- Title: Phelps calls Tunisian Hafnaoui's win 'unbelievable', Briton Peaty 'a stud'
- Date: 25th July 2021
- Summary: TOKYO, JAPAN (JULY 25, 2021) (REUTERS) MICHAEL PHELPS LISTENING DURING THE INTERVIEW (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL PHELPS, 23-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL-WINNING U.S. SWIMMER, ON MENTAL HEALTH FOR ATHLETES DURING PANDEMIC, SAYING: "The one thing that I really enjoy about over the last I guess year and a half is people are looking at mental health and physical health and putting them together. Right. That's what makes us as human beings. So if we're able to put as much time into our physical health as we do, or excuse me, as much time into our mental health as we do our physical health, you're only going to be stronger. You're only going to have the chance to be even better than you've ever been before. So I love being able to see this and hear this because they're able to control what they can control. Right. Thinking back to what we were talking about, you know, being able to have that too whenever you're in a situation, whenever you're going through something, there's somebody there that you can trust and talk to you. And for me, communication is so important. So I love it. I think it's incredible. Hats off. I mean, that's probably a hell of a lot more than a lot of other countries are doing that other teams are doing so. In order to give yourself that best chance, you have to look at everything, the big picture. So it's incredible."
- Embargoed: 8th August 2021 09:20
- Keywords: Michael Phelps Olympian Michael Phelps Olympic swimming Olympics Tokyo 2020 Tokyo Olympics sports swimmer Michael Phelps swimming
- Location: TOKYO, JAPAN / RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL / BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- City: TOKYO, JAPAN / RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL / BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, UNITED STATES / LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Olympics,Sport,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA00CENC8UH3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Michael Phelps hailed Ahmed Hafnaoui for his "unbelievable swim" on Sunday (July 25), saying the 18-year-old Tunisian's shock victory in the men's 400m freestyle was a great example of how swimming at the Tokyo Games is likely to have a series of wide-open races.
Hafnaoui was the slowest qualifier but, from lane eight, held off fancied Australian Jack McLoughlin and American Kieran Smith for a huge upset.
"Unbelievable swim, I think he knocked almost five seconds off his PB (personal best)," Phelps told reporters in Tokyo. "The difference between these Olympics and the past, in my opinion, is that every single person in the final has a chance of winning gold - it doesn't matter if you are in lane one, eight, or four, everyone is close.
Phelps said he was unsure whether one of the drivers of that levelling up was the impact of COVID-19 and the consequent disappearance of so many races and training opportunities. "You can probably go both ways with that," he said.
Though he has an obvious interest in the performances of his fellow Americans, Phelps said he was also particularly impressed by Briton Adam Peaty, who is defending his 100 metres breaststroke title after having totally dominated the event for years.
"He is an absolute stud," Phelps said. "To have 14 of the top 15 times ever swum in that race - he's doing things that, besides being impressive, are crazy. (Peaty now has the top 16 fastest swims in the event).
Phelps retired - for the second time - after the 2016 Rio Games with an astonishing 23 gold medals to his name and was speaking in one of his new roles as an ambassador for official Olympic timekeeper Omega.
(Production: Nathan Frandino, Mitch Phillips)
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