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Swimmer Michael Phelps has set the record for winning the most medals, 22, of any Olympic athlete in history.
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Born on June 30, 1985, in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael Phelps competed in his first Olympics at the age of 15, as part of the U.S. men's swim team. He went on to win medals at the Olympic Summer Games in Athens, Beijing and London, accumulating a total of 22 medals—18 gold, two silver and two bronze—and setting the record for the most medal wins of any Olympic athlete. Phelps announced his retirement in 2012.
“Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are.”
“Anybody can do anything that they set their mind to."
“Dream as big as you can dream and anything is possible.”
“It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he's maybe the greatest athlete of all time.”
“I'll make a million mistakes in my life but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I've been able to learn and grow.”
“You’re going to have bumps in the road. It all depends on how you deal with those bumps. If you want something bad enough, you’re not going to give up until you get it.”
“I finished my career the way I wanted to. I think that's pretty cool.”
“I don't want to put a limit on anything. The more you dream the more you achieve.”
“I feel most at home in the water. I disappear. That's where I belong.”
“Everything I've done, I've been able to learn from - mistakes I've made in the pool, mistakes I've made out of the pool. That's how I've grown up. They haven't always been good times but I've learned from them."
“I hate to lose. I despise it."
“Throughout my career I've been all over the world, but all I've seen have been hotels and swimming pools. So once I retire I want to travel and see what places are really about.”
Michael Fred Phelps was born on June 30, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Fred and Debbie Phelps. The youngest of three children, Michael Phelps and his sisters grew up in the neighborhood of Rodgers Forge. His father, Fred, an all-around athlete, was a state trooper; mother Debbie was a middle-school principal. When Phelps's parents divorced in 1994, he and his siblings went to live with their mother, with whom Michael grew very close.
Phelps began swimming when his two older sisters, Whitney (born in 1978) and Hilary (born in 1980), joined a local swim team. Whitney tried out for the U.S. Olympic team in 1996, at the age of 15, but injuries derailed her career. At age 7, Phelps was still "a little scared" to put his head under water, so his instructors allowed him to float around on his back. Not surprisingly, the first stroke he mastered was the backstroke.
After he saw swimmers Tom Malchow and Tom Dolan compete at the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, Phelps began to dream of becoming a champion. He launched his swimming career at the Loyola High School pool. He met his coach, Bob Bowman, when he started training at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club at the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center. The coach immediately recognized Phelps's talents and fierce sense of competition and began an intense training regime together. By 1999, Phelps had made the U.S. National B Team.
At the age of 15, Phelps became the youngest American male swimmer at an Olympic Games in 68 years. While he didn't win a medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia, he would soon become a major force in competitive swimming.
In the spring of 2001, Phelps set the world record in the 200-meter butterfly, becoming the youngest male swimmer in history (at 15 years and 9 months) to ever set a world swimming record. He then broke his own record at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, with a time of 1:54:58, earning his first international medal. Phelps continued to set new marks at the 2002 U.S. Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, establishing a new world record for the 400-meter individual medley, and U.S. records in the 100-meter butterfly and the 200-meter individual medley. The following year, at the same event, he broke his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:09.09.
Shortly after graduating from Towson in 2003, a 17-year-old Phelps set five world records, including the 200-meter individual medley at the World Championships in Barcelona, Spain, with a time of 1:56:04. Then during the U.S. trials for the 2004 Summer Olympics, he broke his own world again in the 400 meter individual medley, with a time of 4:08:41.
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