Michael Phelps said Friday that despite picking up four medals so far at the Rio Games, he will not swim at Tokyo 2020.
Phelps had just collected a silver medal in the men's 100-metre butterfly, after finishing behind 21-year-old Singaporean Joseph Schooling, and tying with Chad le Clos and Laszlo Cseh for second, when he admitted several people had been asking him to continue.
"I’m not going four more years. I’m standing by that. I’ve been able to do everything I’ve put my mind to in the sport," he said. "(With) 24 years in the sport, I’m happy with how things finished. That’s why I came back after ’12. I didn’t want to have a "what if" 20 years later."
Phelps was already the most-decorated Olympian in history when he retired after the London Games four years ago, but became restless and struggled to transition smoothly into a post-swimming life.
Ironically it was his London defeat to Le Clos in the 200m butterfly that fuelled his decision to come back.
He regained that title in Rio, won the 200m individual medley and took relay golds in the 4x100m and 4x200m.
And there could still be one final Olympic gold - a 28th medal overall - in Satuday's 4x100 medley relay which concludes the swimming at the Games.
"Being able to close it how I wanted it," was how he described his return since 2014 but reiterated that this time it really was the end.
"I’m ready to retire. I’m in a better state of mind than I was four years ago," he said. "I'm ready to spend some time with (his young child) Boomer and (fiance) Nicole."
Phelps' position on his retirement has solidified over the course of the week. Before he came to Rio, he said this was "potentially" his last Games, aware that he had previously gone back on his London decision.
"I will be in Tokyo but I won’t be competing in Tokyo," he said. "No more. I said it a bunch before ... I swore in London I’m not coming back but this time it’s final."