By Nick Craddock
Day 1 of the London 2012 Olympics has concluded and it seems Michael Phelps’ road to becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time will be a winding, typical English countryside road, rather than a straight, smooth expressway to glory.
Phelps finished fourth in the men’s 400-meter individual medley final and the 16-time medalist was more than four seconds slower than fellow countrymen and rival Ryan Lochte. Both swimmers were expected to give the crowd at the Olympic Aquatic Centre a memorable head-to-head showdown, but Phelps was a shell of his normal dominant self, whereas Lochte was ready to capitalize on what may be a changing of the guard in the pool.
In fact, Phelps has seemed askew since a mediocre U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, nearly four years after his record-setting eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics.
Perhaps a tad early to push the panic button with Phelps set to swim in six more events (and therefore have a chance for six more medals), Phelps, who appeared noticeably frazzled and at a loss for words after failing to medal in an event for the first time since he was a 15-years-old, may be in danger of slipping from the summit of swimming we have all watched him so effortlessly climb. Continue reading