Michael Phelps, in total Michael Fred Phelps II, (born June 30, 1985, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.), American swimmer, who had been the most-decorated athlete in Olympic history with 28 medals, which included a listing 23 gold.
Phelps was raised in a family of swimmers and combined the prestigious North Baltimore Aquatic Club at age seven. He finished fifth at the 200-meter butterfly at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
At the 2001 U.S. spring nationals, he became at age 15 the youngest world-record holder in men's swimming when he posted 1 min 54.92 sec at the 200-meter butterfly. He went on that year to win his first international title at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
He claimed five awards at the 2002 Pan Pacific championships, including three golden (200-meter and 400-meter individual medley [IM] and 4 × 100-metre medley relay).
In the U.S. spring nationals in 2003, he became the first male swimmer to claim titles in three different strokes at one national tournament, and he afterward broke an unprecedented five individual world records at the world championships in Barcelona, Spain. Phelps also captured five titles in the U.S. summer nationals--the most won with a male swimmer in one championship.
At the 2004 Olympic Games at Athens, Phelps captured six gold awards (200-metre and 400-metre IM, 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly, 4 × 200-meter freestyle relay, and 4 × 100-meter medley relay) and two bronze awards (200-meter freestyle and 4 × 100-meter freestyle relay) while placing five Olympic or world records.
His four individual swimming gold medals tied a record set by American Mark Spitz in the 1972 Munich Olympics. With his seven names, Phelps tied Spitz for many wins in a significant international meet.
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