Michael Phelps is arguably the greatest Olympian of all time by sheer number of Olympic medals won. His 28 medals spanning five Games is unrivaled, and no other Olympic athlete comes close to his 23 gold medals.
The 36-year-old Baltimore native is built for swimming. At 6-foot-4, Phelps’ large frame, broad shoulders and big hands and feet, which act like fins, make his body perfect for his chosen sport.
Phelps made his mark on the Games starting over 20 years ago at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when, at 15 years old, he became the youngest man on U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years (Ralph Flanagan was 13 at the 1932 Olympics). In Sydney, his highest place was fifth in the 200-meter butterfly – which would become his signature event – but that was the lowest Phelps would ever place in any Olympics.
Through the next four Games, Phelps would medal in every event he competed in except one, which was a fourth-place finish in the 400m individual medley at the 2012 London Games.
At what Olympics did Phelps last compete?
Phelps called it quits after competing in the 2016 Rio Games. In his final Olympic race – the 4x100m medley relay – the greatest swimmer of all time posted a 47.12 second run, the fastest 100 free split of his career, to truly go out on top. He added six medals (five golds) to his overall total in Rio
How many Olympic gold medals did Phelps win in his career?
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time, collecting 28 total medals in his career. Of those medals, 23 are gold, three are silver and two are bronze. He has 10 more medals than the next closest Olympian, former Soviet Union gymnast Larisa Latynina. No one comes close to his gold medal count, which is 14 more than Latynina’s nine, which is shared with three additional athletes.
How many world records does Phelps hold?
Twenty years ago, 15-year-old Phelps set his first world record, swimming a 1:54.92 in the 200-meter butterfly in the 2001 United States Spring Nationals. That was the start of a record-breaking career, setting 39 world marks before his retirement. Phelps still holds four world records: 400m individual medley (Olympics), 4x100m freestyle relay (Olympics), 4x100m medley relay (World Championships) and 4x200m freestyle relay (World Championships).
Phelps was once the king of swimming’s butterfly, but in the years since his retirement, his individual records in that event are no longer the world standard. Phelps set his first 100m butterfly record in 2003, but it was broken by Ian Crocker a day later. He set it again in 2009, but Milorad Cavic of Serbia took it away the same month. Phelps took back the record once again during the 2009 World Championships and it stood for just under ten years before Caeleb Dressel swam a 49.5 in 2019, a record he’s held ever since.
In the 200m butterfly, Phelps first set the record in the long course in 2001, taking the title away from fellow American Tom Malchow. He broke his own record seven more times, swimming his best time of 1:51.51 in the 2009 World Championships. Hungarian swimmer Kristof Milak dethroned Phelps in 2019 with a time of 1:50.73.
What is Phelps doing now?
Phelps has his own brand of swimwear and training gear. According to the Phelps Brand website, he “felt the swim gear available to competitive swimmers was lacking,” and he partnered with his coach Bob Bowman to bring their years of experience to the marketplace. The first Phelps product launched in 2015, and the brand was relaunched in July 2020.
In addition to his business, Phelps is engaged in a variety of philanthropy. He used his $1 million Speedo bonus after the 2008 Games to set up the Michael Phelps Foundation. In the years since, the organization has grown and currently focuses on water safety, healthy living and teaching kids to follow their dreams.
He joined the board of Medibio, an organization that focuses on the diagnosis of mental health disorders, in 2017. In 2018, Phelps revealed that he struggled with ADHD and depression and now works as a mental health advocate.
In his personal life, Phelps has three kids – Boomer, Beckett and Maverick – with wife Nicole. The couple is also self-proclaimed pet parents to their two dogs, Juno and Legend.
What else did Phelps accomplish in swimming?
With Phelps, the question may be what he didn’t accomplish. He won more Olympic medals, World Championships, U.S. National Titles and captured more world records than any other swimmer in the history of the sport.
Phelps was named Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year eight times from 2003-2016. He’s also a four-time USOPC SportsMan of the Year, two-time Associated Press Athlete of the Year and was the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year in 2008.
He has also been an ambassador for Special Olympics, and he received the Morton E. Ruderman Award in Inclusion in 2019 for his advocacy work and openness about his mental health.
Where can you follow him?
Phelps is on Twitter at @MichaelPhelps and Instagram at @m_phelps00.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Phelps: What is Olympics swimming legend doing now?