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Phelps, 'enjoying the ride,' leaves Beijing

August 20, 2008
(Page 2 of 2)

Phelps can always ring Down Under and seek Thorpey's advice.

"I'm happy to help him out if he wants a hand with some of these things," the Aussie said.

Phelps' mother, Debbie, was a visible presence in Beijing, along with his two older sisters. Bowman said Phelps' father, Fred, didn't attend the games, as he did in 2000 and 2004 when he stayed out of the spotlight and sat separately from his ex-wife and daughters. Phelps frequently praises his mother publicly for her devotion to him and his career, while never discussing his father.

Asked to describe their relationship, Bowman said, "I think it's just distant. I don't think it's good or bad. There's not much there."

Phelps will return to the international swimming stage at next summer's world championships in Rome, where Bowman said he'll focus on relays and shorter events, including the 100-meter freestyle and one of the backstroke events.

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"It's like Michael said the other day, 'Debbie wants to go to Rome, I want to go to Rome, that's why we're going,"' the coach said. "It'll just be what it is. He could probably do without it."

Phelps plans to return for his fourth Olympics in 2012 and he's not ruling out swimming eight events again.

"I'm never, ever ruling it out," he said. "We just have to play it by ear and see how things go, but definitely start some new events and see where it takes us."

And hey, Michael Jordan, Phelps is still awaiting your phone call.

"I talk about him in every interview. I want to meet him," the golden guy said. "He's that one guy I really, really wanted to meet my whole life."

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