Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time, officially announced his retirement from swimming during a Monday morning interview with Today.
The 31-year-old Maryland native actually told host Matt Lauer the same exact thing four years ago before re-donning his cap and suit for one final shot at glory, but this time he means it, he says.
“I wanted to come back and finish my career how I wanted and this was the cherry on top of the cake,” he stated. “That’s the difference. Because I knew this was the last time. I knew this was the last race that I ever had, the last Olympics that I ever had. And everything just really hit hard.”
Phelps says he’s looking forward to building “a family with [his fiancee] Nicole” and starting a “whole new chapter” in his life.
He also passed along a message for the next generation of swimmers.
“I told I told a bunch of them, I won’t be far away, if they ever need anything to reach out. This has been such a passion of mine and a big sport for me. I want to help these guys as much as I can.”