What a splendid way to say goodbye to the sport. There is no better example than American swimming icon Michael Phelps. The legendary swimmer had stamped his class at Rio 2016 and won his fifth gold of the Rio Olympics. Leaving his rivals numbed and shocked . It was his 23rd overall as he powered the US team to a win in the 4×100-meter medley relay on Saturday night in what he said was the final race of his career. Phelps powered the US team to a 3:27.95 finish, 1.29 seconds ahead of Britain. Australia took the bronze, reports Xinhua.
The win also set a new Olympic record in an event that the US has never lost in the history of the Games, according to CBS Sports.
Phelps, the most-decorated Olympian ever, picked five golds and a silver at Rio, his fifth Games. He now has an imposing 28 medals, a feat that is unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon.
“I’m just ready for something different,” the 31-year-old who made his debut at the 2000 Games in Sydney at age 15, said after the event, according to CBS Sports.
“My swimming career might be over, but I have the future ahead of me to turn the page and start whatever I want. It’s not the end of a career, it’s the beginning of a new journey.”
At the Rio Games, Phelps won individual gold in the 200-meter individual medley and the 200-meter butterfly, while taking silver in the 100-meter butterfly. He also won team gold in the 4×100- and 4×200-meter freestyle relays, along with Saturday’s 4×100-meter medley relay.
Overall, Phelps has 23 golds, three silvers and two brozes, making for a total of 28 Olympic medals.
Phelps has won more than twice as many golds as any other Olympian. Following his 23 golds are Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, Finnish athlete Paavo Nurmi, US swimmer Mark Spitz and US athlete Carl Lewis – each with just nine golds.
Phelps also has more golds than 62 countries – including India, which has so far won nine golds in the modern Olympics and has 26 medals overall. This list of 62 does not include the 44 countries that have participated without winning any gold medals.
Phelps won six gold medals in Athens in 2004, eight in Beijing in 2008, four in London in 2012, and five in Rio. He did not win any medal in his first Games in Sydney.