About Michael Fred Phelps, Jr.
Michael Phelps is an American swimmer, most notable for being the most decorated Olympian of all time with 19 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for gold medals (15) and gold medals in individual events (9). Phelps' total of 19 Olympic medals is one more than the 18 won by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina. He is the current individual long course world recordholder in the 100 metres butterfly, 200 metres butterfly, and 400 metres individual medley, as well as the former long course world recordholder in the 200 metres freestyle and 200 metres individual medley.
Phelps holds the record for the most gold medals won in a single Olympics; his eight at the 2008 Beijing Games surpassed American swimmer Mark Spitz's seven-gold performance at Munich in 1972. His five gold medals in individual events tied the single Games record set by compatriot Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. He has twice equaled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer Games. He won six gold and two bronze at Athens in 2004 and eight gold at Beijing in 2008, winning more medals than any other athlete in either of those Games. So far, in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Phelps has won two silver medals and one gold.
Phelps's international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award six times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eight times. He has won a total of sixty-six medals in major international competition, fifty-four gold, nine silver, and three bronze spanning the Olympics, the World, and the Pan Pacific Championships. His unprecedented Olympic success in 2008 earned Phelps Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award. The same magazine said that he is "universally recognized as the greatest swimmer in history."