Michael Phelps

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Michael Phelps swim
Michael Phelps Rio Olympics 2016.jpg

Michael Phelps (2016)

Personal information
Surname: Michael Fred Phelps II
Nickname (s): The Baltimore Bullet
Nation: United StatesUnited States United States
Swimming style (s) : Butterfly , layers , freestyle
Society: North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC)
Birthday: 30th June 1985 (age 35)
Place of birth: Baltimore , Maryland
Size: 1.93 m
Weight: 90 kg
Medal table
Olympic Summer Games 23 × gold 3 × silver 2 × bronze
Swimming world championships 26 × gold 6 × silver 1 × bronze
Short course world championships 1 × gold 0 × silver 0 × bronze
Pan Pacific Swimming Championships 13 × gold 3 × silver 0 × bronze

Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985 in Baltimore , Maryland ) is a former American swimmer who has been among the world's best since the beginning of the 21st century . He was considered to be the most versatile swimmer of today and with 28 Olympic medals, 23 of them gold, is the most successful Olympic athlete to date .


At the age of 15, Michael Phelps took part in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney . He was the youngest male swimmer on the US team in 68 years. Phelps did not win an Olympic medal in this competition. Five months later he stayed under 1:55 min over the 200 m butterfly and broke the world record of Olympic champion Tom Malchow . At the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka , Japan , Phelps won the gold medal ahead of Malchow and improved his own record by 34 hundredths of a second to 1: 54.58 min. At the national championships in Fort Lauderdale in 2002 , he set a world record over 400 m individual medley. A year later, Phelps set the world record at half the distance.

At the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona Phelps managed to defend his title in the 200 m butterfly. He also won gold over both layer distances there. In all three races Phelps set new world records, over 200 m individual medley he achieved this both in the prelim and in the final. Over 100 m butterfly he was also considered the first contender for the world championship throne, as he had also brought this world record into his possession in the run-up. The final was won by Phelps' team-mate Ian Crocker , who improved the world record set by Phelps the day before by almost half a second and was the first swimmer to ever stay under 51 seconds. For the starting place in the layer relay, Crocker was given preference over Phelps and thus won his second World Championship gold. Phelps was also awarded a gold medal because he had entered this competition. With the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay , Phelps was finally able to add another silver medal to his five medals.

At the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens , Phelps was registered for eight competitions. Phelps' sponsor Speedo announced the payment of a bonus of one million US dollars at a new record high. He won all four gold medals on the individual medley and butterfly courses. Over 200 m freestyle he was in possession of the national record, but here only an outsider, as this route had been dominated by Pieter van den Hoogenband and Ian Thorpe for years . Since, despite his personal best performance, his time did not come close to that, he came third in this competition. With the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay and the layer relay, Phelps won his gold medals five and six. In the latter, Phelps only swam in the run-up, as he gave his competitor Ian Crocker, who had lost in the individual finals, the place on the butterfly distance in order to help him win the Olympic gold medal. Phelps won another bronze medal with the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay. With a total of eight medals won, Michael Phelps was the most successful participant in the Games, setting the record for Russian gymnast Alexander Ditjatin of Moscow in 1980 .

At the 2005 World Championships in Montreal , Michael Phelps did not compete in the 200 m butterfly and 400 m medley. Nevertheless, he won five world titles. He also won the decision for the 200 m freestyle for the first time. Phelps improved the national record to 1: 45.20 minutes in this race. Over 100 m butterfly Michael Phelps lost the fight for the starting place for the individual relay relay to Ian Crocker, who set a new world record and put Phelps 1.25 seconds behind. Nevertheless, Phelps won the gold medal after the final victory of the US swimmers.

