NEW YORK — Michael Phelps came back from a late September trip to Milan and decided enough was enough.
It was time to make his retirement official by completing paperwork that would take his name out of a drug-testing pool. Though Phelps has said for months the Rio Olympics were his finale, these papers would make him ineligible for competition.
So Phelps turned to Peter Carlisle, his agent since turning pro at age 16 in 2001.
“I said to Peter, I was like, get the papers, can we just sign these things, so I don’t have to do the daily updates and everything?” said Phelps, referencing an exhausting whereabouts system that all athletes must fill out so drug testers can find them for surprise tests. “That was brutal [the whereabouts system]. It’s good. I’m still in the pool [recreationally]. I’m still not coming back.”
In early 2013, Phelps unretired by re-entering the drug-testing pool, becoming eligible to swim in 2014 after a mandatory nine-month waiting period.
Of those drug-testing papers, Phelps reportedly said after his last swim in Rio, “Were the papers here, I’d sign them tomorrow.”
Phelps spoke to media Monday ahead of USA Swimming’s Golden Goggle Awards in Times Square.
Other tidbits from Phelps:
*He and Nicole Johnson had a premature “backyard wedding” on June 13 to make it smoother for Johnson and their baby, Boomer, to travel together with the same last name. They kept the marriage a secret until media published reports in October.
*On a recent trip to Beijing, Phelps saw “BOOMER” written on the side of the Water Cube facing his hotel.Follow @nzaccardi