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Michael Phelps

Sports | 8-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive

Who is Michael Phelps?

Michael Fred Phelps was born on June 30, 1985. He is a decorated American olympic swimmer who has overall won 28 medals, 23 of which are gold.

In doing so, he has twice equalled the record eight medals of any type at a single Olympics achieved by Soviet gymnast Alexander Dityatin at the 1980 Moscow Summer games. His five golds 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.

Michael Phelps hold the record number of gold medals won in a single Olympics, his eight at the Beijing Games, surpassing American swimmer Mark Spitz’s seven-gold medals at Munich in 1972. His Olympic medal tally is second only to the 18 set by Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold. Furthermore, he hold the all time record for most gold Olympic medals, at 14.


Michael Phelps was born out of Towson, Maryland and is the youngest of three children. His mother, Deborah Sue is a middle school principal while is father Michael Fred Phelps Sr., was a football player in high school and almost made the team for the Washington Redskins. His ancestry includes English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and German.

Phelps started swimming at the age of 7, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy. When Phelps was in the sixth grade he was diagnosed with ADHD.

Michael Phelps Records

By the age of 10, he held a national record for his age group. More age group records followed, and his rapid improvements led to his qualification for the 2000 Summer Olympics by the age of 15, becoming the youngest male to make a U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years.

At the World Championship Trials for the 2001 World Aquatic Championships, Phelps broke the 200 m butterfly world record at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest man to set a swimming world record, breaking the record previously help by Ian Thorpe when he lowered the 400m freestyle world record at 16 years and 10 months. At the World Championships in Fukuoka, Phelps broke his own world record in 200 m butterfly en route to becoming a world champion for the first time.

Phelps in his career has broken a handful of records and holds a number of them even today. When asked about records, he says humbly, “Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are.”

Apart from winning numerous awards at the world championships and the Olympics, Phelps has been honored with the World Swimmer of the Year Award in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and American Swimmer of the Year Award in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and many more such awards.

After the 2008 Olympics, Phelps used his $1 million Speedo bonus to set up the Michael Phelps Foundation which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles.

In 2010 the Michael Phelps Foundation, the Michael Phelps Swim School and KidsHealth Org developed and nationally piloted the im program for Boys & Girls Club members. The im program teaches children the importance of being active and healthy, with a focus on the sport of swimming. It also promotes the value of planning and goal-setting.

Short biographies of famous sports people for kids, visit: https://mocomi.com/learn/culture/famous-people/sports/