Who has more gold, Michael Phelps or Lil Wayne? It’s a toss up, although the swimmer’s pieces are at least saliva-free (for now). After winning his twenty-second medal in London, the world’s most decorated Olympian gracefully stepped down from the diving block after the 2012 games. At 27, and with four Olympic games to his name, Phelps was officially retiring, content with heading home and catching up on all of the wonderful HBO dramas he missed during his years of intensive training — or something. Of course that didn’t last. Hold on, has someone been listening to a lot of Jay Z during their warm-ups?
After less than two years spent “in retirement,” Phelps joins a group of stars who temporarily put their careers on hold, only to return to the limelight a few years (or months… or weeks) later. For some, this hiatus is a chance to take a stab at another career. Michael Jordan followed his father’s dreams of baseball stardom after dominating the basketball court, only to realize that it’s perfectly acceptable to be good at one sport. And feature films should always feature Looney Tunes.
When it comes to the awards, adoring fans and the money, should we ever really believe someone is stepping away in his or her prime? From Justin Bieber to Barbra Streisand, many celebrities have flirted with retirement. But does it ever last? Take a look at our gallery above for some of the shortest retirements of all-time.
Watch Jay Z explain the work he’s done since coming out of retirement, in the video below.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]