Michael Phelps dives out of retirement and into the pool

Kyrah Hunter

Phelps announced that he will go out of retirement to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.
Eric Draper
Phelps announced that he will go out of retirement to compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil.

Michael Phelps, 22-time Olympic gold medalist is officially coming out of retirement to swim one last time in the Summer Olympics in August.

Phelps announced his active retirement at the 2012 London Olympics, but only a year later, the medalist re-entered the drug-testing pool to qualify for the games in 2016. However, Phelps wasn’t positive about going back into the Olympics at the time.

“If I decide to keep going and swim again, then I’ll compete,” Phelps told The Associated Press back in 2013.

Now, he’s more than certain to compete in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, marking this as his fifth Olympics.

Phelps began swimming when he was 15 years old and hasn’t stopped since. In his Olympic debut in Athens in 2004, Phelps earned five world titles and four years later in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he won eight gold medals, one for each event. Even in his retirement, Phelps stayed active in swimming, competing in meets all over the country.

Though Phelps may be the most decorated Olympian, the swimmer has gone through many obstacles these past years. Leading up to the 2012 Olympics, Phelps felt that he had lost his fire for swimming but said he kept up the front for the public and his family. Phelps consistently missed practice. Swimming became more of chore than as a way of life. This marked only the beginning for Phelps’ temporary fall from grace.

  The 30-year-old was busted in 2014 for drunk driving, highlighting his drinking problem for all the world to see. Phelps avoided jail time by pleading guilty and being put under probation for 18 months, according to the ESPN article, “ Gold medalist Michael Phelps pleads guilty to DUI,” written by the Associated Press in 2014. Later that year, Phelps checked himself into a rehab facility in Arizona where he improved immensely.

“I set myself down a downward spiral,” Phelps said in an interview with Today Show reporter Matt Lauer on April 27. “I think it was more of a sign than anything else, that I had to get something under control, whatever it was. I look back at that night and everything happened for a reason.”

Now, Phelps has a newborn desire to be in the pool and feels his trials have made him into a better person.

As Phelps re-enters the pressuring games, competitors have their eyes on his world records, such as South African swimmer Chad le Clos. As a child, le Clos admired Phelps since he first saw him compete in Athens, but now le Clos is a close rival to Phelps’ records.

“I wanted to give him a run for his money,” le Clos said at the 2012 Olympics in an ESPN  article “Le Clos example of the Phelps effect,” written by Wayne Drehs. “I wanted to make him proud.”

Phelps will be entering the Rio Olympics with the USA Swim Team with teammates such as Ryan Lochte, owning five gold medals, and Missy Franklin with four gold medals. Phelps will be competing in the 100/200 butterfly among other relays. Though the swimmer is the oldest swimmer to be returning to the Olympics, Phelps feels this will be the first time he’s given 100%.

“I’m happy to move on from my swimming career and go out how I wanted to,” Phelps said to Today in “Michael Phelps welcomes son, Boomer Robert Phelps, with fiancée Nicole Johnson.”