When the 2020 Olympics begin next year, it will have been 20 years since a young teenager named Michael Phelps first took to the pool and took over the swimming world as no athlete had ever done before.
Although swimming may not get much attention outside of the Olympics, Phelps became a superstar due to his penchant for winning. When the Tokyo Olympics begin, however, will Phelps be there for his fifth Olympics?
Michael Phelps’ Olympic career
Phelps was 15 years old when he first began to make waves in the swimming world. From group competitions to individual races, Phelps has a knack for always being a step ahead of the competition. At the 2004 Athens Olympics, he showed why he was the best.
Phelps won eight medals in Athens, six gold and two bronze. This was enough to put him on the map at a young age. Four years later, however, he put on the most dominant performance in Olympic history, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals in one Olympics by taking home eight.
Phelps followed this up with four gold members and two silver ones in London and five gold members and one silver in Rio de Janeiro. He is already the most decorated Olympian in history.
Struggles with fame and negative publicity
Just weeks after his 2004 Olympic run, Phelps was arrested under suspicion of a DUI, and he pled guilty to the incident. He was arrested 10 years later on similar charges and quickly apologized. Phelps also had a bout of negative publicity when somebody leaked a picture of him appearing to take a hit from a bong a party. He also apologized for this incident.
To his credit, Phelps has been candid about his struggles with drinking and his embarrassment surrounding his DUI arrests. He’s also revealed that he used to medicate with drugs and alcohol to deal with depression. He finally sought help and credits this with turning his life around.
Phelps’ personal life
Phelps met Nicole Johnson in 2011, and the two have been a couple ever since. In February 2015, Phelps asked Johnson to marry him, and the two had a secret wedding in 2016. Their first son, Boomer Phelps, was born on May 5, 2016. Beckett Phelps was born two years later, and the couple recently announced the birth of a third son, Maverick.
A new generation of swimmers has grown up idolizing Michael. He’s even seeing some of his old records fall. These days, when not fulfilling his duties as a husband and father, Phelps volunteers as a coach for local swim teams in the Phoenix area. He seems to be living a relatively lowkey lifestyle following Rio de Janeiro. But will he return to the pool next year?
Will Michael Phelps return for the 2020 Olympics?
Phelps grappled with retirement after both the Beijing and London Olympics. However, it seems like he’s officially calling it quits on his professional swimming career.
The athlete told AZCentral that his last year was going to be 2012, but he did not want to go out with a performance that he was not feeling right for, thus his return four years later. Now, however, it sounds like Phelps is finally done for good. He has a family and the peace of mind that he went out on top.