Michael Phelps was born on June 30, 1985, in Baltimore, Maryland. From a young age, Phelps showed a talent for swimming and an unquenchable drive to win. In 2000, Phelps became the youngest male to make an Olympic swim team in 68 years. He was 15. Four years later at Athens Olympics, he dominated his competition by winning six gold medals — 200-meter butterfly (1:54:04), 100-meter butterfly (51.25), 400-meter individual medley (4:08:26), 4×200-meter freestyle (7:07:33) and two bronze medals — 100-meter freestyle (48.41) and 4×100-meter freestyle (3:13:17).
Michael Phelps was born on June 30, 1985, in Baltimore, Maryland. He was raised in Towson, Maryland and attended Towson High School.
His parents were Debbie and Fred Phelps; his sister is Whitney Phelps.
From a young age, Phelps showed a talent for swimming and an unquenchable drive to win.
He started swimming at a young age. From the beginning, it was clear that he had a talent for the sport and an unquenchable drive to win. At age nine, he became the youngest male swimmer ever to make an Olympic team in 68 years. At age 13 he set an American record that stood until 2004; at 14 he broke his own record; at 15 he broke it again—and again—and again—until he held all but one of all-time butterfly records. In 2004 (by which time Phelps had already won numerous gold medals), Sports Illustrated named him Male Athlete of the Year due to his spectacular achievements so far on both the international stage and in U.S.-based competition.
In 2000, Phelps became the youngest male to make an Olympic swim team in 68 years. He was 15. Born in 1985 and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Phelps began swimming at the age of seven and started competing regularly at 10 years old. After winning a gold medal for his age group at the 1997 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Australia, he competed in two events that year at the U.S. National Swimming Championships—and won both of them. As if that weren’t enough motivation for Olympic coaches to take notice, Phelps also broke several records during qualifying trials for various international competitions over that summer and fall.*
Phelps has since gone on to win more than 20 gold medals at five different Olympics: Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2016) and Tokyo 2020.
In 2000, Michael Phelps made his first Olympic appearance at the Sydney Games. He finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly and fifth overall in the 200-meter individual medley. While this may not seem like much to show for your first Olympics, remember that these were just before he became a household name—a far cry from taking home gold medals on every side of the pool like he did in 2008.
Phelps went back home with nothing more than a taste of defeat and three years later returned to Athens ready to make it count by earning his first medal (a silver).
Four years later at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Phelps dominated his competition. He set a world record time of 1:54:04 in the 200-meter butterfly, beating his previous record by more than one full second. He also won gold medals in four other events — 200-meter individual medley (1:57:14), 100-meter butterfly (51.25), 400-meter individual medley (4:08:26) and 4×200-meter freestyle (7:07:33). By winning six gold medals, Phelps broke Spitz’s record for most gold medals won at a single Olympics by one athlete. He also won two bronze medals at Athens — 100-meter freestyle (48.41) and 4×100-meter freestyle (3:13:17).
Michael Phelps is one of the most decorated Olympians in history, with 22 medals (18 gold and four silver). At the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won his 19th gold medal in his final Olympic appearance.