Baltimore-native swimming legend is enjoying life outside of the pool, from the new experiences of fatherhood to being a brand ambassador and a hopeful angel investor. However, he hasn’t entirely ruled out the possibility of unretiring for a second time.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Phelps said his decision about returning to professional swimming would come down to how he feels after he attends the swimming world championships in Budapest this July.
“The true test will be, if I do end up going over to the worlds this summer, do I have that itch again?” he said in an interview yesterday.
Phelps, 31, famously came out of retirement in April 2014, less than two years after he hung up his swimming goggles after the 2012 Olympics in London. In his interview yesterday, he said that decision was motivated by a poor showing from the men’s relay team at the 2013 world championships in Spain. (France beat the United States in the 400-meter relay, much to Phelps’ discontent while he sat in the stands watching.)
His decision to return was a good one. Phelps enjoyed a glorious run in Rio de Janeiro last summer, taking home five gold medals and one silver and achieving an all-time Olympic record of 28 in total, 23 of them gold.
“I’m so stoked that I came back for (the 2016) Olympics. I finished exactly how I wanted,” he was quoting as saying.
However, as of now, a second unretirement isn’t in the cards. “I have no desire right now to do it. I’m in the second chapter of my life,” he said.
That chapter has included trading in his unique Canton row home for an expansive desert mansion in Arizona, marrying his wife, Nicole, several times, having a son named Boomer with her and watching him learn to swim and walk, securing new ad deals for products ranging from mattresses to toothpaste and even mulling a new career as an investor.
Yesterday, Phelps told CNBC he and his financial adviser have set up an account that will allow him to “kind of dabble and…get my feet wet a little bit.”
The Baltimore Bullet has also taken on new advocacy roles. In February, he testified before Congress about the cancer of doping that has tarnished international sports, a subject he’d mostly been mum on throughout his career. He’s also promoting water conservation as part of his new partnership with dental product maker Colgate.
Phelps also has a new marketing deal with the Discovery Channel to kick off Shark Week this summer. We’ll see if he tests the waters again in a more precarious way than he’s used to.