Michael Fred Phelps (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer, frequently cited as the greatest swimmer and one of the greatest Olympians of all time.He has won 14 career Olympic gold medals, the most by any Olympian. As of August 2, 2009, Phelps has broken thirty-seven world records in swimming. Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in single Olympics, his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassed American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972.
Overall, Phelps has won 16 Olympic medals: six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004, and eight gold at Beijing in 2008. In doing so he has twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. His five golds in individual events tied the single Games record set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Phelps career Olympic medal total is second only to the 18 Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold.
Phelps's international titles and record breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008 and American Swimmer of the Year Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008. He has won a total of fifty-four career medals thus far in major international competition, forty-five gold, seven silver, and two bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. His unprecedented Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award.
Phelps was born and raised in the Lake Point area of Baltimore County, Maryland. He graduated from Towson High School in 2003.His father, Fred Phelps, worked for the Maryland State Police and his mother, Deborah Sue "Debbie" Davisson Phelps, is a middle school principal.The two divorced in 1994.Michael, whose nickname is "MP", has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary.Both of them were swimmers as well, with Whitney coming close to making the U.S. national team for the 1996 Summer Olympics before injuries derailed her career.
In his youth, Phelps was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) He started swimming at age seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. He excelled as a swimmer, and by the age of 10 held a national record for his age group. More age group records followed, and Phelps's rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15.
In November 2004, at the age of 19, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland. He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired the following month and was granted probation before judgment and ordered to serve 18 months' probation, fined $250, obligated to speak to high school students about drinking and driving and had to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) meeting.Questioned about the incident later that month by Matt Lauer on the Today Show, Phelps said it was an "isolated incident" and that he had "definitely let myself down and my family down ... I think I let a lot of people in the country down.
Between 2004 and 2008, Phelps attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, studying sports marketing and management.In May 2008, Phelps announced his intention to return to Baltimore following the 2008 Olympics, joining Bob Bowman there after leaving the University of Michigan, saying, "I'm not going to swim for anybody else. I think we can both help the North Baltimore Aquatic Club go further. I'm definitely going to be in Baltimore next year." Bowman left the University of Michigan to become the club's CEO.Phelps purchased a house in the Fells Point section of Baltimore, where he has resided since the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Phelps' teammates at the Olympics called him "Gomer" because he reminded them of Gomer Pyle, the good-natured, naïve country boy played by Jim Nabors on The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..He has made an estimated $5 million per year in endorsements, including an estimated $1 million dollars to be the face of Mazda in China.After receiving a $1 million bonus from swimsuit maker Speedo for winning at least seven gold medals at the 2008 Olympic Games,Phelps used the money to create the Michael Phelps Foundation,a charity foundation to promote water safety and to advocate swimming for children. Speedo then donated an additional $200,000 to the Foundation. On December 1, 2008, TV Guide reported Phelps' selection as one of America’s top ten most fascinating people of 2008 for a Barbara Walters ABC television program that aired on December 4, 2008.
In early 2009, Phelps admitted to "behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment" following the publication of a photo by the British tabloid, News of the World, showing him using a bong, a device used for smoking marijuana. Following an investigation, the Richland County Sheriff's Department announced on February 16 that Phelps would not be prosecuted in connection with the incident because there was not enough evidence.USA Swimming suspended Phelps from swimming competitively for three months, and Kellogg's announced that it would not renew his endorsement contract. On April 9, 2009 Phelps was invited to appear before the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate, to be honored for his Olympic accomplishments.When introduced, he received standing ovations by lawmakers in both chambers.$PAGE$
Physique and training
A few physical attributes particularly suit Phelps to swimming: his long, thin torso offers low drag; his arms span 6 feet 7 inches (201 cm)—disproportionate to his height of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)—and act as long, propulsive "paddles"; his relatively short legs lower drag, and perhaps add the speed enhancement of a hydrofoil;his size 14 feet provide the effect of flippers; and his hypermobile ankles he can extend beyond the pointe of a ballet dancer, enabling him to whip his feet as if they were fins for maximum thrust through the water.
In October 2007, Phelps slipped on a patch of ice and fell while climbing into a friend's car in Michigan, breaking his right wrist. Coach Bowman recalled that Phelps was in despair over the injury. For a few weeks after the surgery, he was confined to kicking in the pool with a kickboard while his teammates swam. However, this allowed Phelps to strengthen his legs, which might have allowed him to edge out Milorad Cavic in the 100 butterfly final for his seventh gold medal at the 2008 Olympics. In the last five meters, an exhausted Cavic was dragging his legs while Phelps used a strong kick to get his hands to the wall first, by a hundredth of a second.
