The Human Albatross

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Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps
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Invincible, incredible and impeccable, the Flying Fish is the most decorated Olympian of all time. Tried and tested, he has proved that anything is possible.

At 6 feet 4 inches, Michael Phelps swam to every award and medal which the swimming world has to offer. The Baltimore Bullet has broken 39 world records. The American’s home town duly named a street in his honour “The Michael Phelps Way.”

Early Life

Michael Fred Phelps II was born on June 30, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. Diagnosed with Attention Deficit disorder, Phelps was directed towards swimming in 1992 at the age of just seven in order to provide him with an outlet for his unbounded energy. His ancestry includes English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and German. Phelps graduated from Towson High School in 2003.

The Swimmer

Phelps began to train at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under Coach Bob Bowman at the age of ten. His rapid improvement culminated in his qualifying for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15, becoming the youngest male to make a US Olympic swim team in 68 years.

At the 2002 Pan Pacific championships, Phelps won three gold medals and two silvers creating a couple of world records. At the World championships held next year, Phelps won four gold medals and two silver medals, breaking 5 world records

In the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, he won six Gold medals and two Bronze. World Championships and Pan Pacific Championships came and went in the ensuing years with Phelps mostly continuing his dominance.

At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Phelps won gold in the 4-by-100-meter medley relay, 4-by-100-meter freestyle relay, 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter butterfly, 4-by-200-meter freestyle relay, 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter butterfly. Every gold medal performance set a new world record, except the 100-meter butterfly, which set an Olympic record. Phelps also set the all-time single Olympics gold-medal record; he had won his 14th career gold medal, the most gold won by any Olympian.

In 2012 London Olympics, Phelps’s Olympic medal count rose to 22, and was honoured as the most decorated Olympian ever by FINA.

After the London Olympics, Phelps announced he was retiring from his sport but came out of retirement in 2014 participating in Arena Grand Prix.

At 2016 Rio Olympics he added the 19th Olympic Gold medal.

The Philanthropist

After the 2008 Olympics, Phelps used his $1 million Speedo bonus to set up the Michael Phelps Foundation which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles.

In 2010, the Michael Phelps Foundation, the Michael Phelps Swim School and KidsHealth.org developed and nationally piloted the “im” program for Boys & Girls Club members which teaches children the importance of being active and healthy, with a focus on the sport of swimming.

The Foundation’s largest event is its annual fundraiser, the Michael Phelps Foundation Golf Classic.

Honours

Swimming World Magazine World Swimmer of the Year Award: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012

Golden Goggle Male Performance of the Year (since 2004): 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

Golden Goggle Male Athlete of the Year (since 2004): 2004, 2007, 2008, 2012

Associated Press Athlete of the Year: 2008, 2012

Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year: 2008