At the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne , Michael Phelps won all five individual starts and set a new world record every time, with the exception of the 100 m butterfly. Over the 200 m and 400 m medley there were increases of 0.86 and 2.04 seconds, respectively, over the 200 m butterfly he improved his own record by 1.62 seconds. Furthermore, Phelps was the first person to stay under 1:44 minutes in the 200 m freestyle. The American only had problems over the 100 m butterfly, despite his personal best performance. With 50.77 s he was only the second person to stay below the 51 second mark, but he was only able to defeat Ian Crocker because he did not succeed in striking at the end. There was another world record when he won the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay. With gold in the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay, Michael Phelps finally won seven gold medals, surpassing the record of Ian Thorpe, who was successful six times at the 2001 World Championships in Fukuoka. Phelps was denied a possible eighth gold medal, as the tier relay was disqualified in the run-up to a substitution error caused by Ian Crocker.

At the US Championships in Indianapolis in August 2007 , he renounced two of his “home routes” with the 200 m butterfly and 400 m medley and tried his hand at the chest and back disciplines. If Phelps did not qualify for the final over 200 m chest on the first day of competition, he was successful over 100 m and 200 m back. Over the long back distance Phelps reached the third position of the all-time world rankings with 1: 54.65 min and was only 33 hundredths of a second above the world record of his compatriot Ryan Lochte . Phelps missed the world record by only three hundredths of a second over 100 m back. Only Aaron Peirsol was once faster on this track when he won the World Cup in Melbourne.

Phelps with then US President George W. Bush (2008)

At the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 Phelps won eight gold medals, three of them with the relay, with seven wins a new world record was set. After his race in the 400 m individual medley, he declared that he would never compete over this distance again. As a result, the US sports magazine Sports Illustrated named him the first swimmer to be named athlete of the year in the United States.

After a break of several months, Phelps began to resume training in February 2009, but announced that he would never again take part in major events in eight competitions. He made his competitive comeback in May 2009 at the US American meeting Charlotte UltraSwim , where he won the 200 m freestyle and 100 m butterfly. Over 100 m back he was defeated by his teammate Aaron Peirsol , over 100 m freestyle to Frenchman Frédérick Bousquet . At the following US championships Phelps won the 200 m freestyle and 200 m butterfly and set a new world record in the 100 m butterfly with 50.22 s.

At the 2009 World Championships in Rome , Phelps won five gold medals. Three each with the US relay, one over 200 m butterfly, in which he once again improved the world record to 1: 51.51 min, and over 100 m butterfly, in which he repeated the Serb Milorad Čavić one more time of the historic finals in Beijing, and was the first to stay under 50 seconds (49.82 s). He was denied a sixth gold medal because he had to admit defeat to the German Paul Biedermann in the 200 m freestyle race . For Phelps it was the first defeat in five years on this track. Nevertheless, he was the most successful athlete in the world championships. At the end of 2009, Phelps won the internet vote of the specialist magazine Swimming World and was voted World Swimmer of the Year for the sixth time and for the fourth time in a row .

In August 2010, Phelps was selected as a special ambassador for the first ever Youth Olympic Summer Games in Singapore and won the US Championships in the 200 m freestyle and both butterfly courses. At the same time, he had to accept defeats over 200 m medley (second place) and 200 m back (fourth place). He skipped the short course world championships in Dubai in December in order to prepare for the world championships in Shanghai in July 2011. There he won four world championship titles (100 and 200 m butterfly, 4 × 200 m freestyle relay, 4 × 100 m medley relay), while he had to give his compatriot Ryan Lochte defeat and silver in the 200 m freestyle and 200 m medley won. With the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay, Phelps won bronze behind the relays from Australia and France.

