LONDON As the Olympics close up shop, one of the local questions that will linger is this: Will Ricky Berens stay retired or not?
Berens told me after his final race at these Olympics he was finished with competitive swimming. He talked with excitement for several minutes about his retirement and possibly going to graduate school. He also told his U.S. swimming teammates he was done after winning his third career Olympic medal and second gold.
But retirement is an awfully big step for a 24-year-old, and who knows if it stays that way?
As I wrote at the time, many swimmers take a training break for a year or two from what may be the most relentless sport there is in terms of sheer number of practices. Then they ultimately get rejuvenated and end up back in the water (there were several on the U.S. Olympic swimming team this year who had unretired to make the squad).
Certainly, if Berens does come back, he is plenty talented enough to make his third Olympic team in 2016. Also a factor: His longtime girlfriend, Rebecca Soni, set a world record in these Olympics and plans to continue swimming.
Leslie Berens, Rickys mother and a well-known swim coach in Charlotte, emailed me Sunday to say her son had not officially retired.
Wrote Leslie Berens of Ricky: He needs a break, and those words came out when he was with you because he was so relieved that four years of training was done and that he achieved another gold medal and a silver this time. He needs some time to think and rest.
I saw Ricky Berens once more Friday in a subway station in central London. We were headed in different directions. Neither one of us brought up the R word. Berens was happy he had stuck around London for a few days after the meet to enjoy it with friends. He said he was planning on participating in the closing ceremonies, since he had not been able to go to the opening ceremonies because he had a race coming up.
Ultimately, I hope Berens comes back to the sport if thats what he wants to do. He is one of those athletes who is great fun to write about. One way or the other, Im sure he isnt finished making news.
• From the What might have been for the Bobcats category: Anthony Davis barely played in these Olympics for the U.S. mens team. He got only 37 seconds of playing time in the gold-medal win.
So Davis was getting some extra shots up before the Spain-USA game on his own. You know all about his defense, but do you know how well he shoots open 3s? At one point, he hit 10 in a row.
• I liked this sign I saw painted on the side of a building Sunday: Sorry the lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock.
• Thanks to all of yall who followed my reporting on the Olympics. It was a wonderful experience. You wont see me for a week or two in the newspaper Im flying back to Charlotte Monday and taking some time off to get re-acquainted with my family.
I loved London. But I am very ready to get back to a place where you can drive on the right side of the road, get all the ice cubes you want in a soft drink and have your accent understood the first time you order.
Thanks, as always, for reading.