Michael Phelps says he will retire after London Olympics
Michael Phelps swims in the 100-meter butterfly event during the 2012 Indianapolis Grand Prix in March.
May 7th, 2012
10:04 AM ET

Michael Phelps says he will retire after London Olympics

U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps says he'll make one more push in the pool at the Olympics in London this summer, but after that he's hanging up his Speedo.

Phelps told Anderson Cooper in an interview on "60 Minutes" on Sunday that while it took him quite some time to get back into training for London, he's ready to go for the gold again. If he can get three medals during the Summer Olympics he will be able to retire as the athlete with the most Olympic career medals.

Debbie Phelps, Michael's mother, still likes the idea of him going to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Olympics, in part because she wants to travel there. His consolation for her: "We'll go watch."

"Once I retire, I'm retiring," he said on "60 Minutes." "I'm done."

His coach, Bob Bowman, said he wasn't sure Phelps would even get to the Olympics. After a series of paparazzi photos showed the Olympic golden boy partying and Phelps slacked on practicing, everything was up in the air.

"I thought it was a 50-50," Bowman said. "I really didn't have a feel for whether he would come back or not come back."

In the fall of 2009, Bowman said, Phelps probably missed six weeks of practice. Phelps said he took a trip to Vegas, lounged around the house, played video games and did anything to distract himself from the pool.

"It was hard, because I didn't know if the passion or the fire was still inside of me," Phelps told Cooper. "And it took awhile for me to actually realize it myself. Bob couldn't tell me, my mom couldn't tell me. They couldn't help me find it."

But he's found it, he says, and is training harder than ever. Phelps talked about one of the interesting ways he's preparing for the Olympics to step up his endurance: sleeping in a chamber that simulates altitudes of 8,000 or 9,000 feet.

"It's just like a giant box," Phelps said. "So, it's like the boy in the bubble."

Bowman said despite Phelps' slow start to getting back into full training mode, he believes the icon of U.S. swimming can still nab several medals.

The question is, how many?

"I don't know," Bowman said. "That's up to him."

Phelps has no doubt he will contend and put on the best show he can during the Olympics across the pond.

"I kind of feel like my old self again," he said. "I'm swimming times like I used to. I'm swimming races how I used to."

But he may be even more excited about his life after the Olympics.

"I've been able to go to all these amazing cities in my travels and I haven't been able to see them at all," he said. "I see the hotel and I see the pool. That's it. And (after the Olympics) I'm just going to go and do whatever I want to do."

soundoff (206 Responses)
  1. CreedsWord

    To John Smith: Are you seriously calling an Olympic Champion a loser???? LOL. You crack me up.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AmazedinFL

    And how many Olympic medals do you have? None? I thought so... How does your record of accomplishment in your field compare to Phelps' in swimming? Easy to call someone else a pathetic loser over the internet–even when his record of accomplishment in a few years likely surpasses what you'll accomplish in your entire life.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JameS

    Exactly, he smoked some weed. So what?!?! I would be more inclined to agreed with the loser statement if he had taken performance enhancing drugs and cheated his way there. But he hasn't, Weed should be legal, and if this guy can smoke weed and accomplish what he has, and university professors, top scientists, and presidents can also, then maybe we should reconsider why we banned it in the first place!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Four Twenty Dude

      Dude .... Chill. Its only weed and that would like make him slow down if he was on the pipe. What about the snow boarders as they have to high to do them crazy junps.

      I am not apposed to them smoking as it has no bearing on me at all. I expect my fast food workers to be weeded up and hitting the bong as they make no money hardly at all.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      The last few presidents smoked weed, so clearly smoking weed qualifies you to be president.

      May 7, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • shelton

      Exactly James! Keep up the good work and keep informing the public and we can win this drug war for good!

      May 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. socalgal

    Hats off to Mr. Phelps!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. my name's Doug

    Who cares if he smoked a little bud. If un-named politicians can admit to snorting cocaine and nobody cares, why should anyone care about an athlete doing some B's. Look at his big pile of medals before you call him a loser.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    Jonathan, what does party affiliation have to do with this?
    John Smith made a silly statement.
    You just made another one.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. OnlyInAmerican

    Duh! One has a limited shelf life as a professional athlete. I'll be surprised if he can get half as many medals as 2008.