In a front page illustrated article profiling Phelps on the eve of the 2008 Summer Olympics, The Baltimore Sun described the hometown swimmer as "a solitary man" with a "rigid focus" at the pool prior to a race, but afterwards "a man incredibly invested in the success of the people he cares about".Bowman told a Sun interviewer, "He's unbelievably kind-hearted", recounting Phelps's interaction with young children after practices. According to an article in The Guardian, Phelps eats around 12,000 kcal each day, or about six times the intake of a normal adult male.Yet according to Michael Phelps in an interview with 60 Minutes, the estimate given by the Guardian is "not true"; he stated that he eats 8,000 to 10,000 calories a day when training.
Throughout the 2008 Olympics, Phelps was questioned by the press if perhaps his feats were "too good to be true", a reference to unsupported rumors that Phelps may be taking performance enhancing drugs. In response, Phelps noted that he had signed up for Project Believe, a project by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which U.S. Olympians can volunteer to be tested in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.During the Games, Phelps was tested nine times, and passed all of them.
Phelps idolized Australian Ian Thorpe as a teenager, modelling his public image after Thorpe, and later watched videos to try to emulate the Aussie's famous six-beat underwater dolphin kick off the turns. Phelps, who finished third behind Thorpe in the 200 m freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics, had unsuccessfully tried to lure the Australian out of retirement in 2007, saying he would "like to race" Thorpe. Thorpe initially said it was highly unlikely for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. His remarks were used by Phelps, who stuck them on his locker as motivation during the Games. This was related by Phelps in an interview w/ Matt Lauer Thorpe was in the stands for the men's 4×100 meter medley relay, where Phelps was swimming for his eighth Olympic title. When Phelps and his teammates captured the gold, Thorpe gave a congratulatory kiss to Phelps' mother, then gave a handshake and a hug to congratulate Phelps. Thorpe afterwards said "I'm really proud of him not just because he won eight golds. Rather, it's how much he has grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong. I enjoyed every moment of it.
As a young teenager, Phelps trained at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman. At the age of 15, Phelps competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, becoming the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years. While he did not win a medal, he did make the finals and finished fifth in the 200 meter butterfly. Phelps proceeded to make a name for himself in swimming shortly thereafter. Five months after the Sydney Olympics, Phelps broke the world record in the 200 m butterfly to become, at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest man ever to set a swimming world record.He then broke his own record at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan by posting a time of 1:54.58. At the 2002 Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Phelps also broke the world record for the 400 meter individual medley and set American marks in the 100 meter butterfly and the 200 meter individual medley.
In 2003, Phelps broke his own world record in the 400 meter individual medley (4:09.09) and in June, he broke the world record in the 200 m individual medley (1:56.04). Then on July 7, 2004, Phelps broke his own world record again in the 400 m individual medley (4:08.41) during the U.S. trials for the 2004 Summer Olympics. In 2004, Phelps left North Baltimore Aquatic Club with Bob Bowman to train at the University of Michigan for Club Wolverine.
2003 World Championships
At the 2003 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won four gold medals, two silver medals, and broke five world records. Phelps broke his first world record on July 22 in the semifinals for the 200 m butterfly. Phelps swam a 1:53.93 to break his own world record of 1:54.58 set in 2001 and became the first man to swim under 1:54.00.In the final of the 200 m butterfly, on July 23, Phelps easily won the gold medal, but didn't come close to his world record with a time of 1:54.35.Less than an hour later, Phelps swam the leadoff leg for the 4×200 m freestyle relay. Phelps put up a solid time of 1:46.60 but the Americans couldn't match the depth of the Australians and ultimately finished second 7:10.26 to 7:08.58.In the 200 m individual medley, Phelps showed complete dominance. On July 24, in the semifinals of the 200 m IM, Phelps broke his own world record with a time of 1:57.52. On July 25, in the final of the 200 m IM, Phelps smashed his own record with a time of 1:56.04 to win the gold medal and finished almost 3 seconds ahead of Ian Thorpe.
