Washington (AFP) – Olympic swimming superstar Michael Phelps, who retired from the sport after taking six medals at the 2012 London Olympics, will make his competitive comeback next week at a U.S. Grand Prix series event in Mesa, Arizona, USA Swimming announced Monday.
The 28-tear-old returned to the anti-doping test program last year and his coach, Bob Bowman, had hinted at a comeback, which could see the record 22-time Olympic medalist continue his career all the way to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
Phelps won four golds and two silvers at London, giving him a record 18 gold medals, including an unprecedented eight in a single Games at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
A possible target for Phelps would be the U.S. Championships in Irvine, California, August 6-10. That will be the American team selection meet for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia.
Bowman said that should Phelps return he would likely concentrate on relays and shorter events, including the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle.
Phelps and fellow Olympic champions and world record holders Ryan Lochte and Katie Ledecky were announced as swimming in the Arizona event April 24-26.
Bowman told USA Today and the Chicago Tribune last month that Phelps has been training an average of five times a week.
“He looks like he is definitely in shape,” Bowman told the Tribune.
While Phelps had downplayed rumors that he was considering a return to competition in time for the Rio Olympics, he rejoined the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s testing pool last year, and now that he’s been available for testing for six months is eligible to compete.