Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Phelps was delighted to get his first Olympic gold medal in the hammer throw on Friday, but was disappointed by a decision to put the hammer on the table for the Games in a final decision.
Phelps had hoped to win gold in a three-way final on Sunday with American Ryan Lochte, Canadian Ryan Lochhead and American Ryan Anderson.
Phelps said he was disappointed the Games would end without a gold medal for the US, but his disappointment was tempered by the fact that he had won two gold medals at the London Games.
Phelps and his coach, Jack Daniels, had wanted to win four medals.
Phelps also thanked the US gymnastics team for taking the lead for him in Rio.
“They’ve done a great job, they’re going to take home some gold medals,” Phelps said.
Phelps’ fourth Olympic gold was the third of four medals he had received during the Games.
The US and the UK were the only other two nations to have gold medals.
Olympic silver medallist Gabby Douglas also took gold in the long jump and the 200m freestyle, while world champion Usain Bolt secured gold in freestyle as well.
Phelps won gold in both events in the beam and the long hurdles, which he had previously claimed in the first Olympic Games in 1968.
Phelps, who was crowned the best athlete in the world at the Games, said he had been “pretty happy” to get the Olympic medals.
“I was pretty happy to get that first medal,” he said.
“It’s been a really fun year, I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Phelps’ medal haul of 10 golds came on the back of four Olympic golds, the most for an Olympian in the history of the Games and the first time he had more than three medals.
The 34-year-old said he expected to win a second Olympic gold in Rio, but he was happy with his performance.
“My gold medal is a big one,” he told reporters.
“If I win it it’s a huge one.”
Phelps said it was difficult to focus on what he was going to do in Rio because he had so many commitments.
“That’s why I’m focusing on what I’m doing now, getting ready for Rio,” he added.
Phelps finished the Games as the fourth-fastest man in history to reach the 100m freemearm in a race and the eighth-fastiest to do so in the 100-metre butterfly.
Phelps lost in the final on the last attempt.
The medal will be delivered to the US by the United States Olympic Committee on Saturday morning.
He was the fastest man on the floor during the men’s 800m freewheeling event and also the fastest in the 200-metres butterfly.
“This was a great team effort,” said Phelps, the oldest man to win an Olympic gold.
Hopefully we can take that next step in Rio.”