About an hour before the final of the 200 m IM, Phelps swam in the semifinals of the 100 m butterfly. Phelps again showed dominance, finishing in the top seed with a world record time of 51.47.However, in the final of the 100 m butterfly, on July 26, Ian Crocker erased Phelps world record with a time of 50.98, to become the first man under 51 seconds. Phelps swam a 51.10 (also under his former world record) but had to settle for silver.In the final of the 400 m individual medley, on July 27, Phelps broke his own world record with a time of 4:09.09 to easily claim the gold medal.About half an hour later, Phelps earned his final gold medal when the United States team won the 4×100 m medley relay. Phelps did not swim in the finals but still earned a medal because he swam in the heats.
2004 Athens Summer Olympic Games
Phelps's dominance brought comparisons to former swimming great Mark Spitz, who won seven gold medals in the 1972 Summer Olympics, a world record. Phelps tied Mark Spitz's record of four gold medals won in individual events. Phelps had the chance to break Spitz's record of seven total gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympics by competing in eight swimming events (five of which were individual events): the 200 m freestyle, the 100 m butterfly, the 200 m butterfly, the 200 m individual medley, the 400 m individual medley, the 4×100 m freestyle relay, 4×200 m freestyle relay, and the 4×100 m medley relay. However, his 4×100 m freestyle relay team only won the bronze medal, and he personally placed for bronze in the 200 m freestyle. Thus, he fell short of Spitz's record. However, he did win eight medals in one Olympics, a feat only previously achieved by Alexander Dityatin, a gymnast, in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. Phelps would later equal this record (and break Spitz's) with his eight gold medals in the 2008 Olympic Games.
Had he won seven golds in 2004, he would have been eligible for a US$1 million bonus from his sponsor, Speedo.Phelps did, however, earn this $1 million by winning eight golds at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. On August 14, 2004 he won his first Olympic gold, in the 400 m individual medley, setting another new world record (4:08.26).
On August 16, he finished third behind Australian winner Ian Thorpe and the Dutch Pieter van den Hoogenband in 200 m freestyle final, called the race of the century.Thorpe, upon hearing of the bonus from Speedo, was adamant that eight golds was impossible.Although this race ended the chance to match Spitz's record, Phelps had savored the challenge even though it was not his strongest event, saying "How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the two fastest freestylers of all time". The 100 m butterfly was Phelps' seventh medal and fifth gold, which was also his fourth gold in an individual event. That matched Mark Spitz's four solo golds in 1972. No other male swimmer ever claimed more than two individual golds in a single Olympics.
On August 20, 2004 in the 100 m butterfly final, Phelps defeated American teammate Ian Crocker (who was holding the world record in the event at the time) by just 0.04 seconds. Traditionally, the Olympian who places highest in an individual event will be automatically given the corresponding leg of the 4×100 m medley relay. This gave Phelps an automatic entry into the medley relay but he deferred and Crocker swam instead. Crocker had made a mistake during his leg of the 400 m freestyle relay final, which cost the Americans gold, so Phelps' gesture gave Crocker a chance to make amends as well getting his final shot at a gold medal.The American medley team went on to win the event in world record time, and, since Phelps had raced in a preliminary heat of the medley relay, he was also awarded a gold medal along with the team members that competed in the final.$PAGE$
Phelps moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan following the 2004 Olympics when his longtime coach at the North Baltimore Athletic Club, Bob Bowman, became head coach of the University of Michigan swimming team. Phelps served as a volunteer assistant coach, but did not swim for the university's team in NCAA competition because of his loss of amateur status, having accepted endorsement money from his sponsors Speedo, Visa, Omega and PowerThirst.Instead, he trained with and competed for Club Wolverine, a USA Swimming club affiliated with the university, between 2004 and 2008. The Baltimore Sun said in August 2008 that Phelps earns $5 million annually in endorsements.Unknown to many, Phelps has penned two books. His second book, No Limits: The Will to Succeed,was released on December 9, 2008. He co-founded the "Swim with the Stars" program, along with Ian Crocker and Lenny Krayzelburg, a program which promotes swimming and conducts camps for swimmers of all ages.
