So, four years on from Beijing 2008 are we again left walking away from an Olympic summer with Michael Phelps’ name on our lips and a whole host of great achievements on our minds.
The most decorated Olympian of all time broke enough records, stole enough hearts and, most importantly, won enough medals in the Chinese capital to ensure that he would forever be in the history books.
But it just wasn’t enough.
Following on from his Beijing exploits, the Baltimore Bullet returned to stamp his name on the game once more before finally calling it a day at the ripe, old age of 27.
They sure grow up quick, don’t they?
But what now for MP? With a winning smile and millions in endorsement cash, the world is Phelps’ oyster. That being said, there are only so many flash cars, beautiful women and exotic locations in the world, so where does his career stand?
The U.S. legend has to keep busy somehow and here are just 10 of the career paths that Michael Phelps may find himself wading down in the near future.
The Australian was of course correct; it was highly unlikely for Phelps, or any athlete for that matter, to accomplish such a feat.
That being said, nobody ever became a legend for the right reasons without defying the odds every now and then.
With the races now a thing of the past, Phelps is left with a buxom bevvy of glittering medals—22 of them to be exact, 18 of which are the most precious metal you can earn in competition.
With that collection in his cabinet, the swimming great may want to consider opening his own Fort Knox in a bid to increase his surplus.
Of course, should Phelps choose to go down that road, he would need security and one can think of no better No. 2 than Ryan Lochte to play the role of Oddjob.
With the 007 theme in mind, Maryland-born Phelps would undoubtedly have to change his name to Michael Goldfinder, given his incredible knack for sniffing out the valuable substance.
Standing at 6’4” with rock-hard abs and lats that every guy secretly dreams of, you’d think that Michael Phelps sticks to a gruelling training regime and fearsomely stale diet to stay in such great shape, right?
While the part about gruelling training might be on the money, Phelps gorges himself on a food intake that most of us long to digest while maintaining any shred of aesthetic pleasantry.
Eating more than 12,000 calories-a-day for the last eight years at least, it’s easy to see that the most suitable career option for Phelps from here is something he does to great scale on a regular basis anyway: eating.
For the past six years, Joey Chestnut has dominated Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest, a favourite here at Bleacher Report, equalling Takeru Kobayashi’s record of six consecutive victories.
So, what better year is there for the swim champ to enter this new and obviously more exhilarating sport than in 2013, where he can wrest the title away from Chestnut while ending the veteran's streak at the same time?
A no-brainer if ever there was one. Let’s start the petition.
“Are you disappointed with how life is treating you? Down in the dumps with how things are going?”
“Well then, take a look at this 20-something that’s already accomplished more than you ever will!”
The DVD script writes itself.
At 27 years of age, Michael Phelps has had more of an impact on sports than most people do in any walk of life during their whole lifetime.
The Towson High School graduate has 22 Olympic medals, has made great strides with his own charity, the Michael Phelps Foundation, and he has more world records than I have friends on Facebook.
I know, you don’t have to say anything.
But seriously, if any soccer, NBA or NFL players needed to come down off their extremely expensive high horses a notch or two, a Michael Phelps bestselling de-motivational book would be just the ticket.
In all fairness, this suggestion isn’t even a joke.
Especially when you consider that Michael Phelps may already be close to agreeing his first role in a major film production—as Tarzan.
The Week has alleged that Phelps could star as the vine-swinging monkey man in a remake of the jungle classic.
David Yates has been tipped to direct the film and it seems there is already grounds for why the Englishman may turn to Phelps for Tarzan’s portrayal.
Johnny Weissmuller, an Austrian-Hungarian swimmer in the 1920s, played Tarzan in 12 motion pictures after calling it a day on his swimming career.
In any case, even if Phelps didn’t land the role of the Amazonian idol, there’s plenty of other characters out there for him to play such as the Big, Friendly Giant or a tree.
We all knew it was coming, so here it is.
Michael Phelps was infamously busted for using marijuana in 2009, admitting that his behaviour was hugely inappropriate.
The 27-year-old was shamed, lost sponsorships and suspended by USA swimming for three months before returning to competition and coming back in almost as fine a fashion as ever.
