Michael Phelps has won his 22nd gold medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics on Thursday, while he looks to add more to that until Saturday. It’s been surreal watching him distance himself from the rest of the competition, even destroying South African rival Chad le Clos.
It makes the whole experience doubly exciting to watch knowing Phelps wasn’t supposed to be in the 2016 Rio Olympics after he previously announced his retirement after competing in London. He only announced his comeback two years ago.
He’s been competing since the 2004 Olympics in Athens, becoming the most decorated Olympian of all-time, and knowing this will be his last he’s already missed.
After winning his 13th individual gold medal, Michael Phelps said, “Right now, I don’t know how to wrap my head around that,” according to a report by Time. “I don’t know that to say. It’s been a hell of a career.”
It’s been an incredible career that the Phelps himself can’t believe that it will be over soon after 20 years. “Things kind of starting hitting me this morning,” Phelps said. “I was like wow, I only have to put a racing suit on two more times after tonight. And I only have to warm down one more time after tonight.”
“… It’s wild to think that over 20 years ago, I learned to swim. It’s all stopping, competition wise, in the next 48 hours.”
But his swimming buddy and teammate Ryan Lochte gives us hopes of a Michael Phelps return in Tokyo during his interview with USA Today.
“I guarantee he will be there,” Ryan Lochte said. “I think so. I really think so. So Michael, I’ll see you in Tokyo.”
Bob Bowman, Phelps long-time coach, however, doesn’t see it happening and just wants him to leave the game as the best. He’ll be 35 years old by that time, and Phelps said prior to Rio that there’s not a shot he’s coming back.
But he doesn’t seem so sure anymore as he leaves the door open by saying that this is his “potential” last Olympics.
Just so we don’t beat him to death in case he comes back in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Photo courtesy: Instagram.com/@m_phelps00