Phelps hoping Rio swansong hits the right notes

Fri Jul 22, 2016 9:23pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

TORONTO (Reuters) - Having ended his career once in London on what he considered a sour note, Michael Phelps enters the Rio de Janeiro Olympics pool for his second swansong determined to bow out on his own terms.

Inspired, motivated and sober, Phelps heads to Rio with the chance to add to his record total of 22 medals and to pen the happy ending he feels he denied himself four years earlier.

At the 2012 London Olympics, which he also declared would be his last, Phelps won four gold and six medals but walked away filled with the regret that he simply went through the motions rather than embracing the moment.

"Going into '12, I just didn't want to do it," the 31-year-old said at the U.S. Olympic swim trials in Nebraska last month.

"I tried to fake it. I wanted to get in and out as fast as I could and really wanted nothing to do with it.

"That haunted me for a while.

"I came back because I wanted to. I wanted to do this for me. I'm enjoying the moment and I'm embracing the moment and taking it one step at a time.

"Being able to fall in love with the sport again is something that I've always wanted to do again and I did it on my terms."   Continued...

Michael Phelps (C) of the U.S. swims the butterfly stroke during his team's victory in the men's 4x100 meters medley relay at the National Aquatics Center during the Beijing 2008 Olympics August 17, 2008. Picture taken with underwater camera.    REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File photo