Michael Phelps was down in Rio for the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday, but reiterated the fact that he won’t be back for the Olympics in three years. At least not as a competitor.
“I am having fun. I love being retired, I can’t stress it enough,” Phelps said during a swimming event for children. “I am happy, smiling, and more relaxed. It’s something that I have wanted for a long time and now I’m happy that I can make the most of it.”
Phelps was also happy to praise Rio as it prepares to host the upcoming 2016 Olympics.
“It’s not something you see too often. It’s going to be something special for Rio to host the Olympics and the World Cup with this type of spirit.”
But while Phelps may be done with swimming, the world isn’t quite done giving him accolades: Phelps was honored with the first Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award after winning six medals in London last summer for a career total of 22, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most all-time.
“It has been an amazing career and it is crazy to think that it is over,” he said at the podium. “But I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in sport. I wanted to change swimming and take it to a level, and I have. But I will continue to be a part of sport and help grow sports. That is a goal and a passion of mine.”
Steve Langton, who was described by driver Steven Holcomb as the “best push athlete in the world,” announced his retirement today.
A collegiate sprinter and jumper at Northeastern University, Langton decided to try bobsledding after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics. He filled out an online athlete resume, and, by the 2010 Games, he was an Olympian.
At the Sochi 2014 Games, Langton teamed with Holcomb to win a bronze medal in the two-man race. It was the first Olympic medal in the event by American sled since 1952. He claimed another bronze medal as a member of Holcomb’s four-man “Night Train.”
“In Sochi I competed on the world’s biggest stage, I won two medals for my country and I did so along not only the best teammates but best friends anyone could ever ask for,” Langton told USA Bobsled.
Langton, who has a 62-inch standing box jump and can squat more than 500 pounds, was described by Men’s Health as “the most powerful winter Olympian” in the lead-up to 2014 Games.
“[Langton’s] work ethic and discipline rubbed off on the other athletes and made everyone better,” said USA Bobsled & Skeleton Chief Executive Officer Darrin Steele. “I have no doubt that he’ll find success in the next chapter of his life as well.”
Langton appeared on “The Amazing Race” in 2015 with his girlfriend, Aly Dudek, an Olympic short track speedskater.
None of the push athletes on the current U.S. roster have Olympic experience. Holcomb will compete in the World Cup opener this Saturday with Sam McGuffie, a former University of Michigan football player. The race will be McGuffie’s World Cup debut.