Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps to go 'Dancing With the Stars'? Swimmer not ruling it out

Aug. 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM ET

Dave M. Benett / Getty Images Contributor /
Natalie Coughlin, left, and Michael Phelps attend "Spotlight On Swimming" at OMEGA House at The House of St. Barnabas on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in London.

Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, but there's one prize he's yet to claim: a Mirror Ball trophy.

At the OMEGA House "Spotlight On Swimming" event in London on August 7, the 27-year-old athlete spoke with Us Weekly about possibly following in the footsteps of fellow U.S. Olympians Natalie Coughlin, 29, Apolo Anton Ohno, 30, and Shawn Johnson, 20, by competing on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars."

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"I haven't really been known for my dancing. I know everyone who's done it -- I've talked to Apolo and Natalie about it, and they said they've enjoyed it and had a blast," Phelps said. "I won't say I'm ruling anything out, who knows?"

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If he could choose a female swimmer to be his partner (instead of a pro dancer like Karina Smirnoff, 34, or Cheryl Burke, 28) Phelps would pick Coughlin, who finished in 10th place in Season 9. "She's gone through it all before and Natalie and I have been on a lot of teams together," Phelps explained. "She literally couldn't stop talking about how much fun the show was."

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After winning 22 Olympic medals (including 18 gold), Phelps is looking forward to enjoying an early retirement. "The biggest thing is being able to relax. I want to be on my own time and waking up in the morning thinking 'I wanna go here' and then just getting up and doing it. It's kinda cool that I'll have that freedom," he told Us. "It's kinda cool just not having anything to do."

Phelps won't stay out of the water forever, however. "I won't be [competing in the] Swimming Masters! I won't be doing any of that. The competitive side of me, swimming is no longer a thing," he said. "Maybe when we go on vacation by the pool or the ocean and I feel like jumping in, then I will, but it won't be something that's on top of my to-do list."

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