The Rio Olympics have had their ups and downs, particularly for U.S. athletes (*cough cough* Ryan Lochte), but on Sunday, the Games will close on a high note. The Olympics' closing ceremony will take place on Sunday night to celebrate the culture of Brazil and the athleticism of the Olympians one last time. One particularly celebrated athlete will be absent, though, as Michael Phelps won't attend Rio's closing ceremony.
Phelps started his Rio Olympics experience as the U.S. flag bearer at the opening ceremonies. He was already the most decorated Olympian in history, but he only solidified his place in history with his swims in Rio. When the swimming competitions came to a close, Phelps had accumulated five gold medals and one silver. That puts his Olympic career total at 23 gold medals, three silver, and two bronze. (If the number 23 has you making a connection to another successful Michael, you are not alone.)
As the Rio Olympics come to a close on Sunday, Phelps will likely be enjoying his first few days of what he calls "retirement." According to several photos posted on Instagram by the swimmer and his family members, the Phelps family has already returned to American soil for some much-needed R&R.
Phelps announced his retirement (for the second time) last week during an interview with TODAY from Rio. He seems adamant that Rio was his final swimming competition — "the cherry on top of the cake," as he put it to Matt Lauer. Although happy for Phelps, the world seems to remain skeptical. Phelps previously announced his retirement after the 2012 Olympics in London, only to dive back into his career in 2014.
Things are a little different for Phelps now, though. He has a fiancé, former Miss California USA Nicole Johnson. The couple announced their engagement last year. He also has a son with Johnson, Boomer Phelps, who was born in May. Boomer is also known as the baby who already has a better swimming career (if he wants it) and Instagram following than you.
Although Phelps won't be in Rio for the closing ceremony, he seems appreciative of the experience that Brazil gave him over the past two weeks. On Friday, he posted the following message of gratitude on Instagram:
While Phelps is at home enjoying time with his family, other Olympians and officials will gather in Rio one last time for Sunday's ceremony. For the U.S. team, Simone Biles will carry the American flag. The ceremony will extinguish the Olympic flame and officially pass the Olympic flag on to Tokyo, which will hold the next Summer Olympics in 2020.