I did not want to be the second best Mark Spitz, says Phelps

Phelps admitted that in a sport like swimming one has to be competitive throughout in a chat with Gaurav Kapur at an event.

The long career, which lasted for more than a decade, saw Phelps bagging 23 gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals.   -  Twitter/ TrueNorthCo_In

Michael Phelps, with 28 medals in his kitty, is undoubtedly the most decorated Olympian of all time. But then, in his long illustrious career, how did he achieve so much?

The swimming legend has a simple answer to this: "I like to win but more than that, I hate to lose!"

In Mumbai to attend a programme organised by corporate firm True North, Phelps sat in for a chat with Gaurav Kapur on Wednesday evening where he admitted that in a sport like swimming one has to be competitive throughout.

"Swimming is not a sport where you can sit back and relax. You get the result you deserve, which is why preparation is so important," Phelps said.

The long career, which lasted for more than a decade, saw Phelps bagging 23 gold medals, three silver and two bronze medals.

READ: Srihari Nataraj not happy despite bagging seven golds

Stressing on how he could stay focused and also revealing his personal struggles he said, "Your body can do it but it really is about allowing your mind to believe that it can do it. For a very long time, I didn't see myself as a person, I saw myself as a swimmer."

When he staged a comeback at Rio in 2016, the fraternity was surprised to see him. But was it easy?

Phelps answers, "The journey to get back on the top was the hardest and the most exciting climb I've ever made, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

"My coach and I were always clear - be prepared for anything."

Now that he is out of the sport, he wants to help the society through the Michael Phelps Foundation, which deals with promoting water safety and healthy leaving.

"I'm going to do everything in my power to save as many lives as possible," he said.

The 33-year-old also thanked his family for being with him always saying, "My two sons and wife are my everything."

Over the years, Phelps has been an inspiration for athletes across disciplines, and to keep himself motivated, he says he believed in a simple mantra.

"I decided that I did not want to be the second best Mark Spitz. I wanted to be the best Michael Phelps," he signed off.