Living Legend: Attending his First Olympics after Retirement, Michael Phelps Looks Forward to the Future - Lifestyle Asia

“I think the biggest thing is just always to make sure that you’re being yourself, be your authentic self whenever you possibly can,” says the most decorated Olympian in history.

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When he got to Tokyo, Michael Phelps says that he had a lot of emotions that are going through both his mind and body.

“Being at the first Olympics that I haven’t competed in, in 20 plus years, is really weird,” the 36-year-old admits. “But it’s also really exciting.”

With 28 Olympic medals to his name—23 of which were gold—Phelps being merely a spectator at the world’s biggest sporting stage does seem something the world would have to get used to.

But given current global health crisis and the question marks it has placed on the Olympics, the retired swimmer says the fact that being able to mount the event was something to be happy about.

“You know, with everything that’s going on in the world, for the last year and a half that we’ve had, I’m excited that we’re able to have these Olympics,” he says, “to be able to have these athletes, celebrate these athletes, cheer these athletes on, and watch some amazing, amazing competitions.”

Longtime partner

Phelps was in Tokyo partly to cheer on the American contingent he used to be the centerpiece of as well as support Omega. He has been a friend of the brand since 2004, a partnership that has stood by him through his Olympic journey.

“Omega is the only sponsor that I’ve been with that has seen every single one of my gold medals, or every single one of my Olympic medals,” he says at the Official Timekeeper’s Showcasing in Tokyo. “And for me, honestly, my partnership with Omega has been more than just a partnership. It’s a family.”

The two have been together almost 21 years. “So for me, it’s just incredible, being able to spend as much time as I have with everybody from the team, but also being able to see how much technology has really changed throughout our lifetime,” says Phelps, who was wearing the Omega Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020. “Being able to see some of the equipment that we have here today.”

The “Baltimore Bullet” finds it awesome to be able to everything the brand has been doing for all sports.

“You see what they’re doing in open water. Seeing what they’re doing in water polo, and climbing—all of these things to really bring the experience to you, the viewers back home, so we can understand exactly what’s going on in real time,” Phelps says. “I’m a geek when it comes to numbers. I love numbers. I love stats. So for me being able to see this stuff is just a dream come true.”

Be yourself

This was actually Phelps first trip to Tokyo, and he hopes to be back soon to “actually experience” the Japanese capital.

“I’ve been to Japan twice in my life. And it was 20 and 21 years ago. So to be able to come back here for me,” he says. “It’s exciting.”

The Olympian says that the country has given him so many good memories. “I hopefully have the opportunity to come back. You know, I think for me being able to be a part of the last five Olympics, that’s one of the coolest things for me being able to go to five different countries and continents and see everything that’s so different,” shares. “It’s a dream come true.”

For the athletes who are competing at this year’s games, Phelps says that it would help to always be genuine. “I think the biggest thing is just always to make sure that you’re being yourself, be your authentic self whenever you possibly can,” he advises. “And you’ll then be able to see all the great results and anything that you want.”

And that mindset is what he’s bringing to his own future.

“I think that’s been one thing that I’ve been trying to do really for the last five years,” Phelps shares. “And it’s been cool. It’s been a good ride, a good journey. And I’m excited to see what the next chapter will bring.”

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