Michael Phelps is aiming to compete in a fifth Olympics next year in Rio de Janeiro, although the 18-time Olympic champion won't swim in the world championships this summer.
Phelps confirmed his intention to make one last run at the Olympics on Wednesday.
"You guys heard it here first," he told reporters at Skyline Aquatic Center in Mesa, Ariz., where he will be competing in his first meet since serving a six-month suspension by USA Swimming after a second drunken driving arrest last fall. "I am looking forward to next year. I don't think it's too hard to really realize why I came back."
But Phelps said he won't be swimming at the world meet in Russia in August as part of the punishment set forth by the sport's U.S. governing body. He had already qualified in three events before being banned from the last major international meet before the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
"I really enjoy being on those trips," he said. "That's why it is painful to think that I won't have the chance to compete at worlds."
There had been informal discussions about Phelps being reinstated to the U.S. team for worlds, but it would have meant removing swimmers who were named to the team in his absence.
Phelps knows not everyone will believe he's contrite and has changed since the two arrests.
"If somebody doesn't believe the words that are coming out of my mouth that's their choice," he said. "I, of course, would like to show everybody in the world that I am in a different place and I am much better than I ever have been. I understand that's going to take a lot of time. This week will be the first week that I can start that."
UFC's Silva ponders change
Mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva will meet with Brazilian taekwondo officials in hopes of competing in next year's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, despite facing a possible doping ban.
Silva this week expressed his desire to represent Brazil in the 2016 Games, and local taekwondo officials said they like the idea of having the MMA fighter on the team.
Silva, 40, began his career as a taekwondo fighter and is a black belt, but he is suspended by UFC after failing drug tests. He has a hearing in May on the matter.
"Everybody knows that every top athlete dreams about the Olympic Games," Silva said. "With the games taking place in my country, I'm even more motivated by the Olympic spirit."
Nadal finds comfort on clay
Rafael Nadal is back on the clay he loves so much, and he looks like his old self again.
Nadal, who has a mediocre 16-5 record this year, got the flawless start he was hoping for at the Monte Carlo Masters, beating 21-year-old wild-card entry Lucas Pouille 6-2, 6-1 in the second round.
"Today I go back to the hotel with a fantastic feeling because I played probably my best match of the year," Nadal said.
Second-seeded Roger Federer and defending champion Stan Wawrinka also advanced.
Track and field
U.S. makes change at top
Stephanie Hightower stepped down as chair of USA Track and Field, to be replaced by former Nike executive Steve Miller.
Hightower, who took over the position in 2009, is expected to take a role on the international track federation (IAAF) council, the most powerful governing body in track and field outside of the International Olympic Committee.
Miller has been on the USATF board since 2009. He's a former athletic director at Kansas State, president and CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association and director of global sports marketing for Nike.
AROUND THE HORN
NFL: The Detroit Lions traded defensive end George Johnson and a seventh-round draft pick to Tampa Bay for a fifth-round pick. Johnson played in all 16 games for the Lions last season. … A proposed stadium near Los Angeles that could become home for the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders hit an early milestone when organizers said sufficient petition signatures had been verified by election officials to qualify the proposal for the ballot in Carson, where the project would be built on a former landfill.
Track and field: Top South African sprinter and former African 100-meter champion Simon Magakwe was banned two years for refusing to undergo an out-of-competition doping test.
College basketball: Trevor Lacey, a 6-3 guard who scored 15.7 points per game for North Carolina State last season, said he will enter the NBA draft.
Auto racing: The IndyCar Series docked driver Ryan Hunter-Reay three points and put him on probation for the next three races for his role in a three-car crash at the Grand Prix of Louisiana. The series said he didn't avoid contact on a restart.
College football: A felony theft charge against Tennessee offensive tackle Coleman Thomas was dismissed. A district attorney said there was no evidence he knew a game system was stolen when he tried to sell it.