A comeback may be in the works for swimmer Michael Phelps, his coach seemed to hint Tuesday when he mentioned upcoming competitions and even the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman told the Chicago Tribune
that Phelps, who has been training during the past nine months and “looks like he is definitely in shape,” will probably compete in a meet “sometime soon.”
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Phelps hasn’t competed since 2012.
Speculation about a comeback stirred last year when he rejoined a drug testing program required for competition. He became eligible for competition this month.
The 2014 U.S. Championships are set for August in Irvine, Calif. That competition is the selection meet for U.S. team for the 2015 World Championships.
“If he swims a meet in the next couple months and does well, he will probably give it a shot in Irvine,” Bowman said, according to the Chicago Tribune. “But he doesn’t have to do that to have a shot at the 2016 Olympics.”
If Phelps did compete in Rio, it would be his fifth Olympic appearance.
Bowman told USA Today Sports that Phelps likely will start with shorter events
, such as the 100-meter butterfly and 100-meter freestyle.
"Something short to see if he's got any speed or how his strokes are doing, that kind of thing," Bowman said.
The coach’s comments were vague and noncommittal.
"I think he feels pretty good about where he is," he told USA Today. "We'll just kind of look around at some upcoming meets and maybe let him swim an event or two and see how it goes."
Phelps, 28, holds a record 18 Olympic gold medals and 22 medals overall.
Fans took to Twitter to express their reactions.
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