Michael Phelps might have just finished his stint at the 2016 Summer Olympics, but six medals later, he’s not out of the spotlight yet. The newly retired professional swimmer made an appearance on America’s Got Talent Wednesday alongside host Nick Cannon.
As Phelps emerged onto the stage, the crowd erupted into cheers for almost a full minute, eventually segueing into a chant of “USA! USA! USA!” that the swimmer joined in on.
“Most importantly, I had our first child in the stands there watching the race,” Phelps, 31, told Cannon about how it felt after winning his 23rd Olympic gold meal. “He wasn’t always awake, but it’s a completely different experience being able to look up and see your baby boy up there after a race.”
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Aside from his athletic prowess and accomplishments in overcoming alcohol-related challenges to become the most decorated Olympian of all time, Phelps admits he got an early start in figuring out what he wanted out of life.
“I hate to lose, number one,” he jokes when Cannon asks what drives him to succeed. “I started goal setting at, like, 9 years old, and I literally [dreamed] for the stars — [dreamed] for the biggest possible thing I could think of.
“I basically said I wanted to change the sport of swimming, and I want to do something nobody had ever done before.”
Phelps already had his little boy in the water as soon as he got home from the games, posting a shot of himself, Boomer and Johnson in the pool on Aug. 17 and captioning it “There’s nothing like being back home!! Great way to spend my first day in retirement!!”
As far as whether Phelps thinks his son will take after him in the swimming department, he told PEOPLE on Aug. 16, while still in Rio, that he supports whatever Boomer wants to do with his life but that if he chooses swimming, Phelps will teach him.
And Boomer is already showing signs of a swimmer’s body.
“I’m starting to see a mixture of myself and Nicole. I see more of her right now, [but] he is growing a long torso, so that’s something that I have that he hopefully will get,” Phelps said, joking, “Hopefully he grows some legs because I have very short, stubby legs.”
— Jen Juneau