BY ADAMANTIA KAMARIANAKI – NICKY BATISTATOY
Michael Phelps, in full Michael Fred Phelps II, was born on June 30, 1985, in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S (nicknames: ‘Flying Fish’ ‘The Baltimore Bullet’). He is an American swimmer, who was the most-decorated athlete in Olympic history with 28 medals which included a record of 23 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze medals. He became the first athlete to win eight gold medals at a single Olympics.
Phelps is the long course world record holder in the men’s 400-meter individual medley as well as the former long course world record holder in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, and 200-meter individual medley.
Phelps was raised in a family of swimmers and joined the prestigious North Baltimore Aquatic Club at age seven. At the 2001 U.S. spring nationals, he became at age 15 the youngest world-record holder in men’s swimming when he posted 1 min 54.92 sec in the 200-metre butterfly. He went on that year to win his first international title at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. At the U.S. spring nationals in 2003, he became the first male swimmer to claim titles in three different strokes at a single national championship, and he later broke an unprecedented five individual world records at the world championships in Barcelona, Spain.
At the 2012 Olympics in London, Phelps had a disappointing start (failing to medal in his first event). However, he subsequently won silver medals and a gold medal in both the 4 × 100-metre freestyle relay and the 200-metre butterfly and a gold medal in the 4 × 200-metre freestyle relay. He also claimed gold in the 200-metre IM (individual medley), becoming the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three consecutive Olympics. He later won the 100-metre butterfly for the third consecutive time. Phelps, announced that he was retiring from the sport after the London Games, but hisretirement was short-lived, as he announced his return to competitive swimmingin April 2014.
Having completed his improbably dominant comeback at the 2016 Games, he again retired from competitive swimming, having won more medals than 161 countries. He is widely regarded as the greatest swimmer of all time and is often considered to be one of the greatest athletes of all time.