Despite shake-ups happening in the sport that 28-time Olympic medalist Michael Phelps changed forever, the 33-year-old retired icon insists that he is not coming back.
“In swimming, when you miss one day of training, it takes you two days to get back. In six years, I never missed a single day. It made me better than athletes who took a Sunday off. But now that I am out of the pool, if I go back again, I don’t feel the same. I have lost it. So no comebacks,” Phelps told reporters at an Under Armour event in New Delhi this week.
This may rain on some fans’ parade that were hoping to see the 5-time Olympian grace pools around the world as part of the inaugural International Swimming League, a privatized option to FINA’s newly-launched Champions Series that begins next month. But, at least publicly in these statements, Phelps is content to relish his Olympic memories instead.
“2008 was memorable because I won 8 for 8. Its hard to not say it was the greatest Olympics. But competing in Rio… to climb back to the mountain, was great fun. I felt like a 15 to 16-year-old kid, who was starting to enjoy himself again. They were both very different Olympics. But I love both equally.
“The 2012 Olympics was perhaps when I was in my worst shape. After winning all gold in 2008, it was challenging to figure out my next goal. Later, in 2016, to find the motivation again, and to train and to perform again perfectly, was even more challenging and incredible,” he said.
But, the retired champion confirms his mind is on things well away from the pool. “In the sporting world, I was able to achieve everything I wanted to. Now, I am continuing talking about the importance of healthy and active lifestyles, mental health and water safety. It is something close to me and makes me excited to get out of bed every day,” he said.
Always in a motivating state of mind, Phelps’ advice to the younger generations is, “Never give up on something you truly wanted. If your dream is true, you can do everything to make it a reality. My journey was not always easy… was not always fun. But it was something I truly wanted and there was no one who could stop me from achieving my goals.
“If there is a kid dreaming of 50 Olympic medals, if there is someone dreaming of the stars, they can achieve that,” he said. (Indian Express)