In a phone interview yesterday with the Associated Press, Michael Phelps gave just the tiniest bit of hope for a comeback to the sport after telling fans via Facebook Live, following an April Fools’ joke, that he definitely was done with the sport.
Phelps was most recently spotted with wife Nicole Johnson and son Boomer at the 2017 Arena Pro Swim Series stop in Mesa, a short drive from Phelps’ Scottsdale home. He’s certainly enjoying his life since retiring, and has made it pretty clear since Rio that he’s truly done for good this time.
In his AP interview, though, Phelps talks about what kind of feelings his potential trip to Budapest to spectate at the 2017 World Championships might bring about.
“The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again?” said Phelps.
After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps made it certain that his retirement was a final, permanent decision. He then attended the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, and felt that ‘itch’ to get back in and do what he does best– win.
While the idea of another return for Phelps is ever-so-enticing, he shut the idea down (at least for now), citing his family as a huge reason why.
“[Boomer] has started standing by himself a little bit from time to time,” Phelps said. “He’s on the move all the time now and loving it. He’s killing it. It’s so fun to watch him. Every day, it’s something different, something special. It’s a treat for me to see it face to face. It’s wild. It’s mind-blowing for Nicole and I. We still look at each other sometimes and go, ‘Wow, we have a son. This is our son.'”
Phelps made it clear (again) that his time on the international swimming stage is done. “I don’t see myself making a comeback. I have no desire right now to do it. I’m in the second chapter of my life. I have a lot of things I now want to accomplish. I’m realizing that more and more. This is a really cool opportunity for me to do some things I was not able to do when I was swimming.”
Phelps certainly has good reason to make the flight to Budapest this summer– he is good friends with many of the expected American stars to qualify for the Worlds team, including IM specialist Chase Kalisz, who has said that Phelps is like a brother and a mentor to him.