Michael Phelps’ closest rival wants him to return to the sport

Despite his retirement, some swimmers want Michael Phelps to return to the sport.

Despite his retirement, some swimmers want Michael Phelps to return to the sport.

After the 2012 London Olympics, American Swimming star Michael Phelps announced that he would be hanging up is competitive swimwear and retiring. While many of Phelps' competitors no doubt breathed a sigh of relief, at least one says that it's not yet time for America's most decorated swimmer to exit the pool. In an interview with SuperSport, South African swimmer Chad Le Clos said a potential Phelps return would keep the sport in the spotlight. 

"The rumor is obviously trickling down all the way to South Africa. Everyone is talking about it," Le Clos told the source. "It would be great for the sport if he comes back. It would be great for me. I do welcome the challenge from anybody. If you want to win a gold medal, you want to beat the best." 

Le Clos also joked that he gave Phelps one of his few silver metals. At the 2012 Olympics, the South African became the first athlete to defeat Phelps in the 200-meter butterfly in a major international competition since 2002. Following Phelps' retirement, Le Clos has gone on to become the 100- and 200-meter butterfly World Champion. He also holds the world record in the 200-meter butterfly. 

Although it's unclear if Phelps will return to international competition, Le Clos seems to be following the American star's example. The 21-year-old recently announced that he would be competing in nine events at the South African National Championships in April and possibly seven at the Commonwealth Games to be held this summer in Glasgow, Scotland.