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United States of AmericaUnited States of America, USA


Further Personal Information

Date of birth
30 June 1985
194 cm
90 kg
Partner Nicole Johnson, son Boomer [2016]
Paradise Valley, AZ, USA
Higher education
Sports Management - University of Michigan: Ann Arbor, MI, USA

Sport Specific Information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began swimming at age five. At age 11 his coach Bob Bowman insisted he work on all four swimming strokes.
Why this sport?
His sisters were swimming and he followed them into the sport.
Club / Team
North Baltimore Aquatic Club: United States
Name of coach
Bob Bowman [personal], USA

International Debut

Competing for
United States
Olympic Games

General Interest

The Baltimore Bullet (, 10 Sep 2012)
Music, supporting the Baltimore Ravens American football team, his bulldog Herman, playing video games. (Facebook page, 08 Feb 2016)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Pablo Morales and US basketballer Michael Jordan. (USA Today, 13 Aug 2000; USA Swimming 12 Jul 2011)
In October 2007 he broke a small bone in his wrist when he tripped and fell while getting into a car. Doctors inserted a pin to stabilise his wrist with a thin scar the only evidence of the mishap. He returned to training in November 2007. (AP, 05 Nov 2007)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You can't put a limit on anything. The more you dream, the farther you get." (Facebook page, 08 Feb 2016)
Awards and honours
He was honoured with a bust in the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 2014. (, 09 Jan 2014)

He was named the International Swimming Federation [FINA] Male Swimmer of the Year in 2012. (FINA, 05 Jan 2013)

He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award from FINA on the final day of swimming competition at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (, 04 Aug 2012)

He has been named USA Swimming Male Swimmer of the Year at the Golden Google Awards eight times - 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2015. (USA Swimming, 12 Jul 2011;, 24 Nov 2014;, 23 Nov 2015)

He was named as World Swimming Magazine's World Swimmer of the Year for 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012. (, 20 Dec 2012)

He was named as the US Olympic Committee's Sportsman of the Year in 2004 and 2008. (, 01 Jan 2009)
Famous relatives
His older sister Whitney competed in swimming for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. (USA Swimming, 12 Jul 2011)
Other information
Following the conclusion of the swimming events at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in which he won five gold medals, he announced his retirement from the sport. "When I came back [after taking time out following the 2012 Olympic Games in London] I wanted to see how much more I could do. I do not have anything else left. I have a new future, the list is endless of things I want to do. This is it. This is the last time you will ever see me racing in the water again. That is why the emotions took over me last night, trying to wrap my head around 28 Olympic medals." (ONS, 14 Aug 2016)

In May 2012 he announced on US television news programme 60 Minutes that he planned to retire after the 2012 Olympic Games in London. "I've always said I don't want to swim past 30 and I know if I go one more, I'll be over 30. I don't want to ever be that person where people are like, God, he's this old and he's still doing it or he's been around for this long." However, he left the door open for a possibly comeback when he was asked about the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. He returned to competitive action in 2014, after an 18-month break from competition. (, 10 May 2012; 60 Minutes, 06 May 2012;, 30 Jul 2013;, 29 Sep 2014)

In May 2015 he announced that he would leave his training base in Baltimore to follow long-time coach Bob Bowman to Tempe, Arizona, after Bowman was appointed head coach of Arizona State University's swim team. "It's going to be different. I get my vitamin D year-round, which is nice. I get to be tan all year, which is also nice. But I'm somebody who loves changes. If we do the same thing in training month after month, I get sick of it." He also plans to be a volunteer assistant coach with Arizona State University for the 2016/17 college season. (, 15 May 2015;, 28 Dec 2015)

At the 2004 Olympic Games he tied Mark Spitz's Olympic record of winning four gold medals in individual events. His total haul of eight medals at the Games also tied the 1980 record held by Soviet Union gymnast Alexandr Dityatin for the most medals won by an athlete at a single Olympic Games in all sports. At the 2008 Olympic Games, he made history by winning eight gold medals, more than any other athlete at an Olympic Games. He has a total of 22 Olympic medals, the most by any athlete at the Olympic Games. His tally of 18 Olympic gold medals is also a record. (, 11 Aug 2012; USA Swimming, 16 Jul 2012; US Swimming, 21 Jun 2005)

He was banned from competing for three months after a recreational drugs controversy in February 2009. USA Swimming placed the ban after a picture of Phelps smoking marijuana at a party at University of South Carolina was leaked to the press, despite the fact that he was not breaking a doping law. He was arrested for driving under the influence in September 2014. It was his second driving under the influence arrest, having been arrested for the same offence in 2004. USA Swimming suspended him for six months and suspended him from the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russian Federation. "The past few days have been extremely difficult. I recognise that this is not my first lapse in judgement, and I am extremely disappointed with myself. I am going to take some time away to attend a program that will provide the help I need to better understand myself." In December 2014 he received his punishment of a one-year suspended prison sentence and 18 months of supervised probation. (, 02 Oct 2014; 19 Dec 2014;, 06 Oct 2014; Washington Post, 05 Feb 2009; AP, 13 Feb 2009; AP, 09 Nov 2004)