After tying for the silver medal in the 100 meter butterfly on Friday, Michael Phelps made a point of telling reporters that the Rio Olympics are going to be his last.
Phelps, 31, has said in the past that 2016 would be his final Olympics. The discussion was stoked on Friday when American swimmer Ryan Lochte, Phelps’s friend and competitor, suggested Phelps would be back for Tokyo in 2020.
“I will just clarify that Ryan doesn’t know what he is talking about,” Phelps told reporters after the race. “I am not coming back in four years.”
His three-way tie with Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh marked the first time in his Olympic career he failed to win the event. Singapore’s Joseph Schooling won gold.
The silver was Phelps’s 27th career Olympic medal, and if he indeed retires, it will have been the final individual race of his career. Phelps won the 200 meter individual medley on Thursday and the men’s 4x100 meter relay, men’s 200 meter butterfly, and 4x200 meter freestyle relay earlier this week to give himself 22 career gold medals, the most ever by an Olympian.
“I have two laps left in my career,” he said, “so I am happy and I’m excited and looking forward to tomorrow. I saw (what Lochte said) and I was like ‘thanks Ryan, throw me back out there for another four years.’ If he wants to come back it will be great.””
Phelps swims once more on Saturday in the 4x100 meter medley relay, in what would be his final race.