Michael Phelps reiterated that he plans to retire from swimming at the Olympics after Rio. The 22-time gold medalist hosted a stream on Facebook Live on Saturday and said that he doesn’t plan on going "four more years," and that Saturday’s 4x100 relay race will be his last one.
"We’re not going four more years, this is it," Phelps said. "Tonight’s the last time that I’ll be suiting up and racing at this level. I’m not swimming Masters either — no offense to Masters."
Phelps has said this is his last Olympics multiple times, despite USA teammate Ryan Lochte suggesting that Phelps would return in 2020 and basically every single person who has ever cared about US swimming egging him on for one more go at it four years from now.
Phelps also said he was retiring after the London 2012 Olympics, and as Lochte pointed out on Friday, he insisted that Phelps would be back for Rio.
"He said he’s going to retire after 2012, and I was the only one that said he’d come back," Lochte said. "And I think he’s coming back again."
Lochte said that Phelps loves the challenge and excitement of the Olympics and as his longtime teammate, he’d know. Lochte said that he himself would be back and that he wants Phelps back because "we push each other." He called Phelps the "backbone" of USA swimming.
Phelps will be 35 in 2020, past the prime for many swimmers, but the man already has an Olympic record 27 medal (with a chance to add another one in the aforementioned relay), and nothing he does would be a surprise.