He’s hanging up his swimming cap! Following a history-making week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Michael Phelps has announced that he’s officially retiring. After competing and winning in four Olympics, the 23-time gold medalist confirmed the news during an interview with the Today show on Monday, August 15.
“Done, done, done — and this time I mean it. I wanted to come back and finish my career how I wanted and this was the cherry on top of the cake,” Phelps, 31, told Matt Lauer. “I’m done. I’m finished. I’m retired. I’m done. No more.”
“Between now and London, I was so much more emotional during these Games; I think that showed at times on camera,” he continued. “That’s the difference. Because I knew this was the last time. I knew this was the last race that I ever had, the last Olympics that I ever had. And everything just really hit hard.”
As previously reported, Phelps’ teammate Ryan Lochte told Lauer last week that Phelps wasn’t ready to retire just yet. “I guarantee he will be there. I think so — I really think so,” Lochte, 32, said on Friday. “Michael, I’ll see you in Tokyo.” (Phelps revealed after the 2012 London Olympics that he was retiring, but started training again in 2014.)
Phelps responded to Lochte’s comments on Sunday, following the 100m butterfly event. “I will just clarify that Ryan doesn’t know what he is talking about,” he said, via USA Today. “I am not coming back in four years.”
“This is the part of my life where I get to start this whole new chapter … [I want] to build a family with Nicole,” he told Lauer on Monday. “Younger guys we have coming up in the sport are going to take over.”
Phelps further opened up about his journey during an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt. “It’s been an amazing career, a ridiculous career and there’s no better way of finishing how I did,” he said on Sunday. “[Last night, I said], ‘Mom we’re not going to Tokyo.’ I said, ‘I’m not swimming in Tokyo.’ And she just started crying and smiling. And then she was like, ‘What about 100 fly? The relay?’ And I was like, ‘Mom, we’re done. It’s it. We’re finished.’ I’m happy with my career.”