Beijing, Aug. 20 America's ace swimmer Michael Phelps has said that winning a record eight golds at the Beijing Olympics has been easier than learning the Chinese language.
The China Daily quoted him as saying:"Learning Mandarin is even harder than winning eight gold medals in the pool. It is the hardest thing I've ever tried in my life."
Phelps took French and German courses when he was in primary school, but the swimming ace said Chinese is much harder to learn.
"The language is so tough. I started taking some Chinese lessons after learning French and German. After a while I could speak a little and understand a little. But all the words, characters and pronunciations in Mandarin are so different. All of them are hard to manage," Phelps said.
Phelps will be back for the 2012 London Games, where he says he wants to train for some new events to try to vary his repertoire. His next major competition will be the World Championships in Rome in 2009.