Olympic Athletes >> Michael Phelps

200m Individual Medley, 400m Individual Medley, Butterfly, Freestyle Relay

Michael Phelps

Date of birth





192 cm


91.0 kg

World records

  • 39 (200 m freestyle, 100m and 200m butterfly, 200m and 400m individual medley, 4x100m freestyle relay, 4x100m medley relay, 4x200m freestyle relay; 4x100m medley relay, 4x100m freestyle relay - short course) - up to 19/12/2009

Olympic Games (16 medals - 14 gold, 2 bronze)

  • 200m freestyle: 1st (2008), 3rd (2004)
  • 100m butterfly: 1st (2004, 2008)
  • 200m butterfly: 1st (2004, 2008), 5th (2000)
  • 200m individual medley: 1st (2004, 2008)
  • 400m individual medley: 1st (2004, 2008)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 1st (2008), 3rd (2004)
  • 4x200m freestyle relay: 1st (2004, 2008)
  • 4x100m medley relay: 1st (2004/did not participate in the final, 2008)

World Championships (33 medals - 26 gold, 6 silver, 1 bronze)

  • 200m freestyle : 1st (2005, 2007), 2nd (2009, 2011)
  • 100m butterfly: 1st (2007, 2009, 2011), 2nd (2003, 2005)
  • 200m butterfly: 1st (2001, 2003, 2007, 2009, 2011)
  • 200m individual medley: 1st (2003, 2005, 2007), 2nd (2011)
  • 400m individual medley: 1st (2003, 2007)
  • 4x100m freestyle relay: 1st (2005, 2007, 2009), 3rd (2011)
  • 4x200m freestyle relay: 1st (2005, 2007, 2009, 2011), 2nd (2003)
  • 4x100m medley relay: 1st (2003 and 2005 did not participate in the finals, 2009, 2011)

World Short Course Championships (1 medal - 1 gold)

  • 200m freestyle: 1st (2004)

Phelps: The Olympic Monarch

Considered by most as the world's greatest ever swimmer, Michael Phelps looks set to add a significant gold haul to his current runaway record hoard of 14 Olympic gold medals when he steps back into the limelight at London 2012.

Phelps, born in Baltimore in June 1985, already had six gold medals from the Athens Games when he arrived in Beijing with the full glare of the globe's sports media fixed firmly on his bid to outdo the legendary Olympian Mark Spitz, who had won seven gold medals at Munich in 1972.

Specialising in the freestyle, butterfly and medley as well as the relays, the world watched in awe as the then 23-year-old bossed the magnificent watercube with a staggering run to eight gold medals, a landmark record in itself.

But by taking his tally to 14 he eclipsed not only Spitz, but also the Finnish long distance runner Pavo Nurmi and Russian gymnast Larissa Latynina, all of whom have a proud lifetime tally of nine gold medals at the Games.

The only significant record remaining for Phelps to break would be the total number of medals, he has 16 (14 gold and two bronze), while Latynina has 18 from three Olympiads (1956, 1960 and 1964).

One of those bronze medals will have been a formative experience, won at Athens in the 200m freestyle in the so-called race of the century as Ian Thorpe sped past Pieter van den Hoogenband in the last lap as Phelps appeared to enjoy himself watching the battle.

Race of the Century

He first took to the pool at the age of seven and was undoubtedly influenced by his two elder sisters, notably Whitney who competed at the US Olympic trials for the 1996 Games in Atlanta.

At 15 he was the youngest male American since 1932 to take part in the Olympics, where he finished a very respectable fifth in the 200m butterfly at Sydney.

Just a year later he bagged his first world championship gold in the 200m butterfly, adding another three golds in the 200 and 400m medley and the 4x100m medley.

The 2003 Barcelona world championships was the first major competition at which he was expected to perform well, and boy did he perform well, claiming three gold and two silver medals and breaking five world records in the process.

In fact Phelps has clocked up a total of 26 world championships golds over the years, including three at Shanghai in 2011, where he claims he refound some motivation after losing it after the glow of Beijing faded.

"Something relit the fire and I was able to get motivated, to get ready," he said.

Phelps' targets for London are a closely guarded secret, but one thing has been made public, that being his intention to retire from the sport after the 2012 Games

"It's a good feeling but it's a weird feeling," he said. "But I'm ready to take the next step, try a couple of other goals I have out of the pool."

That includes travel -- and seeing sights beyond hotel rooms and swimming pools in some of the many cities he has already visited.


Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.