Michael Phelps won't let a newspaper spat with US teammate Tyler Clary dim his enjoyment of his final Olympics -- or his pursuit of a last helping of Games gold.
"Some people like to express their feelings in words," Phelps said. "Some like to express them in action. I've always done that by swimming, and that's how I'll continue to do it."
Clary questioned the 14-time Olympic gold medallist's work ethic, saying he saw a "real lack of preparation" from Phelps when they trained together at the University of Michigan four years ago.
Phelps said Clary had apologized privately during the US team's training camp in Tennessee, immediately after the US trials.
"Tyler said it was taken out of context, and he apologized the next day," Phelps said. "I said to him he doesn't need to say anything. Whatever he said, he said."
In relaxed mood as he faced hundreds of journalists, and with longtime coach Bob Bowman at his side, Phelps said in London he was confident his career accomplishments would stand for themselves.
"I've gotten to where I am today by working hard, and I know that and Bob knows that," he said.
"And nobody else thinks that, so it doesn't matter. I'm very happy with my career and what I've done throughout it."
Clary also spoke to the entire US team before they departed the States, just to clear the air.
"He said he was sorry," said US star Ryan Lochte. "That's all he can do. We accept it and move on."
But Clary's comments appeared to have stung Bowman.
Asked what attributes separate the world's greatest athletes from the good ones, he quipped "all coaching," but quickly turned serious as he assessed Phelps in particular.
He ticked off a suitable physique, family support and an uncanny ability to focus under pressure, but said all of that would have counted for nothing if not for the work Phelps put in.
"We trained every day for six years leading up to the Athens Olympic Games -- every day," Bowman said.
"And he worked as hard as anyone possibly could during that time. I want to be very clear on that."
Bowman said it was only after Phelps stepped up his strength training that he began to take even one day off a week from the pool.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Phelps slacked off a little in the wake of his glittering eight-gold haul in Beijing.
But he and Bowman believe he's done enough in the past two years to close his Games career in style.
The 27-year-old swimmer, who was 15 when he competed in his first Olympics at Sydney in 2000, has sounded a valedictory note from time to time this season, and admitted he was conscious that this fourth Olympic experience would be his last.
Even so, Phelps clearly wants to go out on top. Slated to defend four individual titles and three relays, Phelps was asked which one he most wants to retain.
"Obviously, all of them," he said.