Michael Phelps is an American swimmer best known for for just distinguished Olympic career. Phelps won a record 28 total medals across 5 Olympic Games from 2000 to 2016. He also won 23 Gold medals which is also an Olympic record.
Phelps arrived on the big stage at the 2000 Olympics. At just 15 years old he was one the youngest swimmers for the US since 1932. Though he did not win any medals, he gained invaluable experience and finished 5th in the 200-m butterfly.
Michael Phelps’ Medals in the Olympics
The 2004 Olympics in Athens is where Phelps made a name for himself. He won 6 gold medals (including 4 individual) and 2 bronze medals. Still a teenager at 19, Phelps’ performance was one of the best in history. He fell one gold medal short of tying American swimmer Mark Spitz’s record 7 gold medals from the 1972 Olympics.
In 2008 Phelps cemented himself as having arguably the best Olympic performance ever. He won a record 8 gold medals, breaking 7 world records in the process. He thereby simultaneously broke Mark Spitz’s record gold medals from one Olympics as well as the most career gold medals held by Spitz, former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina and two others (9 total).
The 2012 Olympics started rough for Phelps as he did not medal in an event for the first time since 2000. Two Silver medals followed before he won his first Gold. One of his biggest achievements from this Olympics was to become the first swimmer to win Gold in an event in 3 consecutive games. He did this for both the 200-m medley and 100-m butterfly. He also officially became the most decorated Olympian of all time, surpassing Latynina’s record.
After announcing his retirement, Phelps chose to compete one last time in 2016. He defended his title once again in the 200-m medley (a record 4 straight Golds) and won back the coveted 200-m butterfly (which he got Silver in 2012). Phelps finished his last race with one last Gold medal in the 4×100-m medley relay thereby ending a storied career.
The sheer dominance that Phelps displayed during his career will be difficult to replicate. He undoubtedly will go down in the history books as one of the best athletes of all time.