The 2012 London Olympics' biggest story, strangely enough, looks like the end of a story: Michael Phelps has set a truly remarkable medal record, and now Michael Phelps is retiring, seriously, you guys, it's happening. Look: I can't say he doesn't sound convincing, or at least like someone who's convinced himself, because he's done a great job of pulling that off in the countless post-race interviews. He hasn't hedged his bets, he hasn't said, "Well, now I think I'm retired"—in his manner there's the suggestion, absurd though it may be, he hasn't even considered the possibility of swimming again in Rio, and moving the bar so far past his future competitors that they get a bad case of the Babe Ruths when it comes time to confront his legacy.
He's done nothing to suggest he'll unretire—which is to say that there's really nothing Michael Phelps could do to convince me he'll stay retired. I just can't imagine a sport's best-ever bowing out at 27, his competitive fires having been quenched completely after driving him to try twice to beat Mark Spitz.
It might not even be Rio; Mark Spitz, you'll remember, attempted a comeback at 42.
So I'd like to apologize, here, to Michael Phelps, who through no fault of his own is getting eye-rolled all the way out of his own victory lap. In the interest of righting that wrong here's a video of him looking very convincing and sincere in the service of an idea nobody truly believes, yet: