TODAY   |  April 15, 2014

Michael Phelps getting back in the swim

In TODAY’s Take, Willie Geist and Tamron Hall discuss the Olympic swimmer’s announcement that he’ll be competing again, after vowing he was retiring. Tamron questions whether “there’s something in [their] wiring that requires male athletes to come back.” “Are you suggesting that men are needy?” Willie replies.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> welcome to "today" on a tuesday morning, april 15th , 2014 . i'm willie geist along with tamron hall . al has the day off. natalie on assignment up in boston . we're going to talk to her on this one-year anniversary of the boston bombings in just a moment. testimony r tamron, yesterday i looked outside, i said it's burvelg it's spring-like. we turned the corner. winter's gone. you said, have you seen the forecast? it's cold, rainy and it's all over the country.

>> yes, it's snowing in parts of chicago . heard from a friend this morning with the wt -- i won't say the next letter, what is going on with the weather. yesterday we saw tornados. it's been rough.

>> it's crazy. the south, the midwest. high winds and tornados in goshay, mississippi, damaging dozens of trailers and at least one r.v. park. i think 20 or 30 of them were flipped over. i guess two people were injured. i don't know how more weren't. thank goodness they didn't lose anybody. chicago got about three inches of snow.

>> let's pause for a second. what is today's date? april 15th .

>> it's tax day .

>> tax day . that will heat you up, because the weather will not. look at that. april 15th . and i lived in chicago for ten years. coldest place i've ever lived. but that's even surprising for chicago .

>> even for chicago , that's bad. meanwhile, michigan, nebraska, texas all hit by a fast-moving storm system, and snow, hail, and heavy rains caused flooding along the red river in minnesota. check out this photo taken by the family of one of our staff here, carter. her family lives in lebanon, ohio. lebanon, ohio. that's what it longs like this morning.

>> look at the beautiful easter flowers.

>> they bloomed. mother nature gave them a head fake, said it's time to come out, and then they snowed on them.

>> mother nature gave them a head fake.

>> it's supposed to snow in the northern suburbs of new york tonight, too, getting down to the 30s. you're right, i was wrong.

>> i just listened to dylan . she'll have an update for us. also today is the anniversary of the bombing, during the boston marathon . i have to say this, natalie has been doing an incredible job and she's with us now. you've been following the journey of survivors for the past year. you're there on the ground today. getting a sense of the mood. and i think you pointed out something, natalie , that really touched my heart. people there really don't want to focus on the bombers. they want to focus on boston strong and those stories that you brought to us over this year, and today.

>> that's right. and i can tell you, tamron, the mood here is exactly that. it's about surviving. it is about, you know, being boston strong, a term that we have come to know so well over the past year. but here they live that every day. you know, what i've seen and getting to know a couple of the families and those who have survived the bombings over the last year, as you see that strength and the resilience that they're showing every day. for them, every day is a post-marathon day, as celeste corcoran told me. you know, this has redefined how they live their life. it's their new normal. so they're looking forward , though, to this one-year mark being over and behind them. and looking forward to moving on and looking ahead, and of course, next week, what's ahead is the boston marathon . i can tell you there's some mixed emotion here surrounding the marathon. a lot of people excited. they want the marathon to go on and be back to what it was, being one of the world's most elite running events. but at the same time, i think there are those who also, you know, still have a little concern and high anxiety when it comes to the emotions that they'll be feeling as they face that day.

>> natalie , we know how the city more broadly is feeling, but what about some of the specific people that you spent so much time with over the last year who were directly impacted by the bomb and who lost legs, lost loved ones? how are they feeling about this as the anniversary hits?

>> you know, as i just -- and you'll hear it coming up in just a little bit, i speak to one of the survivors and she talks about having mixed emotions , as i mentioned, on this day, about it being more difficult than a lot of them thought. i think they thought they would get here and be able to just say, okay, i've moved on from that, and my life has gone on and i've accomplished so much in the past year, but at the same time, this is a day where they are remembering and where they're paying tribute and honoring those -- you know, three people did lose their lives as well as the fourth person at the campus of m.i.t. so a lot of thought to those who lost their lives, but of course, a lot of people celebrating the milestones that have been accomplished and, you know, acknowledging the fact that this is a city that has come back stronger, a community that is stronger than ever.

