“There’s no better way to finish a career. I think it was finally setting in that this was my last time. These were my last races ever. That was going through my head the whole time and it just made me emotional,” said Michael Phelps at the “Swimming Legends” event at the OMEGA HOUSE in Rio de Janeiro. Hosted by the iconic timepiece brand in honor of their ambassadors, Michael, Chad Le Clos, and one of the greatest sprint freestylers in history, Alexander Popov, the event, particularly the athletes’ speeches, gave the guests a better view of the human side of these accomplished men.
Michael, who bagged five gold medals and one silver in Rio, pushing his his overall career total to 28 medals including 23 gold, arrived with his wife Nicole and son Boomer. He also spoke about just how much fatherhood has influenced his swimming. “Fatherhood is the greatest thing I could ever dream of. I think there were a lot of things that I did in Rio for the team, as a captain, that were very fatherly-like.”
Michael and wife Nicole
On the other hand, Chad, who walked away from the pool in Rio with two silver medals to his name, shared how Michael has played an essential role in his career. “Michael has always inspired me every day. To think that he’s retired is difficult. I’ve asked him nicely if he’ll stick around for another year or so. But now that he’s gone I feel like there are a lot of things I need to get closer to, like a world record for example. There’s a lot more of me that the world hasn’t seen.”
For all the highs, lows, victories, and controversies surrounding the Rio Olympics, Rio de Janeiro Olympics Organizing Committee member couldn’t have summed it up better: “The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro have had a lot of Brazilian flavour. If you take the organizational part, if you take the Opening Ceremony, if you take the food, culture, colour, traffic, construction, we will remember the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro for quite some time,” he said. As the Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games, OMEGA has been behind the clock throughout Rio 2016 and has enjoyed timing every event.
Chad signing autographs.
The evening brought together the brand’s family of successful swimming stars, there were many other VIPs and Olympic Games athletes and medallists mingling altogether in one house, including swimmers, cyclists, soccer players and rowers; Team USA including swimmers Gunner Bentz, Jack Conger, Kevin Cordes, Jay Litherland, Cierra Runge and Allison Schmitt, silver medal winner Amanda Weir, and members of the USA Women’s Soccer Team, Gold Medal winning athletes from Team GB including swimmer Adam Peaty, the women’s gold medal winning Coxless Pair Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, Four-time Brazilian Olympic Games medalist and swimmer Gustavo Borges, legendary swimmer and Olympic Games medalist Tiago Pereira, Medal-winning Brazilian swimmer Henrique Martins, and Brazilian swimmer and Olympic Games medalist Dernando Sherer, were among the elite guestlist.
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