In an age where doping is scrutinised in sports more closely than ever, Phelps was photographed using a drug that is perhaps being looked upon with a more liberal approach in some parts of the world these days.
Just as Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured above) did in his time as a professional athlete, Phelps could easily join the likes of Megan Fox, Woody Harrelson, Alanis Morisette, Bill Maher and countless other celebrities on the “pro” side of this particular campaign.
Given his achievements in athletic competition, who better to become the face of marijuana legalisation than a man who may have been using the drug whilst developing his name as one of the most successful sportsmen this world has ever known?
While Phelps may be alone in his list of swimming achievements, he isn’t alone as a sporting great.
Every so often, a person will come along and blow up one aspect of the sport industry whether it be by feat(s) of strength, speed, endurance, will or otherwise.
None of these champions would be what they are without the genetic gifts they have been granted, and safe to say, Deborah and Michael Phelps Sr. made one heck of a gifted baby.
In truly selfless style, Phelps Jr. may yet opt to donate his body to the cause of science and the furthering of the human species, as it’s quite obvious that learning from the biology of people such as him is the key to our evolution as a race.
Increased lung size, 6’7” wingspan and incredibly rapid paddling abilities—there’s so much to learn from Phelps’ example and a clone army of “Mini Mikes” could police every society, putting us on the road to world peace.
The next step is capturing Usain Bolt.
However, the trouble with that task is pretty obvious.
As I’m sure the world would see if Michael Phelps ever were to compete in Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, the now ex-swimmer can put it away.
Therefore, how better for the 6’4” talent to put himself to use than by becoming the poster boy for just about every major fast food conglomerate out there.
For the sake of endorsement violations, I won’t list all the burger joints and chicken shacks out there but you can imagine the advertising campaigns:
“I eat more than 12 McGreasy meals a day and I still managed to become the most decorated Olympian of all time! And don’t forget your side of Chicken-less wings!”
Regardless of the deception at work, Phelps’ efforts to feed the world inferior food would assuredly be the most lucrative option of the 10.
Again, stepping away from the jesting tone, a career in golf actually appears to be a realistic avenue for Michael Phelps to travel down.
This comes after it was announced that the swimming legend would appear on Hank Haney’s "The Haney Project," airing on the Golf Channel.
The show is focused around celebrities looking to take their handicap down a notch or two and given that 6’7” wingspan, it’s possible that Phelps could make a name for himself in a second sport.
It goes without saying that the 27-year-old can afford the best putter that money can buy and funding a golfer’s training schedule wouldn’t be any bother to Phelps.
He’s already got the winning mentality down to a tee, now it’s simply of matter of Phelps striking it the right way.
Capable of swimming a 100-meter butterfly in less than 50 seconds, you can’t help but give Michael Phelps some serious props for the work he’s displayed in the pool over the past 10 years.
With his lungs of steel, Phelps could be the man to communicate on behalf of our oceans, pleading with mankind to cease their assault on the planet’s underwater inhabitants.
The 25-time world champion undoubtedly has the talent to surge to the uncharted depths of the twilight zone and discover solitude in Atlantis, where he would sit out the remainder of his days amongst his fishy friends, whim whom he still holds close family ties.
It’s upon this unravelling of events that Phelps would then reveal his secret gills to the world and have his collection of Olympic medals stripped of him—if only anybody could reach him in his sunken sea palace, that is.
Over the years, wrestling corporations such as WWE and TNA have made it their business to involve celebrities within their productions in a bid to boost viewership.
Names to have graced the ring include “Iron” Mike Tyson, Donald Trump, Muhammad Ali and Shaquille O’Neal.
However, my suggestion would be that, instead of a brief cameo spanning over the course of one, or perhaps even several episodes, Phelps starts a new profession in the realm of wrestling.
At 6’4", the Baltimore Bullet is hardly a dwarf and, what’s more, he already has a really cool nickname in place.
If he didn’t like the thought of being the Bullet any longer, there’s a whole host of water-related titles just waiting to be added to the lanky grappler’s repertoire.
At 27, Phelps could yet enter his prime as a wrestler and there’s certainly a gap in the market for him to reverse the brutish and burly stereotypes currently in the industry.