IT’S OVER, he says. After 18 gold and 22 total medals, on Saturday, the greatest Olympian ever topped his swimming career with another gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay. And let’s not forget the coach who helped him get there, Bob Bowman.
Michael Phelps was emphatic with Bob Costas. He’s retired. However, the reason he is walking away is not something very convincing. He always said he didn’t want to be swimming when he turned 30, which is in 3 years. Arbitrary lines rarely hold, but right now, it’s a wrap.
Mark Spitz, for one, thinks Phelps will be back. Reached by phone, Spitz told USA TODAY Sports to expect Phelps in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
“I think that Michael really and truly believes that this is the end,” said Spitz, who won seven swimming gold medals in the 1972 Munich Games, perfection trumped by Phelps’ eight in the 2008 Beijing Games. “But I believe that will be short lived.”
Spitz thinks Phelps will sit out for two years or so, get the itch to compete once more and dive back in. Spitz theorizes that Phelps could enter the 100 butterfly and the medley relay in Rio in 2016 and come home with two more gold.
“That’s what I think is going to happen,” Spitz said. “And, you know, his mom has said she’d like him to go. And you always want to do what your mom wants.”
His next challenge? Shark diving. …and enjoying his life without having to worry about training.