2000 Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia
In 2000, the 15-year-old Michael Phelps became the youngest American male swimmer to participate in an Olympics in 68 years. Although he didn’t win a medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Sydney, he would soon become a major force in professional swimming.
First World Records
In 2001, setting the world record in the 200-meter butterfly at the age of 15 years and 9 months, Phelps became the youngest male swimmer to ever set a world record. At the 2001 World Championships in Japan, Phelps broke his own record with a time of 1:54:58 and earned his first international medal.
At the 2002 U.S. Summer Nationals in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phelps continued to set new world record for the 400-meter individual medley and new U.S. records as well. In 2003, at the same event, Phelps broke his own world record with a time of 4:09.09 in the 400-meter individual medley.
Just after graduating from Towson in 2003 when he was 17 years old, Phelps set five world records, consisting of the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:56:04 at the World Championships in Barcelona. During the U.S. trials for the 2004 Summer Olympic Games, he broke his own world record once again in the 400 meter individual medley with a time of 4:08:41.
2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece
The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens witnessed Phelps become a superstar after winning eight medals (six gold), tying with Soviet gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin for the most medals in a single Olympics.
2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China
At the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Phelps won his 14th gold medal, the most gold won by any Olympian. By winning eight gold medals, he also set the world record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics.
2012 Summer Olympics in London, the UK
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Phelps set a new record for most Olympic medals after winning a total of 22 medals.
Temporary Retirement in 2012
After the 2012 London Olympic Games, Phelps announced his retirement from swimming but gave some indication of a possible return in 2013. In April 2014, Phelps announced his plans to come back at the Mesa Grand Prix in Arizona.
2016 Summer Olympics in Rio
On June 29, 2016, the world saw Phelps celebrated a hot comeback as he became the first American male swimmer to have a spot on five Olympic teams. We then saw the Olympic legend break history from the stands in Rio.