Michael Phelps sets high expectations for Caeleb Dressel in Tokyo
Tokyo, Jul 25 (EFE).- Former American competitive swimmer Michael Phelps said Sunday that fellow United States athlete Caeleb Dressel has an “impressive” track record and the opportunity to achieve “something special” in Tokyo 2020.
He also praised Team USA veteran swimmer Chase Kalisz’s first American gold medal achieved in the 400 meters individual medley, as well as underdog Tunisian teenager Ahmed Hafnaoui’s shock win in the men’s 400m freestyle.
The American swimming legend retired after the Rio 2016 Games, but is attending Tokyo 2020 as a sports commentator.
During a meeting with the media, he was asked whether 24-year-old Dressel could become his heir in dominating world rankings in swimming.
“Only time will tell,” he said, although he praised Dressel’s achievements in the past few years and his all around technical progress.
The Olympic legend admitted it was bizarre to assist the Games as a spectator rather than an athlete, and celebrated that the event could go ahead despite the coronavirus global pandemic.
Phelps, who is the athlete with the most medals amassed in Olympic history, noted that the lack of spectators in stadiums could explain less impressive results than previous years, as athletes are deprived of extra support from the sidelines.
He also stressed the importance of athletes paying attention to their mental health, as he recalled that he has gone through a severe depression himself in the past.
Phelps commended Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka for her ability to empower herself by exposing her vulnerability, having refused to participate in press conferences during the French Open this year for mental health reasons. EFE