    Best of luck Michael!!! Go USA!!!!!!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nifongnation

    His smoking has destroyed him.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • emma

      watch and see

      May 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John

    Kind of curious about him losing alot of money. Could you please direct us to a source of specific information?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. glenp

    LOSER??? hahahaha you'd better learn to live outside your momma's basement. I hate to tell you , he's got 8 gold medals that made him a WINNER. I bet you're an OVOMIT supporter too.

    NUMBSKULL yes, loser, hardly

    May 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jonathon

    AmazedinFL......... I stand by my comment that most Democrats routinely ignore "facts". They do this because they know that if they are forced to counter these facts or tell why they are incorrect, they will lose the argument at hand. So.....they sidestep this issue by routinely ignoring the facts. Case in point: I tell my Democratic friends that Obama is a Marxist who hates Capitalists and who is out to punish successful people, at which point they tell me I don't know what I'm talking about. Then I point them to the interview Obama had with one of the liberal newscasters a few years ago during which time the interviewer said "Mr president, you do realize that history shows that lowering taxes gives you more revenue for your social programs" to which Obama said "yes". The interviewer then said "and you do realize that raising taxes gives you less revenue for social programs" to which Obama said "Yes". So the interviewer then asked "so why would you raise taxes" and Obama said "because it's the right thing to do"....... So...here we have a President who knows what the "win-win" solution (lower taxes for those who actually work and also get more revenue to give to those who don't want to work) and what does Obama do instead: he says raising taxes (which also gives less revenue) is somehow the "right thing to do"! So... he ignores the win-win solution for everyone and instead, because he so hates capitalism, he instead wants to punish EVERYONE by raising taxes. When I confront my Democratic friends with this, they "don;t want to discuss it"........because to do so would destroy their utopian view of this man and instead show them the Marxist he really is. And this is why most Democrats are intellectually dishonest and why you cannot have a discussion with them that is based on "FACTS"...because Democrats will never let "FACTS" be admitted into any discussion.....because to do so would let FACTS get in the way of a discussion......

    May 7, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome

      Johnathon – speaking of ignoring facts, have your taxes gone up or down since Obama took over? I know it's impossible to win an argument with a fool so I don't know why I'm even bothering. Anyway – kick some ass on your way out Mr Phelps! You'll go down as one of if not the best Olympians ever.

      May 8, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • DixieRecht

      You are confusing the conversation with facts! A Marxist? It's there in the open for anyone to see if they just open their eyes!

      May 8, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  12. dms

    weed has nothing to do with his lack of commitment. He has ADHD and anyone that knows or lives with a boy/man with this knows, they like new and exciting situations and have a hard time doing something they are not all in on. There is nothing wrong with moving on to new things when he has achieved what he set out to do. He can do whatever he wants, he's earned it and has the resources to do so.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. jasperddbagghost

    " In the fall of 2009, Bowman said, Phelps probably missed six weeks of practice. Phelps said he took a trip to Vegas, lounged around the house, played video games and did anything ..."

    There you have it folks. This is the day in the life of a typical pot smoker. Toke toke toke!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dontcare

      Takes one to know one, eh?
      Except maybe for the swimming, competing or being useful part... that you know nothing about since you're on the internet hating on people. Come back when you've accomplished something equal to what Mr Phelps has (along with a few bong tokes), then you can give your honest opinion.

      Or stay ignorant & don't rise above your own hate.
      It's up to you.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marylander

      What a troll.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • dude

      There you have it folks!. Some idiots who cannot get past the idea that pot can be good for you and hold on to outdated War on Drugs propaganda because the man TOOK SOME TIME OFF.

      The typical day in the life of an ignoramus. Who likes coffee or beer or cigarettes. He won how many medals and you think that was his first toke?

      May 7, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • OfficeSpace


      May 7, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Yeah! Pot smokers will never be as successful as people like Michael Phelps, Seth Rogan, James Franco, Bill Maher, Snoop Dogg, oh wait...

      May 7, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ted

      Right, or you could be Ted Turner and run a multi-billion dollar media empire. Depends on your ambitions.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JBOO

    Forget Greatest Swimmer. Phelps is one of the Greatest ATHLETES to ever live.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      I have been saying that for years. Phelps is one of, if not the, best athletes ever.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. yoyo

    Does anyone care.......except for Mama?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lamer

      You took time out of your day to read the story. So I would say yes... people do care.

      May 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
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