Michael Phelps narrowly avoided one of the most stunning stories in recent Olympic memory on the first day of the London Games, swimming a lackadaisical qualifying heat in the 400 IM that barely qualified him for Saturday night’s eight-man finals.

The 14-time gold medalist finished with the eighth-fastest time in the five heats. If he had gone .06 seconds slower, he would have been left out of the final in the event that he’s won at the past two Olympics. Phelps has been considered a shoo-in for at least a silver medal in London’s 400 IM, an event which will serve as the first of two battles with American teammate Ryan Lochte.

“I didn’t expect those guys to go that fast in their heat,” Phelps said to reporters. “I was slower this morning than I was four years ago.”

Michael Phelps hasn’t lost a race at an Olympics in eight years. He’s never won a silver medal. Both those streaks should come to an end tonight. With Lochte five lanes away, Phelps won’t be able to see it coming. The 400 IM, the event he vowed to never swim after Beijing will be his early downfall in London.

Or will there be some Michael Phelps magic still left in the pool? He was in a miracle relay in 2008 and won two Olympic 100 butterflies by microscopic levels. For as dominant as he’s been, he’s been just as good as winning races when he’s the second-best swimmer in the pool. Does he have it in him for another stunner?

Posted By: @BrookLynnDiva

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