Phelps coy on precise Rio plan

 Michael Phelps (AFP)
Michael Phelps (AFP)

New York - Michael Phelps has learned the value of candor, but the swimming superstar is still keeping his cards close to his chest when it comes to his specific Rio Olympics plans.

The 30-year-old American, expecting his first child with fiancee Nicole Johnson in May, speaks movingly of impending fatherhood and how it has given added resonance to a renewed relationship with his own father – one of the benefits of treatment he underwent after a second drunk-driving arrest in 2014.

At swim meets around the country, sponsor's junkets and, this week, at the US Olympic Committee's pre-Rio Media Summit in Los Angeles, Phelps has touched on the kind of personal matters he once shied away from in interviews.

"I want to show people who I am," Phelps said. "They've seen me as just a swimmer."

What the public makes of the real Phelps is up to them, he said.

"To be quite honest, whatever opinion you have of me, that's fine. I am who I am, and I'm not sugarcoating anything."

But Phelps, whose record 22 Olympic medals include an astonishing 18 gold, isn't giving away the game plan for Rio.

As in the build-up to the Athens Olympics, his sensational eight-gold campaign in Beijing, and what he once expected to be his last Games in London, Phelps won't confirm just what events he's aiming at in Rio.

"That's just a no-no question," Phelps said. "That's just a question I flat-out won't answer. I've never answered that."

Phelps has won three straight Olympic titles in the 100m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

He won the 100m fly at the 2015 US championships in a time faster than that posted by Chad le Clos in winning gold at the world championships – which Phelps missed because of the sanction for his DUI.

The 200m butterfly – the first event in which a teenaged Phelps set a world record – could well be in the mix. He won it in Athens in 2004 and in Beijing but settled for silver in London.

He'll also no doubt vie to add to his healthy stash of relay gold.

"I think it's pretty obvious," Phelps said. "I'm not going to tell you exactly what they are, what we're going to do. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what I'm going to try."

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