LONDON — Michael Phelps wants to swim.
Not in a pool, though. The world’s most decorated Olympian wants to swim freely in the ocean.
“Spending 20 years staring at the black line at the bottom of the pool is a long time,” he said. “Now I’m happy and ready to move on to the next chapter.”
Phelps won his 22nd medal Saturday night, making Sunday afternoon his first day of retirement. Despite the pressure of being dubbed the “the world’s greatest Olympian,” Phelps appeared calm.
He even got in a few jokes.
“I don’t even know what to do now,” he said. “I’m restless.”
For a man who has spent most of his life waking up at 6 a.m. and swimming late into the night, restlessness is an entirely new feeling. However, it’s a feeling he welcomes with open arms — 6 feet, 10 inches worth of open arms, to be exact.
“I’ve done everything that I’ve wanted to do in the sport, competition-wise. I can look back and say that everything I’ve put my mind to, I’ve been able to do,” he said.
That includes 18 gold medals among his collection of 22, a staggering 12 pounds worth of Olympic history. He also changed the face of swimming in the world. About a decade ago, Australia reigned supreme in the sport.
Like his idol, Michael Jordan, who redefined greatness in basketball, Phelps wanted to leave a mark in swimming.
“I’ve always looked up to Michael Jordan. He was the greatest in his sport, the first,” he said. “I’m the first Michael Phelps. I’m the first of a lot of things, which is something I’m proud of.”
After hiding his medals in a safe, “secret” place, Phelps plans to continue his life of firsts by finally becoming a good golfer, taking vacations and beating his mom at Words With Friends.
But swimming isn’t completely out of his life. He’s going to actively work with the Michael Phelps Foundation, which promotes swimming and healthy, active lives for children, and stay in shape.
“The competitive part of my career is over, but it doesn’t mean that I’m done with the sport,” he said. “I’m still going to go with my goal and try to take the sport to a new level.
“It hasn’t reached the peak that I want it to reach, and it will also be fun for me to watch it from the outside.”
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains