Michael Phelps says he won’t go back on his promise to retire from competitive swimming after this year’s Olympics in London.
Now it’s almost time for the Games to start and everybody’s suddenly interested in swimming again, Phelps has been interviewed on Sunday’s 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper. During their chat, Phelps confirmed the London Games will be his last Olympics, and that he wouldn’t be swimming in the 2016 Brazil Games.
Phelps’ retirement plans go against the desires of his mother, who joked in the interview, “C’mon Michael just a 50 freestyle. I’ve never been [to Brazil] before.”
The record-breaking swimmer struck a conciliatory note, responding with, “We’ll go watch. Once I retire, I’m retiring. I’m done.”
The 26-year-old is expected to become the most successful Olympian ever this summer. Having won a total of fourteen gold and two bronze medals in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, Phelps is just two medals away from beating former Soviet Union gymnast Larysa Latynina, who holds the record with 18 medals. In his interview, Phelps revealed he met Latynina (now 77 years old, having won her haul at the 1956, 1960 and 1964 Games) at a photo shoot. Latynina told him in Russian that she expected him to break her record.
However, Phelps has already lost at least one of his gold medals – one of the six he won in 2004. “When we were traveling, someone was holding onto it,” he told Cooper. The 2008 gold medals don’t sound terribly secure either – Phelps says he keeps them in an old T-shirt tucked inside a small case.
The London Olympics start on July 27. Will you be tuning in to see if Phelps can become the most successful Olympian of all time?