Michael Phelps is a former competitive swimmer from the United States. He is the most famous swimmer and the most decorated Olympian in Olympic history. Phelps went on to make swimming history thanks to his unwavering drive and laser-like focus. Phelps holds 39 world records, including 29 in solo events and 11 in group events, making him the first and only swimmer to do so. He is also the only Olympian to have won the most Olympic gold medals (23), the only Olympian to have won 13 gold medals in individual events, and the only Olympian to have won eight gold medals in a single Olympic event. Michael Phelps was initially apprehensive about submerging his face in water. He not only overcome his fear, but he also overcame his childhood attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to become a master at what he liked to do—swimming! Apart from his back-to-back triumphs and undefeated performances, his desire to surpass his own records and ability to popularize the sport of swimming set him apart from his peers. Michael returned to the sport in 2014 after retiring following the 2012 Olympics. After that, he competed in his fifth Olympics, the 2016 Summer Olympics, before declaring his second retirement in August 2016. He had earned more medals than 161 countries at the time of his retirement!
Childhood and Adolescence
Michael Fred Phelps II was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on June 30, 1985, to Michael Fred Phelps and Deborah Sue ‘Debbie.’ Hilary and Whitney are his two older sisters. While his father worked as a state trooper, his mother worked as a teacher. ‘Towson High School’ was where Michael got his education.
Fred’s great athletic ability were later passed down to his children. Hilary, Whitney, and Michael have all been swimming since they were little. Despite her enormous potential, Hilary chose not to participate in the sport. Whitney stuck with it a little longer than her sister, even attempting to join the United States Olympic squad in 1996. Young Phelps, on the other hand, not only took to the sport but excelled at it.
Phelps began swimming when he was seven years old. He began by floating in the pool, first afraid to putting his face in the water, and soon learned the backstroke. Phelps was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder just when he seemed to be getting over his phobia (ADHD). With the aid of his mother Debbie, he was able to get through the ordeal.
Phelps began swimming as a result of his sisters’ influence in his early years. It was also a terrific way for him to expend energy, which helped him manage with his ADHD. Phelps began fantasizing about making it big in swimming after watching Tom Malchow and Tom Dolan participate in the 1996 ‘Summer Games’ in Atlanta. He subsequently made the decision to pursue swimming as a career.
At the ‘North Baltimore Aquatic Club,’ Phelps began training with Bob Bowman. Bowman began an intensive training regimen with Phelps after recognizing his ability and potential. Phelps quickly earned a spot on the US National B Team.
Phelps made his way through the Olympic trials, breaking a number of records along the way, to earn a spot in the 2000 ‘Summer Olympics.’ With this, he became the youngest American to compete in the Olympics in 68 years. Though he failed not earn a medal, his effort in the 200-meter butterfly race was outstanding; he finished sixth.
Phelps finished the year in a commanding seventh place in the world 200-meter butterfly and 44th place in the 400-meter individual medley.
Ascend to Glory
Phelps continued to compete well in the years after that, excelling in the sport and attracting attention on a national and worldwide level. He continued to climb the success ladder with each competition.
Phelps’ brilliance and prowess were on display at the ‘World Championship Trials’ for the 2001 ‘World Aquatics Championships.’ He broke the world record in the 200-meter butterfly at the age of 15 years and 9 months, making him the youngest swimmer ever to do so.
With each tournament, Phelps appeared to be competing against himself rather than his opponents. One of the best examples of this was when he won his first medal at the ‘World Championships’ in Fukuoka by breaking his own record in the 200-meter butterfly.
The ‘Pan Pacific Championship’ was held in 2002, and Phelps competed in it. Several world records were broken throughout the selecting process. Phelps won three gold medals and two silver medals in the main event. He won the 400-meter individual medley and the 200-meter individual medley, but he came in second in the 200-meter butterfly, which surprised many.
