1. Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985) is an American competition swimmer and the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 medals in three Olympiads.
2. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (18, double the second highest record holders), Olympic gold medals in individual events (11), and Olympic medals in individual events for a male (13).
3. In winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps took the record away from fellow swimmer Mark Spitz (7) for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.
4. Five of those victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record.
5. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four golds and two silver medals, making him the most successful athlete of the Games for the third Olympics in a row.
6. He has won a total of 77 medals in major international long-course competition, totalling 61 gold, 13 silver, and 3 bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships.
7. Phelps’s international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award seven times and American Swimmer of the Year Award nine times as well as the FINA Swimmer of the Year Award in 2012.
8. His unprecedented Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine’s Sportsman of the Year award.
9. After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles.
10. He continues to work with his foundation after the 2012 Olympics, which he has said would be his last.
11. In April 2014, Phelps announced he would come out of retirement, and would enter an event later that month.
12. Phelps was born in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael is the youngest of three children.
13. Phelps began swimming at the age of seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. By the age of 10, he held a national record for his age group, and Phelps began to train at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman.
14. More age group records followed, and Phelps’s rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15 and becoming the youngest male to make a U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years.
15. At the World Championship Trials for the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, on March 30, Phelps broke the world record in the 200-meter butterfly to become, at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest male ever to set a swimming world record.
16. Previously this was Ian Thorpe, who lowered the 400-meter freestyle world record at 16 years, 10 months.
17. At Nationals, the selection meet for the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phelps set an American record in the 200-meter individual medley and was just off the world record in the 200-meter butterfly. In the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps bettered the world record held by Tom Dolan with a time of 4:11.09, just ahead of Erik Vendt, who finished second with a time of 4:11.27, also below the old world record.
18. In the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps was barely beaten by Klete Keller and in the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps beat Ian Crocker.
19. At the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Yokohama, Japan, Phelps won three gold medals and two silvers.
20. In his first event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps won gold ahead of Erik Vendt with a time of 4:12.48.
21. In the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps lost to Tom Malchow, finishing behind him 1:55.41 to 1:55.21.
22. Phelps said he lost because he did not take butterfly training seriously after he broke the world record.
23. In the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps won with a time of 1:59.70.
24. In the 4?200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, along with Nate Dusing, Klete Keller, and Chad Carvin, won the silver medal with a time 7:11.81 finishing behind Australia.