- (Photo: Twitter/Michael Phelps)
Michael Phelps, who blew the competition out of the water at the 2008 Olympics, has announced that he will be retiring after the London games this summer. Phelps hopes to claim the record for most medals ever won by a single contestant in London and has spoken with Anderson Cooper about his quest and what comes after the Olympics.
"It was hard [after the Beijing Olympics] because I didn't know if the passion or the fire was still inside of me. And it took awhile for me to actually realize it myself. Bob (his coach) couldn't tell me, my mom couldn't tell me. They couldn't help me find it," he said.
"I don't know what it was, I don't know what struck it. But I just woke up one morning and I was like, 'Let's do it,'" Phelps explained about coming to the decision to compete in the London games. He stands a good chance at breaking the record for most Olympic medals ever won by a single competitor.
Only three medals stand in his way of beating gymnast Larissa Latynina.
But after the London Olympics, don't expect to see Phelps competing.
"Once I retire, I'm retiring. I'm done. I've been able to go to all these amazing cities in my travels, and I haven't been able to see them at all. I see the hotel and I see the pool. That's it," he explained.
Travel is definitely in his future and may include watching the Rio 2016 games.
"I'm just going to go and do whatever I want to do … 'cause I'm excited. 'Cause, you know, it's something new."
Phelps will remain active with the Michael Phelps Foundation, which teaches young children how to swim and encourages them to participate in swim clubs.
"I was fortunate to be enrolled in a water safety class when I was five years old," Phelps writes on the site's page. "Ever since, the pool has provided me with a place to have fun, stay healthy, set goals, work hard and gain confidence. Now it's my turn to give back."
He burst onto the Olympic scene in 2004, winning six gold and two bronze medals. In 2008, he claimed a new record by winning eight gold medals, beating former swimmer Mark Spitz's seven gold medal wins in 1972.