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Phelps already eyeing more gold in London

OLYMPICS: LONDON, Aug 30, 2008; - US swimming sensation Michael Phelps warned Sunday that he is already eyeing more gold at the London Games in 2012.

Phelps became the most decorated medallist in Olympic history with 14 gold medals from Beijing and Athens, including a record eight gold in China, the most by an athlete at any single Games.

Michael Phelps - the US swimming sensation who had a record haul of eight Gold in China - the most by any single competitor, is preparing for the challenge of the London Games in four years time.

But rather than sitting back and enjoying his achievements, the 23-year-old from Baltimore is already preparing himself for the challenge of the London Games in four years time.

And after arriving in London for the Olympic handover party he explained how he was hoping to take his swimming skills to another level, including tackling new events such as the backstroke.

Olympic athletes dream of being part of the Olympics every four years, he said. Right after the Olympics are over, our mindset is already focused on the next four years and what we can do to change how we prepare and try some new things and thats something Im looking forward to now.

I still have things that I want to do in the sport, Ive never competed over here in London and Im looking forward to really experiencing more of the city and be able to prepare myself to hopefully swim some fast times.

Ive no idea what Im really going to do but Im looking forward to trying some new events and swimming some events that I havent really had the opportunity to swim since my schedule is always so crowded, said Phelps.

Ive never really swum the backstroke or the 100m freestyle at a major international competition so Bob (Bowman), my coach, is going to throw everything he has ever done coaching me out of the door and try something completely different just to see how it works.

No breaststroke, no distance swimming, no open water - at least those guys will still be my friends, said Phelps.

Im excited for the next four years and today is the kick-off for the next four years.

Trying out new things

We are just trying a bunch of new things and if its successful then great and if not then we can go back to what we were doing. But Im looking forward to having some changes because the last 10 or 15 years have been the same thing the whole time.

Ive got some pretty lofty dreams in my head and those goals are going to stay there until they are accomplished, said the American.

But Phelps accepts he faces even tougher challenges to stay at the top of his sport after his outstanding performances in Beijing. This has been one of the hardest things Ive ever done, to be able to swim 17 times and make sure that I have to be ready to swim at my beat in every one of those races because Im competing against people who are focusing just on that one race.

I know that its not going to be easy getting there and there are going to be some bumps in the road here and there - but everybody has bumps in the road and it really just depends on how you get over those and make sure it doesnt happen again.

I dont think its going to be perfect but its going to be fun over the next few years while I finish off my career, claimed Phelps, who is adamant London will be his last Olympics.

I told myself I would never compete past the age of 30.

I started swimming when I was seven and I told my coach Im not swimming past the age of 30 so dont get any ideas.

He said Thats good because I dont want to coach you past the age of 30.

Bob and I have had a great relationship and I wouldnt trade him for the world so Im happy that hes willing to put up with me for four more years. AFP



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