Mesa: Michael Phelps has, for the first time, declared his intention to compete at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in a bid to add to his record 18 gold medals.
Michael Phelps swims during a practice session on Wednesday
The 29-year-old American was speaking at a news conference at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Mesa, Arizona, on his return from a six-month suspension imposed by USA Swimming following his drink driving conviction last September.
Phelps said: "Hopefully I look forward to rejoining my teammates next summer; leading into Rio something that I love is being part of the national team."
He added: "You guys heard it here first. I am looking forward to next year. I don't think it's too hard to really realise why I came back."
Phelps described his ban as "the hardest couple of months I've ever had to go through in my entire life."
Phelps will miss this summer's World Championships in Kazan, Russia, following discussions with USA Swimming. "It's obviously very challenging and hard for me not to be able to participate at the World Championships," he added.
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