by JENNIFER COOPER & BRUNA NESSIF
The Rio Games will definitely be something Michael Phelps will never forget.
Not only did the Olympic swimmer continue to slaughter world records and become an athlete who’s made history with 28 Olympic medals (!), but the 31-year-old human fish was also rooted on by one very special admirer in the stands—his baby son Boomer.
The proud dad’s little one continuously watched as his father gained one gold after another, making viewers gush over their cuteness. And it’s something Phelps will cherish for the rest of his life.
“This is the best Olympics. Being able to have my first child be able to watch me swim and be there, he may not be able to understand really what’s going on, but just being able to have his presence here and know that he’s always up in the stands,” he told E! News exclusively while at Rio.
“It was something different and something very special. Before my last race, I have my white shoes that I wear out to every final, and inside the left shoe is his footprint. So every time I would put it on, I would see his footprint. And right before the last time I went out, I saw his footprint and I pretty much started crying because it was my last race and I was happy he was able to make it out for it.”
So we had to wonder: What weighs more? Boomer or all of those medals Michael has won? “The medals might weigh more all together,” he tells us. “Boomer’s probably 16 or 17 pounds.”
Additionally, Phelps tells us that if his son chooses to take on the Olympics one day, he has his dad’s blessing to participate in any sport he wants. “Whatever he wants. That’s something I was very fortunate. My mother, as a kid, I played baseball, lacrosse, soccer and swim. She kinda let me pick which sports I wanted to play. She was never pushy on one particular sport. So once I made the decision to stick with swimming, she was supportive of that, and I think that’s howNicole [Johnson] and I will be with him.”
The Olympian has already announced that he will not be returning to the Olympics after the Rio Games, and has officially hung up his suit for a tux, as he and Johnson continue to plan their upcoming wedding.
“Planning a wedding has been challenging the last couple of months. We’ve tried to get everything in order before Rio started. I know Nicole has been working very hard when I’ve been traveling, but she’s asked for a lot of input and I’ve kinda given her free reign to make the wedding exactly how he wants.”
Phelps capped off his final Rio competition with a gold-medal earning performance in the 400-meter medley relay. He will take home five gold medals and one silver when he heads back to the U.S., leaving behind a legacy as the greatest swimmers in the world, and earning 23 gold Olympic medals in his career.