- Title: Phelps calls Tunisian Hafnaoui's win 'unbelievable', Briton Peaty 'a stud'
- Date: 25th July 2021
- Summary: RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL (FILE - AUGUST 3, 2016) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF U.S. OLYMPIAN MICHAEL PHELPS WALKING OUT ON TO STAGE FOR NEWS CONFERENCE (SOUNDBITE) (English) OLYMPIAN MICHAEL PHELPS, SAYING: "You know I guess it is for me having just that opportunity to lead the team out, I mean I'm leading for me the best country in the world and, you know, to be nominated by your peers it's a pretty awesome feeling." VARIOUS OF PHELPS LEAVING STAGE AFTER NEWS CONFERENCE
- 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: LVA008ENC8UH3
- 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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