With his participation in the 2012 U.S. Swimming Trials finished, Michael Phelps is eligible to participate in eight events -- five individual races and three relays -- the same program that won him a record-setting eight golds in Beijing in 2008.
But Phelps is four years older, and the 2012 Olympics will be his last international competition. Will he be choose to undergo the arduous task of participating in all eight events at this stage in his career, or focus on winning the races he has the best chances of winning? Phelps and his coach, Bob Bowman are leaving it open-ended:
"We’re gonna think about it, we’re gonna talk about it. We wanted to wait until we finished all of the events and see."
"He wants to swim a lot of events that he can win, instead of a lot of events. We only want to put him in a situation where he can get wins. I think you can pick three or four [individual races]. The fewer the better his chances are."
That would indicate Phelps would choose to drop one of his individual races. Phelps won the trials for four of his five individual races, but lost the 400 IM to Ryan Lochte. Phelps had not participated in the 400 IM for some time before the trials, and therefore it seems the most likely event for Phelps to drop.
However, USA Swimming said that the Phelps' status is least certain in the 400 free relay. Relays are easier on a swimmer, since Phelps himself wouldn't have to participate in the heats to qualify for a final in order to win a medal, and therefore he could save precious energy during his hectic Olympics schedule.
That said, we won't get any indication on Phelps' schedule for some time. For all we know, he might defy the odds and go for gold in all eight events one more time.
Stay with our StoryStream for the latest from the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Swimming in Omaha, Neb., as Team USA is decided.