Michael Phelps has won a total of 18 gold medals in four Olympic appearances, but he’s never walked in the Opening Ceremony.
But in his fifth and likely final trip to the Games, Phelps, 31, alluded to changing that up.
“I’ve never walked in Opening Ceremonies before,” Phelps said in a Facebook Live broadcast from his official account on Sunday. “I don’t think I will. I might. It’ll kind of be like a game-time decision whether or not I do it. It’d be cool to carry the flag if I could, but I don’t know if they’ll do that.”
Later in the broadcast, Phelps said swimmers typically skip the Opening Ceremony because of their competition schedule. Swimming begins on Day 1 of the Olympics, and the events are held on the first 10 of 11 days of the Games.
“It’s kind of tough when for me, in the past I’ve swam the 400 IM [individual medley] the first day,” Phelps said in the stream. “So I get up and go right from the get-go. It’s tough to be on your legs for that long. You’re on your legs for like six or seven hours, and it’s a long night. The U.S. is one of the last teams to come out. It’s just a lot of standing around. I haven’t really wanted to do it because I was so focused on some of the other events that I was swimming.”