Of all Olympians, Michael Phelps stands out as the best.
Phelps, with an astounding 6 feet, 7-inch wingspan, won an Olympic record 28 medals, which included 23 golds, more than double any other Olympic athlete.
He was the only male U.S. swimmer to compete on five Olympic teams, and he made his final splash at the Rio 2016 Games, where he won six medals.
The legendary swimmer made his Olympic debut at the Sydney Games in 2000. He was 15 at the time, and the youngest man on the team in 68 years. While he did not finish on the podium in Sydney, Phelps won six gold medals four years later, in Athens. He nearly tied Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds in one Games.
But Phelps did, in fact, best Spitz’s record at the Beijing 2008 Games. Phelps won gold in all eight of his events, and he set seven world records.
Phelps continued his consistent success at the London Games in 2012, when won four gold and two silver medals. The Rio 2016 Games were his last Olympic appearance, and he did not disappoint, winning five golds. In his final race, a 4x100mm medley relay, he clocked a 47.12 second run, the fastest split of his career.
In all, the multi-gold medalist etched 29 long-course meter world records in individuals, eight world records in relays, and he won the most FINA world championship titles with 33.
Domestically, Phelps won 36 USA Swimming summer national championships, won four-straight Olympic trials titles in the 200-meter butterfly, and won three-consecutive Olympic trials titles in the 200 freestyle and 100 fly.
Phelps was named Swimming World’s World Swimmer of the Year eight times, and he won the United States Olympic and Paralympic SportsMan of the Year honor four times.
Outside of the pool, Phelps has served as a voice for healthy living and mental health. In 2008, he founded the Michael Phelps Foundation (MPF) to increase swimming opportunities for kids. As of 2022, MPF has helped more than 100,000 through the Boys and Girls Club of America and Special Olympics International. Phelps’ Foundation was started with the help of a $1 disabilities and sharing his own experiences with mental health.