He's back ... unless he's not.
Rumors that Michael Phelps, already the most decorated Olympian, is planning to come out of retirement sent the swimming community abuzz Friday night.
Phelps, the Baltimore native who retired with a lifetime 22 medals, 18 of them gold after the 2012 London Games, threw some water on the notion that spread after a blogger and a Florida television station said he was headed back to the pool.
"Why do I keep getting texts about coming back? Do [people] really believe everything they hear or read?" Phelps tweeted. "There are [too] many [people] in the world that think they have a 'story.'"
Still, everyone from fellow Olympic swimmers such as Janet Evans and Rowdy Gaines, the swimming press and Phelps fans filled Twitter celebrating the possible comeback.
Peter Busch of NBC2 in Fort Myers reported Friday that Phelps "had a change of heart" recently and would be training for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The report's credence was helped by the fact that Busch's father, Frank, is the director of the U.S. national swim team.
Casey Barrett, of the Caps & Goggles blog, posted on Friday that "the upper reaches of the swimming world are swirling with the chatter" that Phelps is mounting a comeback. "The folks in-the-know, the top coaches and swimmers, the ones just a degree or two removed from Phelps himself, they’re all talking about it," wrote the blogger, whose bio says he trained at North Baltimore Aquatic Club, competed for Canada in the butterfly and co-founded Imagine Swimming in New York.
Since his retirement, Phelps has been appearing on the reality show, The Haney Project, on the Golf Channel. His coach, Bob Bowman, has spent the past week at the Olympic Training Center working with other top-level swimmers, including Chase Kalisz of Fallston, who like Phelps trains at North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Bowman declined to comment.
Why do I keep getting texts about coming back? Do ppl really believe everything they hear or read? There are ... m.tmi.me/VVJFR— Michael Phelps (@MichaelPhelps) May 18, 2013