What Phelps Is Up To During The Closing Ceremony

Michael Phelps ended his Olympics career this year in Rio adding a few more gold medals to his collection. His final Olympic swim, in the Men's 4x100m Medley Relay, earned Phelps his 23rd gold medal and 28th overall (he also has three silver and two bronze to round out his collection). Not too shabby for a guy who "retired" after the London Olympics in 2012. This year's Rio games were Phelps' fifth Olympics, and the swimmer is adamant that they were his last. "I am not coming back in four years," Phelps said at a Rio press conference via USA Today following his silver win in the 100-meter butterfly, though he also added that he would be in Tokyo for the Olympics, but "only as a spectator." So, with this being his final Olympics as an athlete, it makes perfect sense that during the Closing Ceremony, Phelps is choosing to be at home with his son and fiancée instead of staying in Rio.

Speaking at the Olympics about his prospective retirement, Phelps said he had only one plan: spend time with his fiancée, Nicole Johnson, and young son, Boomer Phelps. "I'm really looking forward to seeing Boomer, Nicole and my family; I'd just like to spend some time with them," he said via Time. And that's exactly what he did following his last event in Rio on Saturday, Aug. 13. Just four days later, Phelps shared a sweet family photo on Instagram of himself, Boomer, and Nicole enjoying some quality time — where else — in the pool. "There's nothing like being back home!! Great way to spend my first day in retirement," Phelps captioned the adorable pic.

And a couple of days before the closing ceremony, Phelps tweeted the following:

It seems only right that Phelps would not choose to stay in Rio longer than he had to be at the closing ceremony, but is instead spending more time with his family. And don't worry Phelps fans, Rio won't have been the last you'll have seen of America's favorite swimmer. For one thing, it's hard to ignore the impact Phelps has had on the Olympic games, even when he is no longer competing. After winning his 13th individual gold medal at the Rio games, Phelps became the first Olympian ever to win 13 individual golds, beating a runner, Leonidas, who is said to have competed in 152 B.C. — yeah, over 2,000 years ago. In fact, it's hard to imagine an Olympics-related record Phelps hasn't broken.


When he began his Olympic career in 2000, Phelps became the youngest American swimmer competing at the games in 70 years. As one of the most decorated Olympic athletes, Phelps is known around the world, and that's not about to change just because he's not in the Olympic pool. Phelps is likely to stay on as a USA Swimming ambassador, and his influence will be felt among future American athletes and swimmers to come, like Katie Ledecky, who famously stood in line for a Phelps autograph a decade ago, and this year competed alongside him. Even Joseph Schooling, the swimmer who beat Phelps in his last Olympic 100 butterfly, said at the following press conference that Phelps was the reason he was inspired to swim. "I don't think I would be at this point without Michael; he is the reason I wanted to be a better swimmer," Schooling said, via Time .

"With everything that I've done. This is how I wanted to go out. I wanted to go out on top, and on my terms," Phelps said in an interview with E! News. If this truly is the last Olympic games for Phelps, I'd say he's succeeded.