Michael Fred Phelps II (born June 30, 1985) is an American swimmer and 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). In winning eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps took the record for the most first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. Five of those victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record. In the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps has won two silver medals and one gold through July 31.
Phelps is the 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. 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. 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. 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”.
After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles. He expects to do further work with his foundation after the 2012 Olympics, which he has said will be his last.