Ryan Lochte Says Michael Phelps will Return for 2016 Rio Olympics

According to the Telegraph, 11-time Olympic medalist, Ryan Lochte, says 22-time Olympic medalist, Michael Phelps, will return to competition by the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

”Michael Phelps says he’s retired. The sport will miss him, he is one of my favourite rivals and I will miss him. But I think he will come back,” Lochte said. ”When you do something for so long every day … he’s still young. I think he will be back for Rio,” Lochte added. ”We’ll see, he’ll miss the sport.”

Phelps has been adamant he’s done, despite several close swimming peers predicting he’ll come back. Many of these Olympic brothers and sister haven’t gone on the record. They’ve shared their opinions in private, at the fall parties and numerous awards shows following the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Other Olympians have gone on the record, publically, like Dara Torres. After she barely missed making the 2012 Olympic Team, she tweeted Phelps wouldn’t stay retired, and asked her followers, “anyone care to wager?” Phelps replied that he would take that bet. 

Anthony Ervin, who, like Torres, came out of retirement, tweeted, if Phelps doesn’t come back, “I’ll eat my fins.”

Bottom-line, Lochte’s far from alone in his opinion.

Something many Olympians know — and many fans understand — is that most athletes suffer retirement blues. This is a fact, no matter how successful an athlete has been. In retirement they go through a period of depression. Adjusting to normal life is not easy. The struggle is physical and chemical. Your body changes dramatically when you stop training 10 to 15 sessions per week. The daily “high” from pushing yourself to the extreme is not something you expect to suffer withdrawal from, but you do. Moreover, the singular goal of reaching a personal best time is replaced by slightly “fuzzier” goals (though just as important), like career milestones, simply staying healthy, and giving back to your family and community.

Phelps appears to be on the right path to make a smooth transition into his post Olympic life, feeding his competitive spirit with golf, focusing on his Foundation to giveback to the sport he loves. It appears he’s given retirement a great deal of thought. It appears he’s following a plan.

What keeps everyone guessing, and hoping Phelps will return, is his age. Phelps is still young. No one doubts for a split-second he could add more Olympic hardware to his 22 medal haul in Rio. Then again…no one else in the world has experienced winning so much, and 22 medals may be more than enough for the greatest Olympian of all-time.

Stay tuned…

Ryan Lochte is presently at the FINA Short Course World Championships in Turkey. On day one of prelims he qualifed first in the 200 scm freestyle with a 1:42.41, and first the 100 scm butterfly with a 50.16. 

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8 years ago

As he often tells us, “Listen to Ryan Lochte.” I think he’s right on this one, actually.

Ben
Reply to  Gold Medal Mel Stewart
8 years ago

Even if we restrict ourselves to just talking about Olympians, I think most of them after they finish–no matter how well it went–think back and wonder if they could have gotten another medal or that gold or silver instead of the bronze or even just a better time. (whatever the case may be). I think after Beijing Phelps truly left nothing on the table and would argue he’s the only one ever to have “truly” done that. I think that will make it easier for him to retire (unfortunately).

aswimfan
8 years ago

This is not so much news.
Even I, a lay person, already predicted that Phelps would un-retire for Rio the same minute Phelps announced he would retire after London.

Admin
Reply to  aswimfan
8 years ago

aswimfan, glad you’re back! Where have you been??

Justin Thompson
Reply to  aswimfan
8 years ago

Dude is done…he didn’t even want to be a guest at the SC Worlds. He’s going to be so far out of shape in two years that he won’t be able to come back. Just look at Thorpe.

Philip Johnson
8 years ago

I hope Phelps comes back! The US could use him on the relays!

Jam-t
8 years ago

I will predict that he will at least swim the US trials in 2016 and will qualify in at least 2 events.

cynthia curran
8 years ago

Well, if Michael comes back just do the 100 meter freestyle and 100 meter fly, if he comes back sooner the 200’s, a Mark Spitz schedule.

Reply to  cynthia curran
8 years ago

that would be one of the best reasons to come back actually ! he had a huge 100 free in him

liquidassets
8 years ago

If you really want Phelps to unretire, then we should leave him alone. He is stubborn, hates to lose bets, and might stay retired just to prove everyone wrong! 😉 Related to this, my own opinion is that he currently believes he is permanently retired and may not even know himself for sure for a couple years whether he wants to come back to swim a couple events in Rio; so there’s no use speculating until at least late 2014 or early 2015 at the earliest.

And at that point, the only effective way to motivate Phelps to unretire would be to appeal to his U.S. loyalty if the relays are “in trouble” at point, or to make the… Read more »

8 years ago

wagger?
Oh, Dara…

liquidassets
Reply to  Bill Volckening
8 years ago

It’s actually an urban dictionary word. wagger= to wager with swagger on something…

Reply to  liquidassets
8 years ago

Thanks for clearing that up. I just thought it meant that Dara and Ryan went to the same college…

…oh wait…they did…

(nevermind)

liquidassets
Reply to  Bill Volckening
8 years ago

hahaha! I was trying to help her save face. Anyway it’s a great party school, eh? 😉

liquidassets
8 years ago

I forgot to say, also keep in mind that Lochte is older than Phelps and mentally will be looking for all the inspiration he can find to make it through then next quadrennium to Rio. Not that he won’t be facing fierce competition already, but he probably also needs to keep the hope of a Phelps comeback alive for his own sake, since he’ll be 31 or 32 by 2016. I think others have mentioned this, but I also think Lochte was smart to drop the 4 IM for that reason.

boo 400im
Reply to  liquidassets
8 years ago

also the 4im sucks…

liquidassets
Reply to  boo 400im
8 years ago

Quitting the 4IM is almost always the first stepping stone down the far side of a career arc to an eventual retirement– Evans, Sanders, Sandeno, Phelps…. now Lochte. And who can blame them? Will be interesting to see if Beisel quits the 4IM after Rio or continues in Energizer Bunny mode.

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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