Is This Really Michael Phelps' & Usain Bolt's Last Olympics? The Veteran Olympians Say It Is
Two Olympic stars, Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt, are currently completing their respective Olympic victory laps in Rio de Janeiro — or so they say. After tying for second place in the men's 100-meter butterfly event on Friday, Michael Phelps said he'll be retiring from competitive swimming. The 2016 Summer Olympics will also be the last Olympic Games for Usain Bolt, the Jamaican runner who's been dubbed the fastest man alive. But are these two historic Olympic athletes really retiring, or will we see them back on our TV screens in 2020?
American swimmer Ryan Lochte, who's long been one of Phelps' biggest competitors, told NBC's Today show on Friday: "I guarantee [Michael Phelps] will be there. I think so. I really think so." Lochte, who came in fifth place in the men's individual 200-meter medley event, added this message to Phelps: "Michael, I'll see you in Tokyo."
Lochte would love a rematch against Phelps, who's been pretty much unbeatable his entire career. But Lochte is no slouch, either; he has 12 Olympic medals and is tied for second in swimming behind Phelps. Lochte also beat Phelps in the 400-meter individual medley event at the 2012 Olympics in London in a highly publicized match-up.
But Phelps was pretty certain that Friday, Aug. 12, was his last individual Olympic event: the men's 100-meter butterfly. On Saturday, Aug. 13, Phelps dove into the Olympic pool for the final time for the men's 4x100-meter medley relay. He ended his Olympic career with 27 medals — an all-time Olympic record.
And on Saturday, Aug. 13, sprinter Usain Bolt competed in one of his last Olympic races, easily winning his qualifying heat. This was the third Summer Olympics for Bolt, who, at almost 30, remains the greatest runner in the game. The reigning World Champion sprinter has stated that he will retire from competitive running in 2017. CNN reported on Bolt's impending retirement way back in 2015, citing an interview with the British tabloid The Daily Mail.
Of course, it's hard to say whether either athlete will indeed retire following the 2016 Rio Olympics. After all, Phelps said that the 2012 Olympics in London would be his last, then came out of retirement in 2014 to prepare for the 2016 Summer Games. Ryan Lochte may be right — we'll (maybe) see you in Tokyo, Michael Phelps.
Yet Phelps still seems determined to hang up his goggles and enjoy those 27 medals. "I saw [what Lochte said] and I was like ‘thanks Ryan, throw me back out there for another four years,'" he told USA Today. "If he wants to come back it will be great."