Phelps at the 2012 Olympics

In 2012, Phelps managed to qualify at the end of June / beginning of July in the US eliminations for the 2012 Olympic Games in London in all eight competitions in which he competed in Beijing four years ago. He won four races (200 m freestyle, 100 and 200 m butterfly, 200 m medley) and took second place over 400 m medley again behind Ryan Lochte. At the Olympic Games, however, Phelps decided to forego a start over 200 m freestyle. In London, Phelps was initially unable to build on the success of four years ago. He missed a medal in the 400 m individual medal in Ryan Lochte's victory with fourth place, had to be content with the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay with silver behind Olympic champion France and was defeated by the South African Chad le Clos over 200 m butterfly at the attack . But then Phelps was victorious in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay and also won gold medals in the 100 m butterfly and 200 m medley, making him the first male swimmer to win three consecutive individual courses at the Olympics. Only Australians Dawn Fraser (Olympic gold in 1956, 1960 and 1964 over 100 m freestyle) and Hungarian Krisztina Egerszegi (1988, 1992 and 1996 Olympic gold over 200 m backstroke) have had similar individual successes in Olympic swimming competitions . With four gold and two silver medals, Phelps became the most successful athlete in London. At the same time, with a total of 22 precious metal, he exceeded the medal record of the Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina , who had won a total of 18 medals at the Olympic Games between 1956 and 1964. After his success with the 4 × 100 m individual medley relay in the USA, Michael Phelps initially ended his career.


After Michael Phelps registered in the test pool of the US anti-doping agency USADA in November 2013, there was speculation about a continuation of his career. On April 14, 2014, the US Swimming Association confirmed in an official announcement that Michael Phelps would make his comeback at the Arena Swimming Grand Prix in Mesa, Arizona (April 24-26, 2014). After the start in Mesa, further starts followed at the following Grand Prix competitions in Charlotte and Santa Clara. At the US Championships in August Phelps started in four individual disciplines: 100 m freestyle (7th place), 100 m backwards (6th place), 100 m butterfly (2nd place) and 200 m medley (2nd place) without winning can. In the run over 100 m butterfly, however, he achieved a world best time of 51.17 s. With these achievements Phelps could qualify for the Pan Pacific Championships in Gold Coast (Australia). Here he reached 4th place over 100 m freestyle, 1st place over 100 m butterfly and 2nd place over 200 m medley. There were also two victories (4 × 100 m individual medley, 4 × 200 m freestyle) and a second place (4 × 100 m freestyle) in the relay competitions.

Phelps at the 2016 Olympics

After these competitions, the US Swimming Association announced Phelps' nomination for the team for the 2015 World Championships in Kazan (on the 100 m butterfly, 100 m freestyle, 100 m back and 200 m medley courses). In October 2014, however, Phelps was banned from all competitions for six months after being drunk at the wheel by the US swimming federation USA Swimming and removed from the World Cup team. At the beginning of August 2015 Phelps won the US Championships in San Antonio over 100 m (50.45) and 200 m butterfly (1: 52.94) as well as over 200 m medley (1: 54.75) each in world best times. With these achievements Phelps would have become three-time world champion in Kazan .

At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro , Phelps won his 19th to 23rd gold medal in the 200 m butterfly, 200 m medley and with the relays over 4 × 100 m freestyle, 4 × 200 m freestyle and 4 × 100 medley. With the victory over the medley course, Phelps is after Al Oerter in discus throwing from 1956 to 1968 and Carl Lewis in long jump from 1984 to 1996 the third athlete to win in a discipline for the fourth time in a row at the Olympic Games. In 2017 he was awarded the Laureus World Sports Awards in the “Comeback of the Year” category.

Then he ended his career. At a hearing by the US House of Representatives, Phelps criticized the weak anti-doping fight. He is convinced that he did not take part in any competition in which all competitors were "clean".

After competitive sport

In 2013 he made a guest appearance in the third season of Suits . In July 2017, the Discovery Channel announced that Phelps would be competing against a great white shark off Cape Town . The whole thing turned out to be a fake , since the shark was only simulated.


He was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in Phelps' youth . To compensate, and also through the influence of his older sisters, Phelps began swimming at the age of seven. In November 2004, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and participation in Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

The British tabloid News of the World published a photo of Phelps with a bong to his lips in early February 2009 . The publication caused quite a stir. Michael Phelps apologized publicly and described the incident itself as wrongdoing. He did not comment on possible marijuana use. Since Michael Phelps had not competed in any competitions since the 2008 Summer Olympics and there was also no positive result of a doping test , the incident had no legal consequences for him. However, the US Swimming Association suspended the swimmer from all competitions for three months on February 5, 2009. Financial support from the association was canceled for this period. The association justified the blocking with Phelps' behavior, which represented a violation of the code of conduct and caused disappointment in many people. Phelps accepted the measure. A personal sponsor of Phelps, the food manufacturer Kellogg’s , announced almost at the same time that it would not extend the advertising contract with Phelps, which expired at the end of February 2009, because this behavior did not match the image of the group. Two other sponsors, Omega and Speedo , saw his public apology as a positive sign and wanted to continue the collaboration.

