POSTED: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 1:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 - 1:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Gold Olympic medal winner Michael Phelps said he's ready for the competition in London.
"I don't know how you can really be afraid of failing,” said Phelps. “I guess I have failed a lot over the last couple of years. I guess leading up to this point it is kind of, my career is kind of been a joke - I guess since Beijing. I guess you learn from everything. I prepared myself the best way that I think that we can, and I am going to step up on the block on Saturday and race as hard as I can."
Phelps spoke to reporters today and talked about his disappointments over the last two years. He also talked about his top rival Ryan Lochte and their friendship.
"When we are away from the pool, that's our time to sort of get away from it and relax,” said Phelps. “It is not like we are sitting there yelling at each other, we are going to do this we are going to do that. We just sit around and hang out and laugh and whether is us watching movies or playing cards or just sitting around, we literally don't do anything."
Phelps described his teammates as the best in the world and played down all the media coverage, saying the Olympic swimming competition is no different than any other swim meet.
"You know, it is amazing to represent the best country in the world, and I know we are the strongest swimming nation and we had the most success and we are hopefully go into this week and come out on top. I mean, the biggest thing is, this is a normal swimming, you know - sure it is the Olympics and there is a lot of hype around it but at the end of the day, there are lane lines, there is a pool, there is water, there are starting blocks, there is starting pads and a score board. It is the same thing we have at every single meeting that we do. So you kind of, you just get in and swim. You do what you are prepared to do and that is how it always is."
Phelps holds the record for the most Olympic gold medals at a single games, eight, and the most gold medals overall, 14. He needs just three more of any color to break the overall record of Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.