The greatest Olympian of all time is finally hanging up his medals, taking off his swim cap, and leaving the swimming pool, or so he says. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 Olympic medals, stated, again, that The Rio 2016 Summer Olympics Games was going to be his final games. After his last race, he announced his retirement to the world and a sense of disbelief ran throughout the crowd while remembering Phelps’ retirement statement at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.
There is skepticism on this topic because of Phelps’ press conference at Rio. Pre-retirement announcement, he tells the news reporters and audience members that he might not retire with this:
“To have our first born be able to watch – I’ll just say this, in case I come back – my potential last Olympics.”
Even Ryan Lochte, fellow teammate, does not believe he is finished winning medals. “I honestly don’t think this is going to be his last Olympics. I’m saying he’s going to come back again,” Lochte said. Racing alongside the greatest Olympian of all time can create an emotional bond with a fellow athlete that most people don’t understand. “Once you’ve felt that passion, that thrill of racing the top people in the world, and that goes away, you miss it really quick,” said Lochte after Phelps left the conference stage. “And I think that’s why he came back.”
Great power comes great responsibility, or maybe reward, in this case. Phelps was selected to be the flag bearer at the Olympic opening ceremonies this year and to wear a Ralph Lauren, custom-made, light up blazer, just to add a cherry on top. In previous Olympic games, Phelps never made it to the opening ceremonies so he could rest his body for his most challenging race 400-meter individual medley, but this year he didn’t try to qualify for it. This year was different and special to him. This amazing opportunity would be a perfect ending to his final Olympics, but now that might not be the case.
Phelps has created a new life for himself with fiancé Nicole Johnson and baby boy Boomer. He stated he is planning on spending his time with them after his retirement.
Maybe we will see Michael Phelps in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. We thought we wouldn’t see him swim at Rio, and look where we are now.