’s levels were insanely low. This means that his muscles are exceptionally efficient doing anaerobic work. They produce very little lactic acid, the natural byproduct of anaerobic work that causes fatigue and pain. So it’s misleading for Cavic to imply that Phelps’s ability is “science fiction”. It’s just science.

    • Satchmo says:

      Is it possible that epo or a blood transfusion could assist in those low numbers? In general.

    • SwimSwammer says:

      The role of lactic acid and fatigue really isn’t fully understood. At best the level of lactic acid production seems to show a correlative relationship with muscle fatigue, but it’s not entirely clear the mechanism.

      So, in response to your point, saying his blood lactate levels are insanely low doesn’t shed any new light or understanding on his recovery capabilities. It’s just another data point to go along with his ridiculous times in back-to-back race performances.

      It’s also not proof of doping or not. Just because we’ve measured his blood lactate levels doesn’t mean we know that it’s a result of genetics or PEDs.

    • xenon says:

      He was probably burning more fat as apposed to glycogen. Being more fat adapted makes you produce less lactate. If he was taking adhd meds that would explain it.

    • Peter Davis says:

      Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s science fact

  38. PKWater says:

    None of these comments by Cavic are unwarranted. I do believe Michael is clean but I can’t be sure. I believed Lance Armstrong was clean but he proved to be one of the greatest cheats in the history of sport. It is important for everything to be questioned today. It is important for everyone to be fully responsible for the type of sport that they want to participate in. This means that throughout ones entire career there needs to be full transparency if we want fully “clean” sport.

  39. ngb says:

    Grouping Phelps with Armstrong was a cheap-shot

  40. Dave says:

    “I’m not suggesting you’re a cheat, you’ve gradually improved your times throughout your career, but your recovery rate is nothing short of science fiction…” – so you’re saying Phelps is a cheat. Also, invoking Armstrong is both irrelevant and deliberately provocative. Weasely, equivocating words about an explosive topic, there Milorad. When you’re playing with fire, at least have the guts to mean what you say. Or shut up. Either one.

  41. bodybyfood says:

    I think another thing to consider is the amount of accusations leveled at an athlete during their career. Lance had many, as did Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, Mark McGuire, etc. There were enough people involved that stories started leaking.

    Dara Torres was suspicious (age, acquaintances) and Hozzsu has had a few public accusations. I don’t remember much, if any, about Phelps. If he was dirty there would have been more grumbling in light of his popularity and accomplishments (and I’m talking beyond the general “well he’s fast so he must be doping” stuff).

  42. Steff says:

    Ok so its one thing to make accusations without unsubstantiated evidence, which in my opinion shows poor sportsmanship. That isn’t even my biggest issue with this, and where in my opinion cavic comes off as bitter and petty. My main issue is that instead of sending him this so called letter of his concerns with mp in a private dm or email, he chooses to tag him with it on twitter. Come on let’s be real that’s just cowardish and attention seeking behavior

  43. Jack says:

    …says the guy who offered to buy Phelps a super suit when Phelps was taking a stand against them. Could that possibly be why Phelps didn’t get on board with your effort to level the playing field, Milorad?

    • meeee says:

      the first super suits were fitted by Speedo specifically for Phelps and developed in conjunction with Bowman while they were at Michigan. Once they saw it leveled the playing field quite a bit they were against the suits. That is a fact.

      • heh says:

        well yes but those suits were available in 2008 and they were fine with them. As a matter of fact didn’t they specifically attack the arena suits in 2009 because of the much larger advantages it provided? genuinely curious. I support the idea that people are innocent until proven guilty. Could phelps have doped, yeah. Am I gonna say he’s clean because he has passed all of the protocol and given his blood to be tested as the industries technology evolves, also yes.

  44. Adam says:

    Milorad, point on the doll…..

  45. CBswims says:

    Was Phelps previously asked/invited to speak in front of a congressional subcommittee, but declined? Was this his first invite?

    Also, many people don’t rock the boat while they are still in the boat, but more willing once out.

  46. Bruh says:

    It takes science fiction to win 8 gold in one olympics

  47. Uberfan says:

    Cavic basically said no offense but I’m gonna offend you

  48. Nick Kugler says:

    As both a former competitive swimmer and a big fan of Phelps, I want to believe that he is a stand up athlete who did not partake in any unauthorized doping during his career. Phelps’s performance and contributions to swimming have helped this sport grow in popularity and through this, a lot of competitive swimming programs, apparel and gear manufacturers, & swimming media outlets have grown and become successful when they otherwise would have had a very difficult time surviving in a sport that generally only gets mainstream media attention once every 4 years. This is something that can’t be argued and needs to be respected regardless of what comes from this story.

    All of this being taken into account, Cavic brings up a very fair point and correlating Phelps’s career to Lance Armstrong’s is an argument where, if Phelps is clean and clear of having doped in his career then it should be a very worry free topic for him to address. The other thing to bear in mind here is that as much as the sport has grown from having Phelps competing in it, Phelps also made a nice fortune having been an athlete competing in the sport, much like how Lance Armstrong did prior to him being found guilty of doping.

    I can’t take a side on this topic because quite frankly, we don’t have proof either way. The good thing about this discussion is that if Cavic is proven wrong then it makes Phelps look even more like a super hero in the eyes of the swimming community!

  49. swammer81 says:

    science fiction? maybe he’s talking about the cupping >_<

  50. E Gamble says:

    Bless his heart. He obviously has something in the works and is trying to draw attention to himself. I think this is a publicity stunt. Michael Phelps need not even clap back. Bye Cavic.?

  51. Marc says:

    Ive met Cavic on a few occasions and the guy is totally haunted by phelps. he needs to continue moving on in his life; he is just coming off as a sore loser. Not very sportsmanlike

  52. Veronica L Schenck says:

    Hi there Michael I think you are a very great swimmer keep up the great work please stay off the drugs and pay just keep swimming and do your best and keep getting all those gold medals for me please let me know when you do get more for me please thank you very much. Sincerely yours Veronica L Schenck I compete in special Olympics and I do the shot put and also do swimming too.

  53. Stallion6 says:

    Hey I almost forgot about Mr .01

  54. Eskimo says:

    The future of doping is gene editing

  55. Marlan McElroy says:

    Wow!! Cavic literally just came for PHELPS! Haha wayyyy too much shade.

  56. John Bradley says:

    Remember when he was Michael Cavic? That was a long time ago. Remember when anyone cared about anything he had to say? That was a long time ago as well. I’m not aware of any recent work Cavic has done to insure doping control but it’s nice to see him try to be the Joker to Phelps’ Batman. I’m sure in Cavic’s mind he still thinks he’s relevant.

  57. Cheatinvlad says:

    If anyone has seen Cavic lately it looks as if the only racing he’s been doing is to the fridge and back. I’m not saying he’s heavy, but his girth is nothing short of science fiction.

  58. Jim C says:

    If Phelps is Armstrong then swimming is cycling and Cavic is one of the top European cyclists who raced against him, and they were almost all on drugs too.

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About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson just can’t stay away from the pool. A competitive career of almost two decades wasn’t enough for this Minnesotan, who continues to get his daily chlorine fix. A lifelong lover of writing, Jared now combines the two passions as Senior Reporter for SwimSwam.com, covering swimming at every level. He’s an …

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