Michael Phelps has been a part of 22 medal ceremonies over the past three Olympics, but it wasn’t enough as he returned back to the pool one last time to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London, England.
This time, Phelps received a trophy rather than a medal, and award that sought to sum up a career like no other. The plaque/trophy said “To Michael Phelps” the greatest Olympic athlete of all time.”
In his final race, Phelps headed into retirement the only way imaginable, earning an 18th gold medal. He reclaimed the lead with his trademark butterfly stroke, the one seen in his Olympic debut as a 15-year old in Sydney, Australia over a dozen years ago. He capped off a mind-boggling career with a win in the 400-meter medley relay.
“I’ve been able to do everything that I wanted,” Phelps said. “I was able to really put the final cherry on top Saturday night, put all the whipped cream I wanted and sprinkles. I was able to top off the sundae,” Phelps said.