Michael Phelps on Losing his World Records and Moving on

Michael Phelps is a name that has become synonymous with world records. He is the Olympian to win the highest number of gold medals. He has broken 39 records in total and held the 200-meter butterfly record for 18 years. His accomplishments are difficult to summarize when limited by words. He is one of the greatest swimmers on the planet but he is a man with changed priorities now.

Phelps’s 100-meter butterfly record was recently broken by an American and his 200-meter achievement taken away by a 19-year old Hungarian, but he says he is not sad. In a recent interview, Phelp’s talked about his life after retirement and what he thinks about losing his world records.

Retirement and starting a family

Phelps’s wife was pregnant with his third baby at the time when he was losing possessions that had been in his family for quite some time. Phelps retired from swimming in 2016 and has since had two kids with a third on the way. His other babies, Boomer, 3, and Beckett, 1, are a cheerful bunch who keep their dad busy.  

Phelps says he has better treasures to cherish now

The 200-meter butterfly and the fly, in general, had been Michael’s signature strokes. The record he kept for almost two decades had been his sister’s before that. However. When a New York Times reporter sat down with him to discuss his reaction to it, he showed no signs of mourning. In fact, he was appreciative of the two swimmers because he understood it was a huge feat to achieve.

“When I won seven golds at the 2007 meet, I broke five world records. Kristof Milak broke one world record. I broke 39. So, keep going. Break that record 10 more times. Hold it for 18 years. It’s about longevity” Phelps says about how he looks at the fact that his butterfly record cabinet now stands bare.

The 19-year old record breaker

At the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in August 2019, Michael Phelps lost his 200-meter butterfly record to Kristof Milak. The 19-year old from Hungary had won a lot of acclaim for the feat and even became an internet sensation showing the world never to give up on your dreams. Milak set a new record with a time of 1:50.73 compared to Phelps 1:51.51.

Phelps is sitting out the 2020 Olympics

Having an 18-year-old record taken away is no small thing, but Michael Phelps says he is not perturbed. According to him, there is still the 400-meter record and he believes that will stay for a long time. He believes that if that record were to be broken, he would definitely get back to training and consider coming out of retirement. For now, though. Phelps is not going to be seen in action at the 2020 Olympics.

Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated Olympians in history and it will take decades if not centuries for someone to take all his records for him. In his own view though, his wife and kids are now the medals that he holds closest to heart.

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