In the ‘World Championship’ of 2003, Phelps won the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, and 200-meter backstroke. With this, he became the first American swimmer to win three distinct races at national championships, including three different strokes.
Phelps proved his mettle the next year by smashing the world records in the 400-meter and 200-meter individual medleys.
After these triumphs, Phelps went into the 2003 ‘World Aquatics Championships’ in high spirits, winning four gold and two silver medals. In addition, he set five world records, each one bettering his previous best. Phelps’ incredible success was unrivaled, and veterans from all around the world were pushed to keep up with this dazzling young sensation!
Phelps has competed in the US Olympic Team Trials since 2004. He was picked for all six events in which he competed (200 and 400-meter individual medley, 100 and 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter freestyle, and 200-meter backstroke), making him the only American to do so. However, he dropped out of the 200-meter backstroke to focus on the 200-meter freestyle in order to give Ian Thorpe a run for his money. He was also a member of a few relay teams.
Phelps won six gold and two bronze medals at the 2004 Olympics, making him the second-best performer in a single Olympic event after Mark Spitz’s seven gold medals. He also tied with Spitz’s four individual titles in 1972 as the second man swimmer to win more than two individual titles in a single Olympic event. He even set a few of world records, boosting his popularity to new heights.
Furthermore, Michael Phelps’ selfless act of pulling out of the 4×100 meter medley relay finals to give teammate Ian Crocker a chance at an Olympic gold medal added to his already enviable reputation. The gold medal was won by the American medley team, which set a new world record. Because he competed in the preliminary heat of the medley relay, Phelps was also awarded a gold medal.
Phelps’ glory following the ‘Athens Olympics’ was tainted by his ineffective drunk-driving incident. He instantly realized his error and was sentenced to an 18-month probation period and a $250 fine.
Phelps was required to deliver a speech about the hazards of drinking and driving. He was also invited to a gathering of ‘Mothers Against Drunk Driving.’ He subsequently went on to work as Coach Bowman’s assistant in the varsity coaching position. He even enrolled in a sports marketing and management course at the ‘University of Michigan.’
Phelps had already broken countless records and won numerous medals at a young age (gold, silver, and bronze). What began as a lighthearted exercise evolved into a serious endeavor as Phelps sought to improve the sport. He aimed out to achieve for swimming what Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods accomplished for their respective sports.
Phelps continued to perform admirably in the years after that. At the 2005 ‘World Championships,’ he won six medals, five gold and one silver. At the 2006 ‘Pan Pacific Swimming Championships’ in Victoria, he had a similar tally.
Phelps’ big chance to improve the sport came in 2007 when he competed in the ‘World Championship.’ He competed in seven events, winning gold medals in all of them and setting world records in five. Throughout the competition, Phelps outpaced his opponents and pushed himself to achieve new personal bests.
Phelps’ seven gold medal haul set a new record, surpassing Ian Thorpe’s six-medal haul from the 2001 ‘World Championship.’ In five individual events, he replicated the feat: 100 m and 200 m butterfly, 200 m freestyle, and 200 m and 400 m individual medley. He repeated his performance in the 4X100 m and 4X200 m freestyle relays. If Ian Crocker had not pulled out of the competition early, he could have won the eighth medal.
Phelps’ performance in the ‘US Nationals Indianapolis’ the following year was flawless, as he broke his own personal best by setting a world record in the 200 meter backstroke.
Phelps fractured his right wrist by tripping over a patch of ice just as everything looked to be going well. His training schedule was disrupted, and he was heartbroken. He didn’t give up easily, though, and practiced with a kickboard. Phelps’ practice sessions with a kickboard proved to be effective, as he was able to improve the strength of his kicks.
Phelps became the man to watch at the 2008 ‘Beijing Olympics,’ as everyone expected him to set new world records. Every time he jumped into the water, everyone expected him to win a medal and set a world record.
