Rio de Janeiro: Swimming legend Michael Phelps said there was no better way to draw curtains to his illustrious career than bagging five more gold and one silver medal to his bagful of possessions from the Rio Olympics.
Phelps bid goodbye to the sport recently in Rio after having amassed a rich haul of 28 Olympic medals, which includes 23 gold, three silver and two bronze.
Phelps said going into his last Olympics in Rio, he was desperate to win the elusive gold medal in 200m butterfly event.
"I always have things that I think I can improve on. That's just how I've always worked in my life. It would have been really awesome to break a world record or do a best time. I did do a best time, but I didn't break a world record. I went my fastest 100 split in the relay. But in all, this is exactly what I wanted," said Phelps, who is a brand ambassador of Omega, the official timekeeper of Olympic Games.
"I knew that coming into these Olympic Games that I had prepared myself the best way and I was ready to swim. One of the biggest things that I really wanted back was the 200 fly victory. I wanted that gold medal to retire with. I've been in five Olympic Games in that race and I wanted to finish on top. Being able to win five more Olympic gold medals and one more silver medal, there's no better way to finish a career," the American legend added.
Having featured in his last competitive event, Phelps said he got emotional at times during the Games in Rio.
"I think it was finally setting in that this was my last time. This was last meet, my last warm-up, my last races ever. That was going through my head the whole time and I was replaying a lot of my past and my swimming career throughout the last 24 years. That just made me emotional.
"That was something that I didn't have in London, and that's why, people who don't believe me that I'm not coming back, that's why you can tell that this is it. I'm done. No more," he said.
Asked what was his best memory from the ongoing Olympic Games, Phelps said: "Swimming wise it was probably the 200 fly. You can look at that race and say it was probably one of the best races of my life. But also spending time with the team. We had such a young team and, coming in, we had 30 something rookies that were on our team.
"So being able to get to know them and being able to help them. Being elected a captain for the first time ever. Carrying the flag. I literally don't think anything could have gone any better this whole Olympics and it's a dream come true."
Phelps said having finished his career he would now concentrate fully on his family life.
"I don't think I'll miss the training. I don't think I'll miss the early mornings. I will 100 per cent stay in some kind of shape. After London I gained about 30, 35 pounds. So I'm not doing that this time. This has been my life for 24 years.
"So it will be a little different not having it. But being able to have a child that Nicole and I welcomed into this world this year, we still will have the early mornings. Those are something I'm looking forward to," he said.
"Fatherhood is the greatest thing I could ever dream of. Being able to spend time with him and just watch him smile. We were driving over today and he was kind of laughing and giggling and making small noises. It's just the greatest being able to see the expressions on his face and to watch how much he's changed. I'm looking forward to continuing watching him as he grows into a young man."
Phelps said during his entire career he shared a very important bonding with Omega.
"I've had the privilege to work with some amazing companies in my life. Working with OMEGA I honestly can say is the best. We've spent the longest time together and they feel like a family to me. Being able to have the best timing system in the world at our events, every single year. We know the times are great. We know the times are perfect. There's nobody else I'd rather be with," he said.
Published Date: Aug 17, 2016 08:44 pm | Updated Date: Aug 17, 2016 08:44 pm