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'Working with kids, swimming with sharks'

Michael Phelps

London: Swimming legend Michael Phelps has revealed a little of what he plans to do after recently announcing retirement from international competition.

The gold medal Phelps won Sunday at the London Games as part of the US 4X100 metres medley team put the cap on a brilliant career in which he won 18 Olympic gold medals in a total of 22. It has made him arguably the greatest ever Olympic competitor and now that he has retired at the age of just 27, he has a world of opportunities ahead of him, Xinhua reports.

One thing Phelps revealed about his future plans was to work with the youngsters, inspiring them to swim and also to build their own confidence.

“My career was about things you can use throughout your life, exercise, goal-setting… I hope I can show kids and anyone in the world that anything is possible,” said Phelps at a promotional event here Monday.

“The most important thing is believing in yourself. I want to get across the message anything is possible. I have been able to spend a lot of time with boys and girls and my foundation and listen to stories of kids who have been able to overcome hardships,” said the swimmer adding that in near future at least it was not going to be all work.

“I have no fears about the rest of my life. It will be enjoyable. I have swum for 20 years and achieved all I have wanted. I want to have fun and achieve what I want,” he said.

One of his short term plans involves getting into the water with something even more voracious than his appetite for gold as he prepares to travel to South Africa with Chad Le Clos.

Le Clos just beat Phelps to the gold medal in the 200 metres butterfly, but the pair have built up a close friendship and the American has tipped Le Clos as the man most likely to be his successor in the pool.

“I have got to know Chad and I have watched him, he said he watched me in 2004. He has the confidence to step up and do what he has to do. He is a very hard worker and it has been a pleasure to get to know him,” said Phelps, who added they aim to get close up and personal with some great white sharks.

“I want to go there and cage dive with him, we have talked about that all week,” said Phelps, who has the advantage of being able to swim faster than most if anything should go wrong on their adventure.


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