Michael Phelps Biography: Beijing, London Olympics

Born June 30th, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland, Michael Phelps started swimming young. Pretty soon, he became the youngest American male swimmer at the Olympics since 1932 in Sydney in 2000. After that showing, he started breaking world records and really getting noticed. By the time he made his next Olympic showing in Athens in 2004, he already had sponsorships and world records galore. It was in Beijing 2008 that he became the most successful individual Olympian in history when he won eight gold medals. All eyes were on him for London 2012. In this video, WatchMojo.com learns more about the life of Michael Phelps.
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Biography of Michael Phelps


He’s the Baltimore Bullet. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’ll learning more about the life and career of Michael Phelps.

Early Years


Michael Fred Phelps was born June 30th, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. Like his older sisters, Phelps started swimming young, and used it to deal with his attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Since he was nervous to submerge his head, Phelps perfected the backstroke early.

Coach Bob Bowman


By ten he was breaking records, and dreaming of an Olympic career. Coach Bob Bowman realized Phelps’ competitive nature, focus and build would carry him far. By the time he was fully grown, Phelps was a towering 6’4”, with a 6’7” wingspan, and had huge hands and feet – all of which made him an ideal swimmer.

200 Sydney Olympics


With Bowman’s help, Phelps steadily improved and by age 15 he qualified for the 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics, making him the youngest American male swimmer at the Olympics since 1932. Phelps didn’t medal, but his accomplishments in his signature event, the butterfly, did not go unnoticed.

World Records and Sponsorship Deals


It was in that category at the next year’s World Aquatics Championships that Phelps became the youngest man to that point to set a world swimming record. He soon earned his first international medal by busting his own record at the 2001 World Championships. Phelps’ talent renewed interest in swimming, and net him lucrative sponsorship deals from companies like Speedo.

Rising Star


His abilities also earned him comparisons to fellow swimming star, Ian Thorpe. Phelps used this as motivation to continue raking in the accolades, including four golds, two silvers, and five world records at the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona.

2004 Athens Olympics


Ahead of the 2004 Athens Olympics, Phelps was surrounded with hype, despite erratic performances. Speedo offered him $1 million if he could match Mark Spitz’ 1972 record of seven gold medals. Phelps didn’t do it that year, but he did win six golds and two bronze.

A Gold Medal


Phelps made headlines from outside the pool when he relinquished his spot in the medley relay to teammate Ian Crocker to give him a final chance at gold. Crocker and the team won in record time, and Phelps was also awarded a gold for the win.

Popular Outside the Pool


Back home, Phelps was in high demand as a spokesperson and on the talk show circuit. He soon pulled out of competition due to exhaustion.

Scandal


Weeks later, his reputation was damaged when he was caught driving drunk. Phelps laid low by following coach Bowman to Michigan, where he enrolled in a university sports marketing and management program, and began planning a makeover for swimming similar to what Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan had done for their sports.

More Records


Phelps did continue competing and winning medals. In 2007 he was back in the spotlight at the Worlds with seven gold medals and five world records.

Injury Ahead of Beijing


However, his plans for the 2008 Beijing Olympics were disrupted by a wrist fracture in late-2007. Ironically, since Phelps was unable to use his arms in practice for several weeks, this incident intensified his kicking. By the time trials started, Phelps was at his peak: he qualified for all eight categories he attempted.

2008 Beijing Olympics


With everything stacked in his favor, Phelps won eight gold medals and nabbed world records in all events but the 100-m butterfly, where he set an Olympic record. By the end of the Games, Phelps held the record for most gold medals won by a single Olympian in history, and was considered the Games’ Golden Boy.

More Scandal


Phelps rewarded himself by reducing his program at international competitions. Unfortunately, controversy hit in 2009 when a picture of Phelps taking a bong hit ran the tabloid circuit. This incident lost him sponsors like Kellogg’s, and got him a three-month suspension from USA Swimming.

2012 London Olympics


Phelps overcame that hurdle, and all eyes were on him ahead of the 2012 London Olympics, despite some less-than-stellar outings. He suggested he would compete in different events at those games, and was motivated by his friendly rivalry with teammate Ryan Lochte.

Legacy


Though there was a longstanding myth that this athlete gorged on 12 thousand calories a day while training, Michael Phelps is just your average guy. Except he holds innumerable world records, has hundreds of awards and is seemingly unstoppable in the water.
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