>> no question about it. we're going to check back in with you in just a few minutes. you have an interview with coming that you're catching up with after a year in boston . natalie , we'll see you in just a few minutes.

>>> meanwhile, in some obviously much, much lighter news back here at home, michael phelps -- sounds like he might be coming back to swimming.

>> is it true?

>> he couldn't keep himself away. for the first time in two years, mr. phelps has signed up to compete in a swim meet. in only ten days, he'll be back in a pool in mesa, arizona . so everyone's asking, does this mean he'll swim in the 2016 rio summer games ? he's already got 22 medals, most decorated olympian ever. he has spent his retirement running swimming schools, he started a foundation traveling the world, playing a little golf. he's 28. about to turn 29. remember, he retired, he vowed "i'll never swim into my 30s." we actually reached out to phelps's camp. they said talks of rio are premature. see how he does in arizona and go from there.

>> i love that you say the question everyone is asking is about rio . me and my girlfriends are saying, will we see him shirtless again in the little speedo.

>> oh. i hadn't considered that angle.

>> wingspan. it's like, come on.

>> it's a good swing spwingspan. we talked about kate upton yesterday. you called her a national treasure ?

>> any argument? i said bravo. michael phelps . chest, wingspan.

>> he's a legit national treasure .

>> you're basing that on athleticism. i'm basing it on his body. we're not seeing eye to eye on this. but we were talking about the number of athletes and entertainers who have retired and then they come back. what is it called when you do that?

>> reretirement, unretiring. i think we ticked through michael jordan , right? muhammad ali did it. brett favre . jay-z. cher did it, i think. she retires all the time.

>> but we struggle to find -- cher did it a couple of times. we struggle to find a female athlete who had retired and then come back. we couldn't think of a name. and i said to willie, is it possible that women -- and i don't want to make everything a gender battle.

>> here we go.

>> i'm saying, i gave you the caveat. but i wonder if men -- there's something in your wiring that requires male athletes to really need to come back, where women, we say okay.

>> are you suggesting -- and dylan 's laughing over there.

>> you agree, dylan ?

>> i don't know. give me a female athlete. we named off the top of our heads men like this, boom, boom, boom. jay-z.

>> that's true.

>> are you suggesting that men are a little needy perhaps, and that when the cheers die down, they sit there for a year and go, i need the cheers again?

>> you said it.

>> maybe.

>> is that what you're saying?

>> i'm just asking, you know, you can go online and let us know, why do you think that female athletes don't do this, and men walk away and they come back again and again. how many times did jordan retire? he retired from two sports.

>> including baseball, it's three. but the thing with michael phelps is he's 28, about to be 29. he's in his 20s. i mean, he's still in his athletic prime. so he may have just said i walked away too soon. i can still play this game. when michael came back the second time, he was pushing 40 and it was like don't do it, mike. but michael phelps , he can still compete against these guys.

>> absolutely. i was sad when he decided to retire. matt interviewed him and he was adamant that he wanted out. but obviously, things change. i hope to see him in rio . he's phenomenal.

>> he's just going to try this out, see how it goes in arizona . if he wins a couple races, then the speculation ramps up. bottom line, we're needy, though.

>> we, meaning men.

>>> moving on now, this video caught our attention. it is adorable. so britain's got talent last saturday, the judges and the audience were once again blown away by the dance moves of a 79-year-old patty jones. apparently just ripped up the floor with her salsa routine. ladies and gentlemen , patty.

>> so patty turns 80 in july. she has moved on in the competition. so we will be seeing more of her.

>> oh!

>> she started dancing at 2 1/2, but gave it up when she got married. had four children. so she unretired, basically. that's her dancing. she picked it up again after her husband passed away . her dance partner is nico espinoza and said that she went to nico's dance academy to learn something different. i love this woman. but you know what i love? the size difference. it's similar to us. he's very tall.

>> when we salsa dance , it looks a lot like that. flipping you over.

>> i would allow you to do that. only but for one day.

>> she's in incredible condition, too, to be able to do that.

>> she kicked her leg up. unbelievable.

>> a beautiful woman. let's get a check of the weather from miss dylan dreyer. she's in for al this morn.

>> so it's official, we did find one woman who un-retired.

>> the world needs patty.

>> we got one. we found