BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Sports Illustrated has released its Michael Phelps cover that features the most decorated Olympian of all time sporting all 23 of his gold medals.
The magazine has dubbed Phelps “The Greatest Olympian of All Time.”
SI says this is the first time hes been photographed wearing all 23 gold medals.
This is the 12th time that Phelps has been featured on the cover of SI and the third time this year.
Phelps, of course, announced this year that he would retire from swimming after the Rio Olympics.
“I could probably go four more years… But could I put in the true, honest hard work,” Phelps asked during the SI interview. “Probably. But I have so many other things going… And there’s no reason. I’m tapping out. I’m closing. I’m done… The hardest thing is going to be not having the chance to represent my country. Not having the chance to stand on the medal platform and hear the national anthem… I’m at peace with how things ended. I’d rather have a healthy body in 20 years than kill myself more now. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
“I was certain he wouldn’t come back after London because he hated it so much,” Phelps’ longtime coach Bob Bowman, who coached him here in Baltimore, tells SI. “This time I’m certain he won’t come back because he loved it so much.”
Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, who signed Phelps to a five-year deal in 2015, has other sentiments.
“Tokyo is going to be a great Olympics. He said he was retiring after London, when he was 27, with the lung capacity of a great white shark. You can bet I’m going to be nudging him as best I can for the next four years. I think he believes he is retired now. Three years is a long time to rest.”
Plank also said “the role Michael will serve with [Under Armour] won’t be ceremonial.”