Swimming: Phelps keeps mum on million-dollar Rio question

United States' Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal for the men's 4x200-metre freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 31, 2012. Phelps, winner of most medals i
United States' Michael Phelps poses with his gold medal for the men's 4x200-metre freestyle relay swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, July 31, 2012. Phelps, winner of most medals in Olympic history, would not be drawn on Wednesday on whether he may come out of retirement for the 2016 Rio Games. -- FILE PHOTO: AP

SAO PAULO (AFP) - Swimming legend Michael Phelps, winner of most medals in Olympic history, would not be drawn on Wednesday on whether he may come out of retirement for the 2016 Rio Games.

Dubbing the issue the "million-dollar question," the 28-year-old, winner of 18 gold, two silver and two bronze medals, was visiting Brazil to shoot a commercial with football legend Pele but dodged making any commitment on a possible return to the Olympic arena.

"I don't know what's gonna happen in three years. I don't even know what is gonna happen tomorrow," said Phelps when pressed on a possible return to top competition.

It's "the million-dollar question," he laughed.

Phelps, who landed four golds at the 2012 London Games, has been in training in Baltimore and in June top rival Ryan Lochte intimated there could yet be an Olympic rematch between them.

Phelps said cryptically that "I've said 100 times if I feel like coming back ... I could. But I'm not saying I am going to."

Phelps' long-term coach Bob Bowman fueled speculation of a comeback for the star last month by revealing the multiple champion signed up for drug-testing in May.

That would enable him to return to competition in March and Mr Bowman said he believed Phelps had it in him to return to the top of the sport.

But Phelps would only say he was looking to get back into shape generally and did not know if that would lead to a top-level return.

On his last visit to Rio eight months ago Phelps gave swimming tips to children from the Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro.

Phelps said that had been an enjoyable experience and was delighted to see young fans turn out to greet him and Pele in Sao Paulo.

"I always enjoy interacting with kids, and to be with a legend like Pele makes it even better. The kids were so engaged when Pele walked into the room."

"Being healthy and staying active is very important to me and I want to teach the kids the same message."