Phelps had an outstanding performance at the 2008 Olympic trials, qualifying for eight events almost comfortably. 400-meter individual medley, 4 x 100-meter freestyle relay, 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter butterfly, 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay, 100-meter butterfly, and 4 x 100-meter medley relay were among Phelps’ events.
Phelps went on to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Olympics, making history and setting new records. When winning seven medals, he set world records and set an Olympic record while winning the eighth. Phelps had to fight hard for his records, despite having tremendous talents and technique, and there were occasions when it appeared like he might struggle to set the Olympic mark.
His goggles broke while he was competing in the 200-meter butterfly. He was almost beaten by Milorad avi in the 100-meter butterfly until turning the tide at the final time to beat avi by a hundredth of a second. The United States trailed Australia and Japan in the medley race. Phelps, on the other hand, finished his split in 50.1 seconds, giving teammate Jason Lezak a half-second advantage for the last leg.
The Final Leg
Phelps took it easy in 2009, staying away from his arduous training routines. At the US Nationals, he competed in three events and won all three. He won five gold and one silver medals in the ‘World Championship,’ losing the 200-meter freestyle to Paul Biedermann. Phelps finished second for the first time in four years.
Phelps’ performance at the US Nationals the next year was below standard, as he lost the 200 m individual medley to Ryan Lochte, who was widely seen as Phelps’ replacement. It was Phelps’s first loss to Lochte.
Phelps, unfazed by his setback, continued to hone his talents and competed in the 2010 ‘Pan Pacific Championship.’ He went on to win five gold medals as a result of his upbeat attitude throughout the competition.
Phelps started the 2011 ‘World Championship’ with high hopes from his fans, continuing where he left off. He dominated the butterfly events and took home two gold medals. He won two more medals in the group competitions, the 4 X 200 m freestyle and the 4 X 100 m medley.
In the 200 meter individual medley, Phelps was defeated for the second time in a succession by Lochte. Lochte won a silver medal after securing a comfortable lead over Phelps. Phelps won silver and bronze in the 200 meter individual medley and the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay, respectively. As the 2012 London Olympics neared, there was a lot of speculation about whether Phelps would be able to duplicate his success and set additional world records. He qualified for eight events, repeating his achievement at the 2008 Olympic trials. He did, however, withdraw from the 200 m freestyle to focus on relays.
Phelps had a poor start to the London Olympics, failing to win a medal in the 400-meter individual relay for the first time since 2000. After coming second in the 4 x 100 m freestyle relay, he made up for the loss with a silver medal. Phelps’ disappointment was compounded when he finished second in the 200 m butterfly, trailing South African Chad le Clos.
Phelps won four consecutive races in the Olympics, bringing home four gold medals, just as skeptics were writing him off. He was the first male swimmer to win the 200-meter individual medley and the 100-meter butterfly in three consecutive Olympics.
He had an outstanding performance in the 4 × 100 m medley relay. He led his squad to victory with the same zeal and dedication that he demonstrated during his first race.
Phelps won his 18th career gold medal and 22nd Olympic medal in the 4 × 100 m medley relay. For the third time in a row, Phelps was named the most successful athlete at the London Olympic Games 2012.
He won five gold medals (200 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×200 m freestyle, and 4×100 m medley) and one silver medal (100 m butterfly) at the 2016 Rio Olympics, bringing his total number of Olympic medals to 28, including 23 gold medals.
In a Nutshell: Michael Phelps at the Olympics
Michael Phelps has competed in five Olympic Games and has won a total of 28 medals (23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze).
His first Olympic competition came in Sydney, Australia, in 2000. At the age of 15, he competed in the Olympics, becoming the youngest male to represent the United States in 68 years. Phelps learned a lot at the Sydney Olympics; he didn’t win a medal, but he did make it to the finals and placed fifth in the 200-meter butterfly.
He earned six gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He won gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter medley, 400-meter medley, 4200-meter freestyle, and 4100-meter medley events. He took bronze in the 200 m freestyle and 4100 m freestyle events. He won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He earned gold medals in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter medley, 400-meter medley, 4100-meter freestyle, 4200-meter freestyle, and 4100-meter medley.
