“There’s nothing like being back home!! Great way to spend my first day in retirement!!” These words on Instagram, accompanied by a picture of Michael Phelps in the pool with his fiancée Nicole Johnson and baby son Boomer, confirmed that competitive swimming is now over for one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known.
Phelps has competed in five Olympics (not medalling in his first Games – Sydney 2000 – when he was just 15-years-old), winning a total of 28 Olympic medals – 23 of them gold – he is the most decorated Olympian of all time. Five days after winning the last of his 2016 haul of five golds and one silver, he announced his exit from from the sport – for a second time, having first announced his retirement after the 2012 Olympics in London.
Phelps retirement came as no huge surprise. Back in May he told the Editor-in-Chief of Revolution US, Keith Strandberg: “This is my last Olympics – and this time I actually mean it. For me, starting a new life, welcoming a child into this world, starting a family is something I am looking forward to. I am excited to turn the page and start something fresh.”
In a final farewell to life as an Olympian, Phelps visited Omega House in Rio de Janeiro, along with fellow swimmers and Omega ambassadors, South African double silver-medal-winner Chad le Clos and Russian Alexander Popov, who is regarded as one of the greatest sprint freestylers in history. During the evening Phelps took part in a Q&A session revealing insights into his mindset as he begins his new life.