Former USA Swimmer Disappointed With Michael Phelps’ Tokyo Olympics Decision

Published 07/22/2021, 3:45 PM EDT
LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 04: Michael Phelps of the United States points to the crowd from the podium after he was presented with a special award by FINA for his career achievements on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)


The swimming events in Tokyo Olympics 2020 start on July 24th. Notably, Michael Phelps won’t take part in this year’s Olympics but will join the NBC team for commentary. However, he also supports team USA and acts as a mentor in the upcoming Olympic games.

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Although the Olympics will begin soon, the ongoing pandemic has forced the Japanese government to take strict measures ahead of the event. The event will be held behind closed doors to minimize the spread of the virus. Most of the athletes are vaccinated. But, Phelps chose otherwise.

The legendary swimmer did not get vaccinated and has drawn criticisms from previous swimmers.

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Maya DiRado remarks on Phelps’ stance

Former US Olympic swimmer Maya DiRado addressed the issue while taking concerns on Phelps’ approach.

“Going to the games not only unvaccinated, but as an American, I’m representing my country in multiple ways and the freedoms we have to make a decision like that,” said Michael.

Phelps’ decision comes as a surprise as there is imminent danger to the virus being spread rapidly. Phelps spoke about deciding for himself and that people had the freedom to make their own decisions. But Maya has expressed her disappointment with his decision which might have repercussions on other athletes. Maya criticized him because he was risking the lives of other people on the roster.

Apart from Phelps, Michael Andrew is heading to Tokyo without getting vaccinated as well. Fans consider the swimmer to be the heir to Phelps’ throne for the individual medley events. The decision to not take vaccines is a personal choice and Andrew is the latest person on that list.

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Moreover, the former swimmer wished people took the vaccination drive seriously while other countries are suffering due to the lack of vaccines. In addition, Americans are getting vaccinations for free while people in other countries have to pay for them. Maya condemned the ignorance of his act.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 05: Flag bearer Michael Phelps of the United States leads the U.S. Olympic Team during the Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 5, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)

Maya won medals in the Rio Olympics with the US swimming relay team. She won the gold medal for the 4×200 meter freestyle relay in 2016. The US swimming team made it a priority for athletes to focus on team achievements rather than individual glory. While Phelps was a part of that team back then, she stressed how they embarked on team victories rather than going for individual glory.

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She completely respected his stance on the issue but made sure that Phelps knew the consequences of his decision. The Tokyo Olympics will start soon as athletes prepare to showcase their talents in Japan.

While the decision to vaccinated is a personal choice, one must know the consequences they are dealing with.

What do you make of Phelps’ decision?

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Jacob Gijy

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Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.

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