Will Michael Phelps end his Olympic Career with 27 Medals? Gold Medal Minute Presented by SwimOutlet.com

Gold Medal Minute presented by SwimOutlet.com

Michael Phelps appears to be pondering adding 200 butterfly to his event schedule. In terms of his Olympic medal count, this is “potentially” a positive sign.

CONFESSION: Since Phelps comeback I’ve wondered if Coach Bowman was gently suggesting event options. I can hear Bowman saying something like this…

Bob Bowman & Michael Phelps at the 2014 Arena Grand Prix in Mesa (courtesy of Mike Lewis)

Bob Bowman & Michael Phelps  (courtesy of Mike Lewis)

Michael, 200 fly isn’t a tough race. It’s pacing, distance per stroke, and you could probably medal in Rio off your years and years of aerobic-base already banked.   

I have no clue what their conversations are, but it’s fun to consider. I could just as easily imagine Bowman being blunt:

Michael….not racing 200 fly, for you, is an enormous opportunity loss. You need to do it. 200 fly offers you everything, a way to focus on more challenging training, potentially another medal.  Do it…. I’m telling you, you need to do it. Doooo iiiit… 

Michael Phelps (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Michael Phelps (photo: Mike Lewis, Ola Vista Photography)

Does anyone else want to take a crack at what their conversations might be? Share in the comments.   

Phelps looked rough at the Charlotte Pro Swim. I think that’s a great sign, and he said he’s done more 200 butterfly training in the last 6 months than all of the years combined since 2008.

Looking forward to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, I think the competition will be all about medal-count with respect to Phelps, all about sealing his legacy with a mind-boggling number, seemingly unreachable. I think he’ll end his career with “at least” 27 medals, meaning he wins 5 more in Brazil.   Yes, I’d like to see Phelps swim personal best times, break a world record, but at the end of the day, the narrative is medal count. Moreover, I don’t think the color of the medals will matter when we look back 10, 20, 50 years from now.


I’ll go this far. Phelps wins 5 more medals.  I think he swims 100 and 200 butterfly, 200 IM, 4×100 free relay, 4×200 free relay and 4×100 medley.  That’s six events.  If Phelps has an off race, he’s still got five more races to medal.   As mentioned above, I don’t think the color of the medals matter, but I think — at this point in the ramp up to Rio — Phelps will win 3 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.  FINAL THOUGHT:  If Phelps struggles, has an off Olympics in Rio, I think winning merely one more medal matters.  22 medals is already beyond what most of us could’ve imagined. One more makes the medal-count that much harder to reach for future Olympic stars.

What are your Michael Phelps predictions for the 2016 Olympic Games? 


This is a Gold Medal Media production presented by SwimOutlet.com. Host Gold Medal Mel Stewart is a 3-time Olympic medalist and the co-founder of SwimSwam.com, a Swimming News website.

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200 im 1:54.3, 1st place

100 fly 50.40, 1st place

4×100, 47.3 split. Usa 2nd

4×200 1:44.8 split, usa 2nd

4×100 50.2 split usa 1st

3 gold 2 silver.


I can see that! He can swim the 200IM that fast, but I’m not sure if that will happen. That would be great though, 4th Olympics in a row. And I would give a first place on the 4x200m free, historically it’s theirs, and I think they can make it again. An Olympic Record on the 100m fly would be amazing to finish his career!


Who wins the 4x 200? Australia? Russia? Japan? France?


Great Britain has a very strong chance as well. I think the U.S. can pull the 4×200, but the 4×100 is gonna have to be about flawless if we want a medal of any color.


Keep in mind that the textile “record” in the 100 fly is exactly that: a 50.40 …which will be 11 years old in 2016 (crocker, 2005 worlds). MP breaking that would be incredible. Not impossible, but definitely incredible. A 50.3 or better should confirm phelps as being the greatest 100 flyer of all time.


Swap the 4×100 medley and 4×200 free medals around and I’d agree!


These predictions seemed like crazy talk in June. Now they sound a little conservative…

Canadian Shark

Bowman has gone on the record to state that Phelps’ 200 Fly in London was literally “smoke and mirrors” – the only reason he even came second was due to the aerobic base from Beijing.

With more focused training, Phelps should be able to dominate this event in Rio. That said the 200 fly is a taxing event for anyone let alone someone over 30 years old. I think his performance in August at Nationals will be able to answer a lot of burning questions.

Swimmer A

I think the US Open will tell us a little more about what phelps will swim at trials next year. If he wants to swim the 2 fly at Rio then the training towards it would have to be starting now at the latest. So if he does the work and his 200s look good this summer, then yea I could see it. But as far as medaling in the 2 fly… I think those 1:55s are gonna drop a lot from now till Rio. Le Clos and Seto were hitting 1:54 a few days ago at the Mare Nostrum. Other guys like schooling, de deus, Sakai, just keep improving. To medal I think it will take a 1:52 in… Read more »

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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