Phelps Nabs One Last Gold, Exits Swimming for Good

Ends career with 22 medals, 18 of them gold
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2012 5:17 AM CDT
Phelps Nabs One Last Gold, Exits Swimming for Good
United States' swimmer Michael Phelps holds up a silver trophy after being honored as the most decorated Olympian at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012.   (Matt Slocum)

Michael Phelps got up to leave his last news conference at the Olympic pool when his relay mates were asked if they thought he would really stay retired. Before they could answer, Phelps smiled and said emphatically: "Yes, yes." The most decorated Olympian called it a career last night with a fitting ending: a gold medal in the 4x100-meter medley relay. Phelps' totals in four Olympics: 22 medals, 18 golds, 51 races, and 9,900 meters of swimming. "I've been able to do everything that I wanted," he said. "If you can say that about your career, there's no need to move forward. Time for other things."

The 27-year-old has some ideas on what to do with his new-found free time: going cage diving among great white sharks in South Africa with Chad le Clos, the last man to beat him in the Olympics; playing golf and poker; and cheering on his hometown Baltimore Ravens. As for how that final race went, Phelps regained the lead in the medley relay with his trademark butterfly stroke, then handed it over to freestyle anchor Nathan Adrian, who brought it home in 3 minutes, 29.35 seconds. Japan took the silver in 3:31.26, and Australia got the bronze in 3:31.68. The team of Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen, Phelps, and Adrian hugged it out before Phelps waved and smiled to the crowd. The Americans dominated the medal count at the pool, finishing with 16 golds and 30 overall. (More 2012 London Olympics stories.)

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