Michael Phelps, an American swimmer, born in 1985 made history by being the first swimmer ever to win 8 gold medals in 2008 during the Olympic Games held in Beijing, taking over the record of 7 medals by Mark Spitz during the historical Olympic Games in Munich 1972. Michael Phelps started swimming when he was 7 years old; partly to follow his sisters and partly to get rid of excess energy he seems to have. When he was 10, he swam to his first American record for his age group.
In 2000, he is the youngest participant in the American aquatic team that is participating in the Olympic Games in Sydney. Although he did not win a medal, he gets media attention by finishing 5th in the butterfly finals. In 2002, when Michael was 17 years old, he swims himself into the picture by breaking the world record for 400m individual medley during the Pan Pacific Championships. During this Championships event, he wins 3 gold and 2 silver medals.
In 2003 during the world Aquatic Championships in Barcelona (Spain), Michael Phelps breaks 5 world records and wins 4 gold medals and 2 silvers. By now, the world is amazed by this young American swimmer and the first rumors about doping use arose, very much to the irritation of Michael. During the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Michael nearly breaks Mark Spitz’s Olympic record of 7 gold swimming medals, just losing the 200m Freestyle finals by finishing 3rd after Ian Thorpe (Australia) and Pieter van den Hoogenband (the Netherlands), at that moment the world’s strongest Freestyle swimmers. Although he does not swim in the 4×100 medley finals, he still receives a golden medal as he did swim in the pre rounds.
In 2005 during the world championships in Montreal, Canada, he makes it to the finals for the 400m Freestyle, but finishing disappointingly in the 18th place. Michael revenges himself later that day during the 4x100m Freestyle, swimming himself to gold. In total at that swimming meet, he wins 5 gold and 1 silver medals. During the Pan Pacific Championships in Victoria in 2006 Phelps swims 3 world records (200 meter butterfly, 200 meter individual medley and 4×100 freestyle relay), the first world records in 2 years and does he increase his medals intake with 5 gold and 3 silver.
In 2007, during the world championships in Melbourne, Australia, Michael Phelps sends a warning to the swimming world by winning ‘only’ 7 gold medals equaling the 1972 Olympic record and breaking no less than 5 world records. The first one he breaks is the 200m Freestyle record, for six titles held by Ian Thorpe. The world at this point had the following question buzzing: Is this miracle man able to do the impossible and make history during the Olympics of 2008?
In Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games when Michael is only 23, all eyes are focused on him. The expectations are high. He shows his skills off by breaking an Olympic record in the preliminary heats of the 400m individual medley and by winning the final by breaking the world record with a whopping 2 seconds. The tone is set. The opponents know that Michael is in the best form of his life. Michael shows his supremacy by breaking record after record and winning a total of 8 gold medals, finally breaking Mark Spitz’s 1972 record and in the process, breaking 7 world records as well as 1 Olympic record.
After all these amazing achievements, Michael decides to take back gas. During the 2009 World championships, he decides to only swim in 3 individual events and 3 relays. In this event, he breaks his own 100 and 200 meter butterfly world records as well as 2 relay records. For the first time in 4 years, he loses a 200m Freestyle title to the German Paul Biedermann who smashes Phelps’ world record.
2010 is a bit disappointing for Michael Phelps. Although he did win 5 gold medals during the Pan Pacific Championships, he did not break any records. Michael has indicated that he wants to swim at the Olympics in 2012 but he will also retire after the games at the age of 27! Scientists who have researched Michael’s amazing body think that the combination of super long arms, that can be used in the same way akin to pedals and his relatively short legs, might have given him more force as well as the excess energy as a result of ADHD are at the base of his spectacular results.