- Fourteen-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps is expecting to feel plenty of
emotion when he enters the final stages of his competitive career at London
The crowd at the Aquatics Centre on 4 August will bear witness to the final race of one of the greatest Olympians when Phelps competes in the 4 x 100m Medley Relay.
The 27-year-old's career has spanned four Olympic Games, starting as a 15-year-old at Sydney 2000, where he finished fifth in the 200m Butterfly.
In the intervening 12 years, the
USA athlete has won 14 gold and two
bronze medals, as well as 26 world titles.
Despite having attended so many Olympics and World Championships, Phelps is absorbing everything about his final Games.
'I'm having fun, this is something I enjoy,' he said. 'It's kind of cool walking through the village and seeing the athletes from everywhere.'
Keen to start his programme, which begins on Saturday in the 400m Individual Medley - where he will go head to head with team-mate Ryan Lochte - Phelps has been spending time alone resting or watching TV.
Experience has taught him how to channel his emotional energy, although he admits it will be a challenge at London 2012.
'I wouldn't say I get choked up but I've been more emotional because these are the last competitive moments I will have in my career. It's big, it's something,' he said.
'I think there are going to be a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts this week, and I think over the last couple of years and I guess throughout my career I've been able to manage my emotional energy fairly well.'
Phelps' first meeting with Lochte comes on the opening day of Swimming action in the 400m Individual Medley, with heats on Saturday morning progressing to a straight final that same night.
He had vowed not to return to the event after his gold medal in
if he is successful, Phelps would make history as the first male swimmer ever
to twice successfully defend a title following victory in both 2004 and 2008.
Phelps said: 'Everything we've done has never been easy, it’s always a challenge. It's going to be a very challenging race, an exciting race.
'It's something I've been looking forward to for a while - you can guarantee it's going to be loud on opening night. And this will be the last one!'