Mar 12, 2013, 10:04 AM EDT
Michael Phelps was down in Rio for the Laureus World Sports Awards on Monday, but reiterated the fact that he won’t be back for the Olympics in three years. At least not as a competitor.
“I am having fun. I love being retired, I can’t stress it enough,” Phelps said during a swimming event for children. “I am happy, smiling, and more relaxed. It’s something that I have wanted for a long time and now I’m happy that I can make the most of it.”
Phelps was also happy to praise Rio as it prepares to host the upcoming 2016 Olympics.
“It’s not something you see too often. It’s going to be something special for Rio to host the Olympics and the World Cup with this type of spirit.”
But while Phelps may be done with swimming, the world isn’t quite done giving him accolades: Phelps was honored with the first Laureus Exceptional Achievement Award after winning six medals in London last summer for a career total of 22, surpassing Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina for the most all-time.
“It has been an amazing career and it is crazy to think that it is over,” he said at the podium. “But I’ve done everything that I wanted to do in sport. I wanted to change swimming and take it to a level, and I have. But I will continue to be a part of sport and help grow sports. That is a goal and a passion of mine.”
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