Until the beginning of 2013 Phelps was in a relationship with the model Megan Rossee. Since February 2015 he was engaged to the model Nicole Johnson, with whom he has a son (born May 5, 2016). The two married on June 13, 2016, which was only announced publicly in October of the same year.

When Phelps realized he was suffering from depression and other mental disorders, he decided to deal with it offensively. This decision led, among other things, to the fact that he took part as a co-producer on the documentary "The Weight of Gold", which was broadcast in July 2020 on the pay TV channel HBO and can be viewed as "an indictment of organized sport". Phelps conducts and comments on interviews with athletes such as snowboarder Shaun White , speed skater Apolo Ohno and skier Bode Miller .

Top performances

Phelps after winning eighth gold medal at the Beijing Olympics (2008)
Long track (50 m)
100 m freestyle 47.51 s August 11, 2008 Beijing
200 m freestyle 1: 42.96 min August 12, 2008 Beijing
100 m back 53.01 s August 4, 2007 Indianapolis
200 m back 1: 54.65 min August 1, 2007 Indianapolis
100 m butterfly 49.82 s August 1, 2009 Rome
200 m butterfly 1: 51.51 min July 29, 2009 Rome
200 m layers 1: 54.16 min July 28, 2011 Shanghai
400 m layers 4: 03.84 min * August 10, 2008 Beijing
Short course (25 m)
200 m freestyle 1: 43.78 min February 4, 2006 East Meadow
200 m butterfly 1: 52.27 min November 28, 2003 Melbourne
200 m layers 1: 53.85 min November 29, 2003 Melbourne
400 m layers 4: 03.48 min February 3, 2006 East Meadow

* Current world record (as of August 6, 2019)



  • 2005: with Brian Cazeneuve: Beneath the Surface . (English)
    • Translated into German by Sonja Hinte: Below the surface . Bombus, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-936261-35-0 .
  • 2009: with Alan Abrahamson, Ward Jenkins: How to Train with a T. Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals . (English)
  • 2009: with Alan Abrahamson: No Limits: The Will to Succeed . (English)

Web links

Commons : Michael Phelps  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Record Olympian: 20th medal for Phelps (FOCUS online)
  2. NZZ Online: Phelps wins his first gold , August 10, 2008.
  3. ^ Newberry, Paul ( AP ): Phelps loses again at Charlotte . May 18, 2009 (accessed via LexisNexis Wirtschaft ).
  4. Tabloid article about Phelps end of career on welt.de.
  5. After Michael Phelps' alcohol ride: Swimming Association bans US star for six months (October 7, 2014)
  6. US Championships 2015 100 Meter Butterfly (August 8, 2015)
  7. US Championships 2015 200 Meter Butterfly (August 7, 2015)
  8. US Championships 2015 200 meter medley (August 9, 2015)
  9. Phelps and the four world champions in comparison (August 11, 2015)
  10. Michael Phelps moves to Swim with Carl Lewis and Al Oerter , August 12, 2016.
  11. His son saw him make history, Spiegel Online, August 25, 2016.
  12. Doping allegations according to sport1.de on March 1, 2017
  13. Guest appearance for Michael Phelps in the US series "Suits swimsportnews.de, accessed May 30, 2018
  14. Michael Phelps swims against great white shark - right? Süddeutsche.de, July 24, 2017.
  15. ^ Spiegel.de: Water pipe affair: Record swimmer Phelps banned for three months , February 6, 2009.
  16. Michael and Nicole Phelps: Wedding, Spiegel Online again , October 31, 2016.
  17. faz.net: Documentation of the record Olympic champion: Phelps shows the dark side of sport , July 31, 2020.