Australian swimming legend and five time Olympic champion Ian Thorpe has stated that British medal hopeful Rebecca Adlington will have to learn to handle the pressure and weight of expectation on her shoulders, as she attempts to defend her medals.
The 23 year old Adlington heads into the 2012 London Olympics as the odds-on favourite for the 400m and 800m races, following her success at the 2008 Beijing Games. The Beijing Games also saw Adlington break the 19 year world record of American Janet Evans, in the 800m final.
"It is the hardest thing, the assumption that a gold medal is won before it has even been swum. It is not something that I know how Rebecca will respond to at the Olympic Games. Becky also has the pressure on her that she is defending Olympic titles as well which adds another layer of complexity to it at a home games. It is difficult for her. I have looked at some of the footage of her arriving and she looks quite relaxed at the moment. She needs to stay relaxed over the next few days," the Telegraph quoted Thorpe as saying.
Meanwhile, American swimmer and the all-time Olympics' gold medal record holder said he is as relaxed as he can be and is enjoying the sights and sounds of the London Games, as he prepares to head into the final stages of his highly decorated cover. The 27 year old Baltimore native will retire after the London Games but insists he is calm and is focused on adding to his 14 gold medals.
"This is the closure and it's how many toppings do I want on my sundae. I'm having fun, this is something I enjoy. It's kind of cool walking through the village and seeing the athletes from everywhere," Sky Sports quoted Phelps as saying.
"I wouldn't say I get choked up but I've been more emotional because these are the last competitive moments I will have in my career. It's big, it's something. I think there are going to be a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts this week and I think over the last couple of years and I guess throughout my career I've been able to manage my emotional energy fairly well," the American added.
Phelps is set to swim his last ever race on 4 August, in the 4x100m medley relay, fittingly the last event of the Games' swimming programme.