LONDON – Michael Phelps insists there's no hard feelings about teammate Tyler Clary questioning his work ethic, though it will surely be used as motivation for the Olympics.
The potential rift within the U.S. team was apparently patched up when Clary apologized to Phelps in person and expressed regrets to the entire U.S. team.
But Phelps' coach, Bob Bowman, made a not-so-subtle reference to Clary during a news conference Thursday attended by several hundred media, two days before the start of the swimming competition.
"The thing that makes Michael great is the work," Bowman said, without even getting a question about Clary. "He worked as hard as anybody could possibly work."
Phelps is the winningest Olympian ever with 14 gold medals, which made the comments by Clary especially puzzling. He told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that he "saw a real lack of preparation" by Phelps during their year training together at the University of Michigan.
Clary implied that Phelps got by on his natural talent, while others had to work hard.
"Some people like to express their feelings with words," said Phelps, who captured a record eight gold medals in Beijing. "That's fine. I've gotten where I'm at by working hard. I know that. Bob knows that."
Phelps said Clary came to his room during the pre-Olympic training camp, and they spoke for about 10 minutes.
"He said everything was taken out of context. He apologized," Phelps said. "He didn't need to do that. Whatever he said, he said. But we are teammates. We come as one, we leave as one."
Clary, not surprisingly, wasn't among the swimmers made available to the media on Thursday. But he has expressed his regrets about creating a distraction and said he should have kept any comments focused on himself.
Besides apologizing to Phelps, Clary spoke with the entire U.S. team at a meeting.
"He said he was sorry," American star Ryan Lochte said. "That's all he can do. We accept it and move on."
Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963