2005 World Championships
At the 2005 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won a total of six medals, 5 golds and one silver. At these Championships, Phelps decided to drop his pet events, the 400 m individual medley and the 200 m butterfly, and experiment with the 400 m freestyle and the 100 m freestyle. However, Phelps didn't make it past the preliminary heats in the 400 m freestyle and finished 18th overall with a time of 3:50.53.Later that day, in the 4×100 m freestyle relay, Phelps won his first gold in the Championships.Two days later, on July 26, Phelps won his second gold in the 200 m freestyle with a new American record time of 1:45.20, finishing ahead of Grant Hackett.Two days later, on July 28, Phelps finished 7th in the 100 m freestyle final. However, later that day, Phelps won his third gold in the 200 m individual medley.On July 29, Phelps, along with Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller, won the gold in the 4×200 m freestyle relay with a time of 7:06.58. This was the fourth gold medal for Phelps.On July 30, Phelps swam in his last individual event, the 100 m butterfly. In the final, Phelps could not match the speed of Ian Crocker and had to settle for silver finishing 51.65 to 50.40. On July 31, Phelps earned his final gold medal when the United States team won the 4×100 m medley relay. Phelps did not swim in the finals but still earned a medal because he swam in the heats.
2007 World Championships
At the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won seven gold medals, tying the record, and broke five world records. Phelps first gold medal came in the 4×100 m freestyle. Phelps swam the leadoff leg in 48.42 and Neil Walker, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak each expanded the lead to win in a Championship record of 3:12.72, just missing the world record of 3:12.46 set last year by the Americans.Phelps set his first world record in the Championships in the 200 m freestyle, his second race. Phelps won the gold ahead of Pieter Van Den Hoogenband and broke Ian Thorpe's six-year-old world record with a time of 1:43.86.For his third race, the 200 m butterfly, Phelps won the gold and bettered his own world record of 1:53.71 with a time of 1:52.09.
For his fourth race, the 200 m individual medley, Phelps set his third world record with a time of 1:54.98, bettering his own world record time of 1:55.84 For his fifth race, the 4×200 m freestyle relay, Phelps swam the leadoff leg in 1:45.36 as the American team of Ryan Lochte, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay went on to win the gold medal and beat the previous world record set by Australia in 2001 with a time 7:03.24. For his sixth race, the 100 m butterfly, Phelps edged out Ian Crocker 50.77 to 50.82 to win his sixth gold medal.For his seventh event, the 400 m individual medley, Phelps won the gold medal in a world record time of 4:06.22, more than 3.5 second ahead of Ryan Lochte.The 4×100 m medley relay team would have competed in the final but received a disqualification for a false start during a changeover in the heats, ending Michael Phelps chance of eight gold medals.
2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games
Phelps represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympics. He qualified to compete in three team and five individual events, swimming seventeen races in nine days and winning the gold medal in all eight events.Phelps set an Olympic record in the preliminary heats of the men's 400-meter individual medley.He followed that up in the final by winning the gold medal, as well as breaking his previous world record by nearly two seconds.$PAGE$
Phelps swam the first leg of the men's 4×100 m freestyle relay in a time of 47.51 seconds (an American record for the 100 m freestyle), and won his second gold medal of the 2008 Olympics, as well as setting his second world record of the Olympics (3:08.24). Teammate Jason Lezak, after beginning the anchor leg more than half a body length behind Alain Bernard, managed to finish ahead of the second-place French team by eight hundredths of a second. The top five teams in the final finished ahead of the world record of 3:12.23 set the day before by the American B team in a preliminary heat.
For his third race, Phelps broke his previous World Record in the 200-meter freestyle by nearly a second and won his third gold medal. He also set his third world record at the Olympics, 1:42.96, winning by nearly two seconds over silver medalist Park Tae-hwan.In this race, Phelps became only the fifth Olympic athlete in modern history to win nine career gold medals, along with Mark Spitz, Larissa Latynina, Paavo Nurmi, and Carl Lewis.
The next day, Phelps participated in two finals. In his first event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps made it four gold medals and world records in four events by swimming the final in 1:52.03, defeating silver medalist László Cseh by almost seven-tenths of a second despite his goggles filling up with water and being unable to "see anything for the last 100 meters."This fourth gold medal was his tenth, and made him the all-time leader for most Olympic gold medals won by an individual in the modern Olympic era. Less than one hour after his gold medal victory in the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps swam the lead-off leg of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. He won his fifth gold and set his fifth world record as the American team finished first with a time of 6:58.56. The Americans were the first team to break the seven-minute mark in the relay, and broke the previous record, set in Melbourne, Australia, by more than four and a half seconds.
