Olympics A to Z: Michael Phelps and his tryst with the Games
The swimmer is the most decorated athlete in the history of the sport.
The legendary figure of Michael Phelps remains one of the most iconic personalities in the Olympics. He holds the record for the most number of Olympic medals won by an athlete. The swimmer won a total of 28 medals in the quadrennial event, consisting of 23 Gold medals, out of which 13 were individual Gold medals.
He held several records in his career as a swimmer for the United States. Michael Phelps was 15 when he contested his first Olympics and also became the oldest player to win an individual Gold in Swimming at the age of 28. He became the youngest male swimmer at the age of 15 to break and set the world record in 200m butterfly. He is the athlete with the most individual Gold medals in swimming at the Olympics.
The 36-year-old is widely regarded as an all-time great, not only in swimming but also of all the athletes produced by the US. Here is a brief look at Michael Phelps and his performances in various Olympic Games during his career:
Sydney Olympics (2000)
This was Michael Phelps’ first-ever appearance at the Olympic Games. He was 15-years-old at the time and a budding talent in the world of swimming. He could not secure a medal at these games, but reached the final of the 200m butterfly event, finishing in fifth place. People saw a lot of talent in him and he proved them right at the next few Olympics.
Athens Olympics (2004)
Michael Phelps announced his stature as an upcoming great during the Athens Olympics. The swimmer won an overall six Gold medals, of which four were individual Gold medals. He won Gold in the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 400m medley, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley event.
He also won two Bronze medals in the 200m freestyle and 4x100m freestyle events. Phelps further set three Olympic and two World records during the process.
Beijing Olympics (2008)
The Summer Games in Beijing were going to be Phelps’ coronation. He would go on to win eight Gold medals, which is an all-time record for most Gold medals won by an athlete at a single Olympics. The previous record was set by the US’ Mark Spitz at the 1972 Olympics.
Michael Phelps won Gold in every event he went on to participate in. He won Gold medals in 200m freestyle (WR), 100m butterfly (OR), 200m butterfly (WR), 200m medley (WR), 400m medley (WR), 4×100 m freestyle (WR), 4×200 m freestyle (WR), and 4×100 m medley (WR).
London Olympics (2012)
Phelps’ tryst with the Olympics continued in the next edition, which was his fourth appearance at the Summer Games. He won Gold medals in four events this time around, after dropping 200m freestyle from his program and failing to earn a podium finish in the 400m individual medley.
Nevertheless, he added four more Gold medals to his overall tally. He won a Gold each in the 100m butterfly, 200m medley, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley. The other two medals were Silver which came in the 200m butterfly and 4x100m freestyle events.
Rio Olympics (2016)
After announcing his retirement in 2012 and swiftly coming back out from it, Michael Phelps participated in his fifth Olympics in 2016. By doing so, he became the first male swimmer and the second American after Dara Torres to qualify for a fifth Olympics. He was also the flag-bearer for the USA at the Rio Games. He added five more Gold medals and a Silver to his overall tally.
The five Gold medals were won in events such as the 200m butterfly, 200m medley, 4x100m freestyle, 4x100m medley (OR), and 4x200m butterfly. The Silver medal came in the 100m butterfly event.