Michael Phelps Wears All 23 of His Gold Medals for ‘Sports Illustrated’ Cover

Here's Why Michael Phelps Secretly Wed Before the Olympics
Michael Phelps finally explained why he secretly married Nicole Johnson Phelps before the 2016 Olympics

Swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, and he’s got the 28 medals to freaking prove it.

On the cover of Sports Illustrated this week, the 31-year-old posed wearing all 23 of his gold medals (he’s won a few silver and bronze, too) and talked about what he’ll miss competing now that he’s announced his retirement. This is the his third time this year that he’s graced the cover of the magazine.

“The hardest thing is going to be not having the chance to represent my country,” Phelps said. “Not having the chance to stand on the medal platform and hear the national anthem. I’m at peace with how things ended. I’d rather have a healthy body in 20 years than kill myself more now. To me, it’s a no-brainer.”

Michael-Phelps-Sports-Illustrated-Cover
CREDIT: Sports Illustrated

Even though he retired once before in 2012 and returned to the sport after, he’s pretty sure that this is the end of his career. “I could probably go four more years. But could I put in the true, honest hard work? Probably. But I have so many other things going. And there’s no reason. I’m tapping out. I’m closing. I’m done.”

Still, there might be one way to get Phelps back in the water: his son, Boomer, who was born in May.

Phelps’ new bride, Nicole Johnson, told the mag, “I see that being the only thing that could bring him back — to swim for [our son] Boomer.” Read the whole Sports Illustrated interview here.

Phelps and Nicole secretly tied the knot in October in the gorgeous Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. See their wedding video!