With 28 Olympic Medals in swimming, you might say that water has been good to Michael Phelps. So, now, the most decorated Olympian of all time is returning the favor, teaming up with Colgate on the company's "Save Water" campaign ahead of Earth Day.
"It's simple, just really turning the faucet off and not wasting water," Phelps tells CBS News. "When you're brushing your teeth, if you leave the water running, you're wasting four gallons -- or 64 glasses -- of water. I mean, think about that. That's just way too much. It's such an easy task just to turn the water off when you're not using it. It just makes sense."
According to the EPA, a single person can save up to 3,000 gallons of water per year by turning off the tap while they're brushing their teeth. However, while that might seem like a no-brainer, a 2017 Google survey found that 42 percent of Americans -- nearly half of the U.S. population -- report leaving the faucet running during this daily task.
"I've been around water my entire life," Phelps tells CBS News. "And now, growing to a family of four, naturally we're going to use more water. So, we have to be very conscious of everything that we're doing. [Turning off the faucet] is something that Nicole and I have done all along. And now, we're at the point where Boomer's almost two and he literally picks up everything that we do, follows us every which way, doesn't matter, just mimics. So, for us, it's important to be able to set a good example."
In fact, Phelps now has two young sons to set an example for. He and wife, Nicole, welcomed Beckett Richard Phelps into the world on February 12. And the star, who became world famous for his skill at navigating choppy waters -- eventhrough them -- says it's completely different navigating life with two young sons than with just one.
"It's been an experience with two," he chuckles. "I wasn't there months two and three with Booms because I was training at the Games. And then, I came back and he was three months. So, this is a new experience for me, going through this process with a two month old. There's no sleep in the house. There's a lot of chaos. There's always craziness running all over the place. Boomer's in that phase where he can't sit still, won't sit still, just has to keep moving and playing. "
The former Olympian notes, however, that he and Nicole are figuring it out together as they go.
"After Rio, I was like, 'Honey, what do I do?' And she was like, 'I have no idea. We just figure it out along the way,'" Phelps recalls. "And I think that's something that's pretty special to go through."
Thanks to the family's "booming" Instagram accounts, people all across the world are following along in the process, as well.
When Phelps introduced his second son, Beckett, to the world on Instagram, writing "I truly do feel like the happiest man in the world," the post quickly garnered more than 478,000 likes. His older son, Boomer, now has more than twice that many followers. And the toddler's account is growing ever day, as social media users tune in to see the famous tot swimming with his dad and picking up some of the signature Phelps moves, like Michael's pre-race backslap.
"He just started doing that!" Phelps says of Boomer's uncanny backslap impression. "Honestly, I have no idea where he learned that. I just came home one day and he started doing the backslap in the middle of the living room. And I was like, you've got to be kidding. So now, every time we get in the water, I ask him to do it."
Perhaps there's a backslap gene that the Olympian somehow unknowingly passed along. When asked whether he thinks swimming is in the boys' genes, however, Phelps scoffs.
"I'd rather them play golf or something," he tells CBS News. "I'd rather them move away from the swimming pool. But if they love it, they love it."
So, American sports fanatics will just have to hope that they love it because Boomer and Beckett will likely be our next chance to see a Phelps compete in the Olympics. Michael tells CBS News he's accomplished everything he wants to accomplish in the pool and currently has no plans of staging a comeback in 2020.
"No way," says the star. "I think I'm in better shape now than what I was when I came back for '16, but I have no goals in the sport anymore... You know, the biggest thing for me retiring was I wanted to retire on my terms and hang my suit up when I thought it was appropriate. I think 20 years from now, I'll be able to look back and say I did everything I wanted to in the pool. And that's the only thing that I wanted and I'm happy."
So, the legendary swimmer -- who struggled withfor years, while chasing gold in the pool -- has decided to focus on family and giving back. From now on, he's simply chasing gold outside of the pool instead.
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