Michael Phelps will not be tempted out of retirement to compete at the 2020 Tokyo Games but the most decorated Olympian of all time is optimistic the U.S. swimming team can succeed in his absence.
The 32-year-old, who won 23 Olympic gold medals, said on Friday that he does not want to compete at a sixth Games as he has already achieved everything he set out to accomplish in the sport.
He maintains, however, that he could return to his dominant form in time for Tokyo if he wanted to.
“I will not be competing in Tokyo, no,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview.
“I just have zero desire. I think I could. I think it would be easier to come back this time around if I chose to, but I really don’t have any goals to make me want to come back.
“I’m very happy with where I ended up in my career and I’m sure 20 years down the road I’ll be able to look back and say I hung my suit up at the perfect time.”