Michael Phelps guaranteed he was done swimming competitively in August. Teammates on the USA swimming team, from Ryan Lochte to Katie Ledecky, were skeptical at the time, after Phelps proved that, with five gold medals in Rio de Janeiro, he was not only history’s most decorated Olympic athlete, but still its most superior.
More than four months after Phelps said he was done, he reiterated his stance in a recent piece for the January edition of Forbes magazine, saying he was “definitely” not coming back and that he was ready to channel his competitiveness into something else.
Because he’s said that before, yet subsequently returned to dominate, whether Phelps is indeed finished will be a question that follows him for a while. It’s a topic he’ll perhaps be challenged on again in March, when he makes a public appearance at the Hyatt Regency Resort & Spa in Indian Wells.
Phelps, 31, will be the keynote speaker at the annual Champion Honors Luncheon to benefit the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children. The event, held March 3 at 11:30 a.m., typically draws several hundred, and has been headlined previously by former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and baseball Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Willie Mays, among others.
The Barbara Sinatra Center is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 by Barbara and Frank Sinatra as a facility to council children suffering from the effects of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and to work toward prevention, community education and breaking the cycle of generational abuse. The center, located in Rancho Mirage, serves around 1,000 children annually.
The luncheon is significant to fundraising efforts, which is essential to keeping the center open and operating.
“I applaud the efforts of Barbara and Frank in establishing a facility and program 30 years ago for children who have suffered abuse,” Phelps said in a prepared statement, adding that he was “extremely honored” to speak at the event.
Phelps will greet guests, pose for photos with attendees, and share stories from his illustrious athletic career, which included five Olympic appearances and a record 28 medals — 23 of which were gold. He’ll be joined by an unnamed celebrity guest, who’ll lead a discussion in a question-and-answer format during the lunch, similar to how Selig and Aaron held their open conversation a year ago.
“He’s a big name,” said John Thoresen, Executive Director of the Barbara Sinatra Center. “And when the Olympics finished last year, he knew he was someone we’d like to have at this event.”
Hal Gershowitz, co-chair of the host committee added, “We are expecting the same kind of entertainment, energy, and surprises at this year’s event as we enjoyed last year.”
Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear Phelps talk about his plans for the future, and make a decision for themselves whether or not his Olympic swimming career really is over.
Andrew John covers sports for The Desert Sun and the USA TODAY Network. Find him on Twitter: @Andrew_L_John. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Michael Phelps in Indian Wells
When: Friday, March 3, 2017 at 11:30 a.m.
Where: Hyatt Regency Indian Wells
Tickets: (760) 773-1636 or www.barbarasinatracenter.org
Originally posted Here
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