An emotional and rejuvenated Michael Phelps confirmed Wednesday what the swimming world had long assumed — he’ll try to add to his record total of 22 Olympic medals at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Phelps made his Olympic intentions plain the day before his return to competition after a six-month suspension for drunk driving. He’ll swim the 100-meter butterfly at the Mesa Arena Pro Swim Series meet on Thursday.
His presence promises a festive atmosphere here and greater attention for the sport as eyes turn toward the 2016 Olympics.
“I’m really excited,” fellow Olympic gold medalist Breeja Larson said of Phelps’ Rio announcement. “I think he brings a lot of excitement to the sport and a lot of spectators. The more spectators there are, the more fun it is for us. And it’s really cool to be part of a team with veterans who’ve gone through a lot and to see his example of how he handles different situations with media and crowds.”
Phelps, who grew up in Rodgers Forge and lives and trains in Baltimore, described a period of “brutal” self-examination in the wake of his arrest last September but said he’s emerged as a happier person and a more dedicated swimmer.
“In workouts, I feel like a kid again, I really do,” Phelps, 29, said in his most extensive public remarks since the arrest .
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