Fourteen-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps is expecting to encounter much emotion this week in London as he enters the final days of his competitive career.
The crowd at the Aquatics Centre on August 4 will bear witness to the final race of possibly the greatest Olympian in history when Phelps competes in the 4x100 metres medley relay, fittingly the last event of the 2012 Games.
The 27-year-old's career has spanned four Olympics, starting as a 15-year-old in Sydney, where he finished fifth in the 200m butterfly.
In the intervening 12 years, the Baltimore athlete has won 14 gold and two bronze medals as well as 26 world titles.
Speaking at a press conference alongside long-time coach Bob Bowman, Phelps said: "Bob and I have been a lot more relaxed over the last four years and we're having fun.
"This is the closure and it's how many toppings do I want on my sundae?"
Despite having attended so many Olympics and World Championships, Phelps is absorbing everything about his final Games.
"I'm having fun, this is something I enjoy," he added.
"It's kind of cool walking through the village and seeing the athletes from everywhere: I walked out this morning from the cafeteria and walked past three female Russian athletes who were all taller than me.
"That's the cool thing about coming together and being in the village."
Itching to start his programme which begins on Saturday in the 400 metres individual medley where he will go head to head with team-mate Ryan Lochte, Phelps has been spending time alone resting or watching TV.
Experience has taught Phelps how to channel his emotional energy although he admits it will be challenging in London.
"I wouldn't say I get choked up but I've been more emotional because these are the last competitive moments I will have in my career.
"It's big, it's something.
"I think there are going to be a lot of firsts and a lot of lasts this week and I think over the last couple of years and I guess throughout my career I've been able to manage my emotional energy fairly well."
Bowman has guided Phelps since the age of 11 and puts his charge's success down to his physical attributes, being with a club - Baltimore - that has a tradition of excellence and having a family that understands the sport with sister Whitney having also been on the national team.
He added: "Perhaps the greatest attribute is his psychological ability to focus under pressure and use his emotional energy wisely.
"He has everything - if you wanted to make a superstar athlete you would have all of those.
"But the thing that made Michael great was work.
"We trained every day for six years before Athens."
Phelps' first face-off with Lochte comes on the opening day in the 400 medley, with heats on Saturday morning progressing to a straight final that night.
He had vowed never to compete in the event again after his gold in Beijing and if he is successful on Saturday, Phelps would make history as the first male swimmer ever to twice successfully defend a title following success in 2004 and 2008.
Phelps said: "Everything we've done has never been easy, its always a challenge.
"It's going to be a very challenging race, an exciting race.
"It's something I've been looking forward to for a while - you can guarantee its going to be loud on opening night.
"And this will be the last one!"