Steps from New York City’s famed Times Square, the 13th annual Golden Goggle Awards took place at the Marriott Marquis hotel. The who’s who in Team USA swimming donned the ceremony’s red carpet, led by the maestro himself Michael Phelps. He and his fellow Olympians, fresh from Rio, opted for black tie over their traditional speedo.
The 28-time Olympic medalist brought infant son Boomer in tow alongside his mom and wife Nicole Johnson as Phelps says he is still adjusting to the word ‘retirement’. He did concur, however, he is in fact staying retired this time around, offering proof in the form of rescinding his name from USA Swimming’s drug testing program.
At the event, the 31-year-old added to his illustrious trophy mantle and brought home four Golden Goggle awards: Male Athlete of the Year, Male Race of the Year for the 200-meter butterfly at the 2016 Games, Relay Performance of the Year for the 4x100m freestyle relay and the IMPACT Award for his lifetime contribution to swimming.
The ceremony was a reunion for the notoriously close Team USA as many had not seen each other since the Games ended in August. For 19-year-old Katie Ledecky, she credits the bond between her teammates as to what makes the group such a potent force. “We all believed in [each other] and that is what made it happen and such a great team environment. I cannot speak highly enough about this team.”
Nathan Adrian reminisced on swimming with the legendary Phelps as one of his greatest highlights from Rio. “To [race in the 4×100], especially in the fashion that we did it with Michael (Phelps), kind of having his last go-around. And the two young guys where the sky is the limit for them and then to be able to come home and be able to anchor it for them was awesome.”
However, the summer didn’t bode well for all of the American stars. The four-time gold medalist and darling of the 2012 London Olympics, Missy Franklin famously failed to reach a final in Rio. The 21-year-old, who published an autobiography in December, reflected on her breakdown. “[It was] really, really tough. Especially when we work so hard for that, we work so hard for that Olympic moment and to fall short at that time it is heartbreaking, it’s so sad.”