He earned four gold medals and two silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics. He earned gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter medley, 4200-meter freestyle, and 4100-meter medley events. In the 200 m butterfly and 4100 m freestyle, he took silver.
He won five gold medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics (200 m butterfly, 200 m medley, 4×100 m freestyle, 4×200 m freestyle, and 4×100 m medley). He also won a silver medal in the 100-meter butterfly, bringing his total Olympic medal count to 28, including 23 gold medals.
Achievements & Awards
Michael Phelps holds the most Olympic gold medals (23), the majority of which have come in individual events (13). He also holds the record for the most first-place finishes in a single Olympic Games, with eight gold medals won at the 2008 Games. He has received countless medals and prizes in recognition of his outstanding and unrivaled achievement.
Phelps got the ‘James E. Sullivan Award’ in 2003. With this, he became the tenth swimmer to be awarded the country’s best amateur athlete.
Michael Phelps Way is a roadway in his hometown that was named after him in 2004. The Maryland House of Delegates and Senate commended him for his achievements in the Olympics in 2009, following his outstanding performance at the Olympics.
Phelps has earned the ‘World Swimmer of the Year Award’ seven times, according to the publication ‘Swimming World’ (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2012). He received the ‘American Swimmer of the Year Award’ nine times from the same publication (from 2001 to 2004, 2006 to 2009, and 2012).
The ‘USA Swimming Federation’ established ‘The Golden Goggle Awards’ in 2004 and has awarded Phelps multiple times in various categories. He won the ‘Male Performance of the Year’ title five times, but he also won the ‘Relay Performance of the Year’ award for four years in a row from 2006 to 2009. In addition, in 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2012, he was named ‘Male Athlete of the Year.’
In 2012, the international swimming body, FINA, awarded Phelps the FINA swimmer of the year award, recognizing his standing as the most decorated Olympian in history.
Phelps used $1 million from his 2008 Beijing Speedo bonus to establish the ‘Michael Phelps Foundation,’ which promotes swimming as a sport. It also encourages people to live a healthy lifestyle.
The charity, in collaboration with the ‘Michael Phelps Swim School’ and ‘KidsHealth.org,’ ran a ‘im’ program for members of the ‘Boys & Girls Clubs of America.’ The program emphasizes the significance of staying active and encourages children to pursue swimming as a sport. It also emphasizes the value of life preparation and goal-setting.
Following the program’s success, the foundation launched two new initiatives: ‘Level Field Fund-Swimming’ and ‘Caps-for-a-Cause.’
Personal History and Legacy
Michael Phelps was previously described as a “solitary man” by his coach. In February 2015, he announced his engagement to Nicole Johnson, the former Miss California. The following year, they married. They are supposed to have met in 2009. Boomer Robert Phelps, their son, was born on May 5, 2016. Beckett Richard Phelps, their second son, was born on February 12, 2018. Maverick Nicolas Phelps, their third child, was born on September 9, 2019.
Estimated Net Worth
Michael Phelps has a net worth of $80 million dollars.
Hilary and Whitney, his two older sisters, were a source of inspiration for this famed Olympian and swimming champion. During his childhood, his sisters were thought to be stronger swimmers than he was. He spent most of his afternoons as a toddler watching his sisters rehearse.
This Olympian with the most gold medals began swimming at the age of seven. He began floating on his back because he was terrified to put his face in the water. The backstroke was the first stroke he learned.
He holds the record for most world records in swimming with 39 (29 solo and 10 relay), surpassing Mark Spitz’s previous mark of 33 world records (26 individual and 7 relay).
This exceptional swimmer has earned the most Olympic gold medals (23) as well as the most gold medals in individual competitions (13). In addition, he is the first Olympian to have won eight gold medals in a single Olympic event (2008 Beijing Olympics).