Fans holding out hope that Olympic legend Michael Phelps might once again come out of retirement to grace the pools in the 2020 summer games in Tokyo may want to readjust their expectations.
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“No. I’ve been around a couple meets and there’s no itch to come back,” Phelps told Fox News on Thursday.
The world’s greatest swimmer announced his return in 2014 following a brief "retirement" after the 2012 London Games -- but Phelps officially walked away from competitive swimming after the 2016 Rio Olympics as the most decorated Olympian of all-time.
However, during a USA Swimming pre-competition news conference in Brazil, Phelps left the door open for a comeback when he told reporters, "I'll say this, just in case of a comeback ... my potential last Olympics."
And it appears the 32 year old is content being a father, racing sharks and pursuing his goals outside of the pool.
“I mean I’ll go and swim from time to time just to kind of decompress and get away, but I don’t miss the grind of that," Phelps said. "I mean, it’s probably easier than doing what I’m doing now. I would say training for the Olympics is easier than living a normal life where I’m outside of the pool most of the time.”
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He’s now turning his attention to building his MP brand, and continuing to grow his Michael Phelps foundation and the IM program, which encourages healthy and active lifestyles, as well as water safety.
“Continuing to teach kids water safety is of huge importance," Phelps said. "I mean, it’s a big part with my son now as well. Just making sure everyone is safe around the pool, especially now being in the summer. I think too many kids are drowning and it’s something that we need to change and help.”
The Olympic champion, who is an advocate for mental health, is also working with a company called Medibio on a “wearable device that works off your circadian rhythm.” The device has a monitor synched to your heart rate while you’re sleeping, and it's able to track different stress levels and send “directions on help from this person or that person."
Phelps, who’s had two DUI’s, knows firsthand what it’s like to battle depression. He’s suffered from “at least three or four massive spells of depression,” adding that, in one case, he “didn’t want to be alive anymore.”
“You know, I think that’s something that we all need to understand and it’s okay to ask for help," Phelps said. "I think a lot of us look at, especially Americans, look at it as a sign of weakness if we reach our hand out and ask for help. At the end of the day, look, we want to be the best that we can be, and sometimes we can’t do it alone.”
On top of it all, he’s busy being a father to his 1-year-old son, Boomer, who Phelps says is “in the water nonstop.”
And when asked whether he believes Boomer will follow in his father’s footsteps, Phelps replied: “I mean, if he wants to swim, go for it."
With competitive racing behind him, and different challenges ahead, Phelps said “it’s time to make the next chapter.”