Born in Maryland; United States, Michael Fred Phelps II is an American swimmer with long course world records in freestyle, butterfly and individual medley. Phelps started swimming at the age of 7 and soon started his training under Coach Bob Bowman. Records followed soon when Phelps started participating in swimming competitions in his age group championships. He was recognised at the national level when he broke the 200 meter butterfly record at the age of 15 years and 9 months. At the age of 16 years and 10 months, he broke the 400 meter freestyle world record which was previously held by Ian Thorpe. He was declared as the world champion when he broke his own record in the 200 meter butterfly. Phelps has 22 Olympic Medals, the highest ever earned by any swimmer in the world. 13 of these gold medals were won in Olympic Medals in individual events for a male. In the 2008 Olympics held at Beijing, he won 8 gold medals which actually made him the swimmer with the most first place finishes at any single event. Phelps became the most successful Olympic athlete three times in a row when he won four gold and two silver medals at the 2012 London Olympics. He also won five gold medals and one silver medal at the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria. Phelps broke five world records when he won 7 gold medals at the 2007 World Aquatic Championship. Winning the American Swimmer of the Year Award nine times and World Swimmer of the Year Award seven times Phelps in April 2014 announced that he would come out of retirement soon.
Phelps is the founder of The Michael Phelps Foundation which focuses on growing swimming as a sport to a much higher level than it is today and the foundation also promotes numerous health and fitness activities among children with the name IM Program for Boys and Girls. Till date, the IM program is available in 16 clubs across 14 states in the United States of America. In case a gifted swimmer cannot afford the foundation fee, the Level Field fund Swimming Program funds such swimmers so that their talent is not wasted because of financial constraints. Considered as the greatest swimmer ever, Michael Phelps is best known for his individual medley though he has won in butterfly and freestyle form of swimming too. He has bagged medals for medley relays too. Being a non- profit organization in itself, the Michael Phelps Foundation also helps similar non- profit organizations by activities such as caps for a cause where swim caps signed by Phelps himself are sold. The profit is entirely used to train the swimmers who cannot otherwise become a part of such a prestigious foundation. Having broken the records of Johnny Weismuller and Mark Spitz, Michael Phelps is considered as the best swimmer in the world. All the swimmers across the world look up to his as their source of inspiration.
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