In Pics: Most decorated Olympian Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

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Los Angeles, July 24: Michael Phelps is giving himself one last chance to get his Olympic farewell right. It seems an odd aim for the owner of a record 22 Olympic medals, 18 of them gold.

Special Olympic site

Four gold medals and two silver in London in 2012 seemed a fitting enough finale to a career that peaked with Phelps's stunning eight-gold performance in Beijing.But Phelps knew deep down that he could have done more four years ago, and that "haunted" feeling made it impossible for his post-London retirement to stick.

"I never wanted to have that 'what if,'" Phelps said of his decision to mount a fifth Olympic campaign in Rio de Janeiro, at the age of 31.

"This journey has been incredible. Being able to fall in love with the sport again is something that I've always wanted to do, and I did it on my terms."

However, his comeback has been far from smooth -- disrupted by a drink-driving arrest that sparked a painful period of self-examination.

Here's the US champion's some incredible images:

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps swims in the men's 100-meter butterfly semifinal at the US Olympic swimming trials, Friday, July 1, 2016, in Omaha.

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps dives at the start of the men's 100-meter butterfly final at the U.S. Olympic swimming trials.

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps starts the men's 100-meter backstroke final at the US nationals of swimming, on Aug 9, 2014, in Irvine, California. Phelps finished sixth in the event.

Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps, foreground, dives into the pool during the men's 50-meter freestyle preliminaries at the Arena Grand Prix swim meet on April 25, 2014, in Mesa, Arizona.

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps of the US holds up his men's 100m butterfly gold medal at the Pan Pacific swimming championships in Gold Coast, Australia. USA Swimming on Oct 6, 2014, suspended Phelps for six months as a result of the Olympic champion's second DUI arrest.

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps displays his gold medal for the men's 100-meter butterfly swimming final at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Phelps is coming out of retirement, the first step toward possibly swimming at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Micheal Phelps chases final gold at Rio

Michael Phelps holds up his Laureus Academy Exceptional Achievement trophy as he poses for pictures during the Laureus World Sports Awards in Rio de Janeiro, on March 11, 2013.

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