London: According to casual estimates, this American swimmer must have at least a room in his house full of his medals. The same estimates suggest with surety that a corner must now be full of his Olympic triumphs alone. At 27, Michael Phelps has indeed swam to every record, laurel and accolade there is in the path of an international athlete.
Known also as the Baltimore Bullet, Phelps holds the world record in the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly and the 400m individual medley. He has won 71 medals in international events. A rich haul as it may be, 57 of these are 'golden in colour.' It shows how relentless Phelps has been in water, settling mostly for nothing short of the top-spot. In the London Games this year, he broke the overall record of the highest number of Olympics medals won by an individual athlete - 18. That awards and appreciations have come in equal proportions is a given.
Born and raised in Baltimore City, he is the youngest of three siblings in a family which has English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and German ancestry. Taking the plunge at age seven, he was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It was not something which could prevent him from taking the national record for his age, at 10. Five years and a lot of records later, he found himself at the 2000 Summer Olympics - the youngest male US swimmer in 68 years to reach this event. He could not get himself to the podium despite a superb showing.