From Sun News Services
August 25, 2008
"I am looking forward to trying some new events, some events I've never really had the opportunity to swim since my schedule is always so crowded," Phelps, of Rodgers Forge, said yesterday while taking part in the British capital's handover celebrations.
Phelps, fresh from the Beijing Olympics, in which he won a record eight gold medals, said he has never competed in a backstroke event at a major international meet or in the 100-meter freestyle.
"No breaststroke, no distance swimming, no open-water swimming," Phelps said. "At least those guys will still be my friends."
The American, 23, also confirmed that the 2012 Games will be his last Olympics.
"I've never wanted to go beyond 30," he said. "I may go a few years beyond the Olympics. I said to my coach, 'Don't get any ideas, because I don't want to compete beyond 30,' and he said, 'That's good, because I don't want to coach you past the age of 30.'"
Phelps has said Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are the two superstars he would most like to meet after his exploits in China, and he could be emulating one of them already.
Woods took time at the pinnacle of his career to remodel his swing to renew his dominance, and Phelps is speaking of altering the training program he has followed for the past decade.
Phelps said the changes suggested by coach Bob Bowman could help rejuvenate him mentally and physically after what he described as the most grueling period of his life.
"Bob said to me that he's going to take everything he's done coaching me and throw it out the door and try something completely different, just to see how it works," Phelps said. "We'll try a bunch of new things. If we're successful, great. If not, we can go back to what we've been doing."
Only a supremely confident athlete would contemplate moving away from a program that has brought a record 14 Olympic gold medals, an unprecedented eight at one Games and the unofficial title of history's greatest swimmer.
But "confident" sums up Phelps pretty well.
Despite arriving in London late Saturday, Phelps posed good-naturedly with one of his medals through 10 minutes of blinding camera flashes - adopting each of the poses requested of him with an easy manner and enthusiasm.
Poster childThe Sports Illustrated Group announced that today's Sports Illustrated cover featuring Phelps wearing all eight of his 2008 Olympic gold medals will be commissioned as a poster. The poster is a first for the magazine.
"I have spoken at length about my desires to help grow the sport of swimming, and I am truly honored that Sports Illustrated has chosen to create this commemorative poster for fans across the U.S. and around the world," Phelps said.
The poster will be available beginning today at retail partner Fine Art Limited (www.fineartlimited.com) or by calling 800-544-5239. Posters will be 13 inches by 18 inches ($15) and 18 inches by 24 inches ($19.95). Previously, Sports Illustrated had published posters featuring iconic images from the pages of the magazine, but never a cover for mass distribution.
Also, Nikco Sports will produce a limited-edition, framed and double-matted photograph that contains eight photos of Phelps holding up his gold medal after each victory, a montage made to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harford County. Phelps is on the honorary board of directors for the club.
The 14-inch-by-16-inch framed collectible will sell for $99, and Phelps will get No.8 from the collection of 2,008 pieces produced. These can be purchased by calling 800-345-2868 or visiting www.nikcosports.com. Each photo comes with a numbered certificate of authenticity.
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