Michael Phelps ends his golden and glittering, literally, career with 23 Olympic gold medals by helping USA clinch the 4X100m relay to end the Rio 2016 Olympics swimming event on a high. With that, he closes out his Olympics medal tally with 28 medals over – 23 gold, 3 silver and two bronze with five golds and a silver at these games.
His only second place at this Olympics was the 100m butterfly event where Joseph Schooling gave Singapore its maiden gold medal.
Post the relay win, as Phelps hugged his teammates, the camera panned to Nicole Johnson, his fiancee, and 3-month-old son Boomer who has been at all events that his gold winning dad has participated in.
Despite the lingering retirement questions posed by the media and fellow swimmers, Phelps has been defiant in his response saying he’s content with what he’s achieved and is ready to bow out in peace now. He maintains there is nothing else left to achieve now to have another retirement re-think as he did after the London Olympics. His future plans include marrying Nicole post the Olympics and seeing his son grow old and work on a family.
Senior ESPN journalist Kevin Van Valkenburg has spent considerable time in his career documenting Phelps, the person, the character, the swimmer and shared some interesting tweets post Phelps’ final swim. He says Phelps can be tricky to deal with – as can be any person or sportsperson in constant media limelight – but he makes time for the kids. As can be visible from the pictures in Rio where Phelps would go hold his son in celebration after wins.
Most recently, pictures have emerged of Phelps signing autographs or posing for pictures with the current generation’s gold medallist including his American teammate Katie Ledecky and Schooling himself who trains in Texas.