x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 September 2017

Michael Phelps 'truly wishes there is a little boy or girl out there' who will one day usurp his tally of 23 Olympic gold medals

American won 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds, in his career before retiring after the Rio Games last year.

Michael Phelps believes his swimming records can be broken, but he wants the sport’s authorities to step up to ensure his aspiring successors “are doing it the right way”. Under Armour
Michael Phelps believes his swimming records can be broken, but he wants the sport’s authorities to step up to ensure his aspiring successors “are doing it the right way”. Under Armour

Michael Phelps believes his swimming records can be broken, but he wants the sport’s authorities to step up to ensure his aspiring successors “are doing it the right way”.

The American won 28 Olympic medals, including 23 golds, in his career before retiring after the Rio Games last year.

His tally is 10 better than the next best in Olympic history, the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina.

Swimming’s next best, fellow American Mark Spitz, had a career haul of 11, including nine gold.

“A lot of people thought that what I did was impossible,” Phelps said.

“If there is a kid out there who is truly willing to dream, dream as big as he can that he will literally shock himself, then anything is possible.

“How many people said I wasn’t going to tie or break Spitz’s record? [Former Australian Olympic swimmer Ian] Thorpe said I wasn’t going to win an individual gold aged 31, which was funny.

“We spoke one day and he said, ‘I know how to get you going, why do you think I said it?’

“Records are made to be broken and I truly wish there is a little boy or girl out there who wants to do it and believes they can.”

 

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Phelps, who was in Dubai for the opening of the Under Armour store in Dubai Mall on Monday, hopes greater curbs can be placed on doping in sport.

“For me, the one frustrating thing I see in my sport, swimming, is some people who feel that they deserve to be given something, rather than working for it,” he said.

“That frustrates me, because I know how hard it is to get to the top.

“It is easy to get to the top. It is hard to stay there. Once people get there, they lose sight on how hard it is to get there.

“I hope in sports in the coming years we will get people who do emerge. There has to be people out there who are hungry enough, and hopefully they are doing it the right way.

“We can talk about doping. That is something that has to change. For sports to really grow and change, for me, I would really like to see federations step up and police certain things, so we are competing on a level playing field.”