Michael Fred Phelps is an American swimmer who currently holds the world record for the most Olympics medals won by any athlete at 28. He has won 23 gold medals and 13 individual golds. Phelps was the first male swimmer to earn a spot on five Olympic teams of the US and also made history as the oldest individual gold medalist in the history of Olympic swimming at the age of 28.

Early Life and Family

Michael Phelps was born in 1985 in Maryland. His father was an all-around athlete and his mother was a middle-school principal. When his parents divorced in 1994, he lived with his mother and his two older sisters, Whitney (born 1978) and Hilary (born 1980).

Phelps started swimming when his two sisters joined a local swimming team. In 1996, Whitney tried out for the U.S. Olympic team at the age of 15, but her career was derailed due to injuries. Since the 7-year-old boy was still a little scared to be underwater, his instructors allowed him to float around on his back. The first stroke Phelps mastered was the backstroke.

Starting his dream of becoming a champion after he saw Tom Dolan and Tom Malchow compete at the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games, Phelps launched his swimming career at the pool of Loyola High School. When training at the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center, he met his coach, Bob Bowman, who immediately recognized his talents and fierce sense of competition. They started an intense training regime together. Phelps had made the U.S. National B Team by 1999.

University of Michigan

Phelps followed Bob Bowman to the University of Michigan, where Bowman coached the Wolverines’ swim team. There he studied sports marketing and management, meanwhile, continued to establish world records at the Pan Pacific Championships in Victoria in 2006 and the World Championships in Melbourne, Australia, in 2007.