It’s a great time to be from the United States of America as the 2016 Olympics unfold in Rio. As of now the U.S. is dominating the medal count, especially the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, Michael Phelps from Maryland. Phelps is now sitting on 28 medals, which is 10 more than the next closest competitor. It is safe to say that number will be a hard one to beat. What makes this man such a dominant athlete? It is quite obvious that body was built for swimming. Phelps is a natural when it comes to the water and has proven his abilities time and time again. Here are 14 facts about Michael Phelps that will help you understand why he is the most decorated olympic athlete of all time.
1.Michael Phelps started swimming at the young age of 7.
2. He was actually scared of putting his head underwater so the first stroke he learned was the backstroke allowing him to keep his head above water.
3. At age 10 he set the U.S. record for the 100 meter fly in his age group with a time of 1:08.54
4. He was the youngest American male swimmer to compete in the Olympics in almost 70 years. That was in Sydney in 2000 at the age of 15.
5. Michael Phelps has a wingspan that is wider than he is tall. When his arms are extended they reach 80 inches across which is 6’8″ wide. Phelps is 6’4″ tall.
6. Phelps wears a size 14 shoe and has a very unique ankle. His ankles are said to bend 15 degrees more than then average ankle giving him “virtual flippers”.
7. Michael Phelps has a heightened ability to recover from physical exertion allowing him to train harder and longer. Phelps produces less lactate than the average person which would otherwise cause fatigue slowing him down.
8. Phelps can swim the 100-meter in less than 50 seconds. He holds the world record for the 100-meter butterfly with a time of 49.82. He holds the world record for the 200-meter butterfly as well with a time of 1:51.51.
9. When Phelps was only 15 he became the youngest man to break a world record. It was in 2001 with the 200-meter fly at the Spring Nationals.
10. in 2012 Phelps became the most decorated Olympic athlete in history when he won the gold in the 4×200 freestyle relay. This was the 19th medal of his career and he was 27 years old.
11. After he won his 19th medal he went on to win 3 more in London. Phelps still holds records for 12 different age-group events.
12. To prepare for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Phelps swam 80,000 meters per week. 80,000 meters is 50 miles!
13. Because of his physical attributes (extreme flexibility, long arms, etc), Phelps undergoes annual testing for Marfan syndrome at Johns Hopkins.
14. Michael Phelps has a net worth of $55 million! That makes him the 4th richest Olympic athlete to date.
What a time to be alive! Everybody thought Michael Phelps was going to finish his athletic career after the whole pot scandal years ago. He came back stronger than ever and has created a dominating lead for Olympic medals. This man is an athletic wonder and continues to prove why he is the best swimmer in the world.