After taking a day off from finals (Phelps did swim in qualifying heats), Phelps won his sixth gold of the Beijing Games on August 15 by winning the 200-meter individual medley with a world record time of 1:54.23, finishing ahead of Cseh by over two seconds. On August 16, Phelps won his seventh gold medal of the Games in the men’s 100-meter butterfly, setting an Olympic record for the event with a time of 50.58 seconds and edging out his nearest competitor, Serbian-American swimmer Milorad Čavić, by 1/100 of a second.Unlike all six of his previous events in the 2008 Games, Phelps did not set a new world record, leaving Ian Crocker’s world record time of 50.40 seconds, set in 2005, intact. Phelps’s 0.01-second finish ahead of Čavić prompted the Serbian delegation to file a protest. Subsequent analysis of the video by the FINA panel, which required analyzing frames shot 1/10,000th of a second apart, confirmed Phelps’s victory.The initial refusal by official timekeeper Omega, to release underwater photos of the finish also raised questions due to Phelps's sponsorship relationship with Omega.Čavić later wrote in his blog: "People, this is the greatest moment of my life. If you ask me, it should be accepted and we should move on. I’ve accepted defeat, and there’s nothing wrong with losing to the greatest swimmer there has ever been".However, in August 2009, Omega officials admitted that while Čavić "for sure" touched the wall first, "Phelps did it more forcefully," thus registering the time first.
Phelps’s seventh gold medal of the Games tied Mark Spitz’s record for gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, set in the 1972 Olympics. It was also his fifth individual gold medal in Beijing, tying the record for individual gold medals at a single Games originally set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Said Phelps upon setting his seventh-straight Olympic record of the Games in as many events, "Dream as big as you can dream, and anything is possible ... I am sort of in a dream world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it is real.
On August 17, Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, which had stood since 1972. Phelps, along with teammates Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol, and Jason Lezak, set a new world record in the event with a time of 3 minutes and 29.34 seconds, 0.7 seconds ahead of second-place Australia and 1.34 seconds faster than the previous record set by the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. When Phelps dived in to swim the 100-meter butterfly leg, the third leg of the 400-meter medley, the United States had been trailing Australia and Japan. Phelps completed his split in 50.1 seconds, the fastest butterfly split ever for the event, giving teammate Jason Lezak a more than half-second lead for the final leg, which he would hold onto to clinch the event in world record time.Said Phelps, upon completing the event that awarded him his eighth gold medal and eighth Olympic record in as many events, "Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are ... Anybody can do anything that they set their mind to.
In an article published in the wake of the event, The New York Times noted that, in the hours before his eighth and final event in the 2008 Games, had Michael Phelps been a country, "the Person’s Republic of Michael would have ranked fourth in gold medals [after China, the United States, and Germany] and been ahead of all but 14 countries in the medal count".Only Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina holds more total career Olympic medals with 18 (nine gold), compared to Phelps's 16 (14 gold).
2009 World Championships
At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won a total of 6 medals, 5 golds and 1 silver. In his first event, the 4×100 m freestyle relay, Phelps swam the leadoff leg in 47.78, well off his 47.51 performance in Beijing but the American team was able to edge out Russia and France for the gold. For his second race, the 200 m freestyle, Phelps lost his first race in four years to Germany's Paul Biedermann. Phelps touched second in 1:43.22 but Biedermann smashed Phelps' record of 1:42.96 set in Beijing a year ago with a time of 1:42.00.Phelps took the silver graciously, but coach Bob Bowman, threatened to withdraw Phelps from international competition because Bowman claimed Biedermann had an unfair advantage because he was wearing a full polyurethane swim suit, specifically an Arena X-Glide. Bowman said, "It took me five years to get Michael from 1:46 to 1:42 and this guy has done it in 11 months.
That's an amazing training performance. I'd like to know how to do that." Phelps rebounded from this loss and for his third race, the 200 m butterfly, Phelps won the gold and broke his own world record of 1:52.03 with a time of 1:51.51.For his fourth race, the 4×200 m freestlye relay, Phelps swam the leadoff leg in 1:44.49 as the team went on to win the gold medal and break the world record set last year. For his fifth race, the 100 m butterfly, Phelps won the gold and became the first man under 50 seconds, beating Milorad Cavic 49.82 to 49.95.For his final event, the 4×100 m medley relay, Phelps won his fifth gold medal as the team went on to break the world record.