Michael Phelps Confirms His Retirement — Last Competition Tonight, Saturday

Michael Phelps confirmed that he is retiring after the 2016 Rio Olympics — the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time told USA Today Sports late Friday night. The source says the following.

“[Ryan] Lochte had previously speculated that despite Phelps having announced his plans to retire, that the swimming legend would again return to try to dominate the pool.”

“I will just clarify that Ryan doesn’t know what he is talking about… I am not coming back in four years,” Michael Phelps told the source to reiterate that he is leaving the Olympics for good. That said, straight from the horse’s mouth, the last time you will see one of the greatest athletes of all time compete is “Saturday night when he’ll swim in the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay.”

That is according to CBS Sports, which has also tallied the Michael Phelps medal haul, “He’s now up to 27 career Olympic medals, 22 of them gold.”

Make that 28 depending on the outcome of the men’s 4×100 freestyle relay tonight. So tonight’s swimming event is certainly the biggest ticket item of the 2016 Rio Olympics — or all the Olympics combined. It’s the last time to see the most decorated player in the Olympics compete. You can’t miss it.

Whatever the outcome, Michael Phelps’ last hurrah will go down in the history books. You owe it to posterity not to miss watching this one if only so that you can tell your children and your children’s children that you watched one of the best athletes of all time compete for the last time in a game that he plays best — better than most any athlete can.

Here is CNN’s take on the meaning of Michael Phelps’ Olympic achievements.

“Michael Phelps is used to rewriting history — now he’s eclipsing it too. You have to go back around 2,160 years, give a week or two, to find an athlete who could challenge the imperious record held by the Baltimore Bullet.”

Aside from the Baltimore Bullet accolade, Phelps has also been fondly referred to as the Flying Fish, which describes how effortlessly he glides through the waters despite the fact that he is 6 ft 4 in (193 cm) tall and weighs 194 lb (88 kg). Surely, how he has achieved such incredible water feats will be talked about for a very long time after he leaves the Olympic swimming pool.

For now, the world seems to take all his marvelous achievements for granted because they come so naturally from Michael Phelps. His family sheds light on just what it takes to haul in all his medals. Daily Mail quotes Michael’s mom, Debbie, as saying the following.

“It’s rather amazing to think of Michael’s journey since 2004 at age 15 and now 31. It’s just remarkable. Michael is very driven. He’s driven to correct things that have gone wrong, to set goals for himself as to where he wants to be.”

For her part, Michael Phelps’ fiancée Nicole Johnson has this to say, “It’s been incredible, I think because I’ve watched it first hand. The training, the dedication, the downside and coming back from all of that.”

Undoubtedly, Michael Phelps’ family has had a big role to play in making him what he is today. For one, it is not a secret that Boomer, his three-month-old son, is the wind beneath the flying fish’s wings. According to the Inquisitr, the top Olympian is also getting married soon to the love of his life.

Michael Phelps has nothing more to prove in the Olympics arena. He’s done it all. And yet, millions of people around the world still yearn to see him compete in the swimming pool and do what he does best. Of course, there will always be videos to watch over and over again in this, the digital age. Still, there’s nothing like seeing humanity’s most fascinating athlete compete in real time, for the last time tonight, August 13 at 10:04 p.m.

[Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images]