Michael Phelps: the most titanic of the titans

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Michael Phelps: the most titanic of the titans

Michael Phelps, the legend, the shark, the man who won more Olympics medal Ancient Greek hero Leonida. Phelps is the athlete who has won the most Olympic medals ever: 28. Of which 23 in gold, another record. And the list goes on with the World Cup and record numbers.

Until his retirement in 2016, Phelps has grinded wins over wins by becoming an icon of world sport. Still today he is one of the most successful athletes of all time despite a career that is not always linear, the victim of some stop and go and repeatedly threatened by alcohol and depression.

Michael Phelps was born on June 30, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. He grew up without his father and mother Debbie and sisters Whitney and Hilary. He began swimming at the age of seven: at the beginning he was afraid of water but his sisters, also swimmers, convinced him to continue.

As a child he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. At age 12 years old, coach Bob Bowman advised him to give up other sports to devote himself entirely to swimming. Bowman will become his coach throughout his career and he will immediately begin to achieve predestined success, so much so that he has gained a place at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

On 30 March 30 2001, Phelps became the youngest swimmer to break a record, with 1’54’’92 on the 200 meter butterfly, which became his main specialty. He surpassed himself at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, beating Olympic champion Tom Malchow in the final and winning his first gold medal at 16.

It was confirmed at the Pan-Pacific Yokohama Championships in 2002 and at the Barcelona World Championships in 2003. His training involved two hours of swimming in the morning and three in the afternoon for an average of 16 kilometers per day.

On these rhythms, it was calculated, he would have traveled the water around the circumference of the Earth in water. His diet involved taking 8,000 calories per day. His rivals, such as Ian Thorpe and Milorad Cavic, also celebrated his spirit of sacrifice.

However, his career was not a success story. About two months after the games in Australia, he was arrested for drunk driving after not stopping at the police altar.

The best ever, despite some problemes

He was not yet 21 years old, the minimum age to consume alcohol in the USA.

He was sentenced to $ 305 plus court costs and forced to attend meetings of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving association. The masterpiece was the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In China, the Maryland swimmer cannibalized the medal winning eight gold and breaking the seventh world record.

He broke the medal record for an edition of the American swimmer Mark Spitz that had lasted for 36 years and became the athlete with the most gold in the competition. Later English magazine News of the World in early 2009 published a photo of Phelps while smoking from a bong, an instrument used essentially for marijuana use.

The swimmer admitted everything by defining his own behavior as deplorable. CIO and FINA suspended him from the swimming federation of the USA and the sponsor Kellogg's did not renew his contract. It was also due to the aftermath of this affair if the Baltimore Shark lost enthusiasm and announced his retirement from sport after the 2012 Olympics in London.

That something had changed in his life he understood: “I don't like getting up so early in the morning. Entering the cold water of the swimming pool is not fun. It's disgusting. " In the British capital Phelps obtained four gold and two silver.

He became the first swimmer to win gold for three consecutive editions in the same discipline, the 200m mixed, and the best medal for mixed. At the end of the competition, FINA awarded him the "Best Olympic athlete of all time"

Many, among colleagues and commentators, did not believe the story of his definitive leave from the tub. The now ex-swimmer meanwhile had turned to poker and golf. In just over a year, he gained 15 kilos. As many had predicted, he returned to racing in April 2014.

He participated in the pan-pacific championships but his career suffered another abrupt stop: in 2015 he was arrested once again for drunk driving, speeding and overtaking on a double strip go on. Federnuoto disqualified him for six months and was sentenced to one year in prison on parole.

Thus, on 13 August 2016, the greatest swimmer of all time came out of a pool in Rio De Janeiro. Probably also the greatest athlete of all time. In total, among all the competitions in which it took part, there are 83 medals: 66 gold, 14 silver and 3 bronze.

Michael Phelps today is dedicated to the family, his wife Nicole Johnson and their children Boomer Robert, Beckett Richard and Maverick.