Dec 20, 2012, 4:42 PM EDT
After Michael Phelps swam the last race of his career on Aug. 4, he announced to the assembled media – the press conference room was so crowded it felt like all of the writers and camera operators were treading water in the same lane, elbow to elbow – that he was retiring.
He had 22 Olympic medals, more than anyone else.
He had finished the 2012 Games with six medals – four gold and two silver.
There was nothing else Phelps could do. All of his goals, he said, had been accomplished.
But Phelps was just one male Olympian who had an incredible 2012. Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt put on a spectacular show at Olympic stadium and successfully defended the two individual titles he won in Beijing – the 100m and 200m dash – along with the 4x100m relay.
Outside of the Olympics, LeBron James – who was Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year – won an NBA title with the Miami Heat.
But to the Associated Press, no single male athlete had a better year than Phelps. The wire service announced Thursday that Phelps was the recipient of its Male Athlete of the Year award. James finished second in the voting and Bolt was third.
“Obviously, it’s a big accomplishment,” said Phelps, who also won the award in 2008 after his eight-for-eight performance at the Beijing Olympics. “There’s so many amazing male athletes all over the world and all over our country. To be able to win this is something that just sort of tops off my career.”
Phelps spoke with the AP from his new home away from home – the golf course. With competitive swimming behind him, Phelps’ new favorite hobby is golf. He’s currently filming episodes of “The Haney Project,” a Golf Channel show in which celebrities work with golf instructor Hank Haney to improve their game. The show will air starting in February.
Aside from becoming a better golfer and winning more awards, here’s a sampling of what else Phelps has been up to since hanging up his competitive Speedo (we say “competitive” because Phelps told us last month that he still swims on his own time):
- He reported for jury duty at a Baltimore courthouse, where he was mobbed by fellow jurors, court employees and police
- He stopped by a World Poker Tour event in Montreal to cheer on a buddy
- He became friends with magician and endurance artist David Blaine
- It was announced that he will appear on the cover of the 2013 edition of “The World Almanac”
Our take (or hope): Phelps returns to compete at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, wins two individual races (100m butterfly, 200m IM) and all three relays, and wins the AP award for a third time.
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Aug 25, 2014, 1:33 PM EDT
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Aug 25, 2014, 11:23 AM EDT
Mixed-gender, mixed-team relay will include athletes from all track and field events.
Aug 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
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Aug 25, 2014, 9:23 AM EDT
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Aug 24, 2014, 7:33 PM EDT
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Aug 24, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT
Two-time Olympic medalist left off.
Aug 24, 2014, 12:04 PM EDT
Mo Farah breaks a European record; Allyson Felix fails to make 100m final.
Aug 24, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT
Bolt has his slowest season since 2007.
Aug 24, 2014, 8:27 AM EDT
Ledecky faster in 1500m free at 17 than Ryan Lochte was at 19 in 2004.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT
The World all-around champion fell on balance beam and still won easily.
Aug 23, 2014, 11:58 PM EDT
Finals at 5 a.m. ET on Sunday.
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