On Sunday night, Michael Phelps sat down with Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” to discuss his mercurial journey since his historic Olympic gold medal run in Beijing four years ago, including his hopes for his year’s Olympics.
In the interview, Phelps confirms the rumors that he will retire after this year’s Olympics, no matter the outcome, with a gleeful eye towards his post-swimming life, free of rigid, unyielding routine.
“Once I retire, I’m retiring,” he told Cooper. “I’m done.”
As such, London would be Phelps’s last chance at breaking Larisa Latynina’s Olympic medal record of 18 and extending his gold medal record even further. Phelps currently has 16 total Olympic medals, 14 of them gold.
Michael Phelps: After Beijing, I mean, there’s countless times where I’ve just wanted to be like, “I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to go to the pool every day.”
Anderson Cooper: So now is it, is it hard getting out of bed in the morning?
Michael Phelps: No, because one, we’re so close. And two, because I’m actually enjoying it. I’m swimming well again.
A somewhat surprising revelation during the interview, the decision for Phelps to come keep training for the 2012 Olympics wasn’t set in stone. In 2009, Phelps lacked motivation and the drive required of elite level swimmers that spend hours in the pool and weight room preparing.
“I thought it was a 50-50,” Phelps’s coach, Bob Bowman said. “I really didn’t have a feel for whether he would come back or not come back.”
But now, Phelps seems focused and determined, sleeping in an altitude sleeping chamber to simulate sleep at over 8,000 feet and a renewed focus on strength training.
Whereas Phelps appeared confident about his chances in London, Bowman was cautiously tight-lipped about his superstar’s prospects this July, saying that he can win multiple gold medals, but that is up to him.
Tags: Michael Phelps