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Who is Michael Phelps

Phelps wins 400m IM
At the moment, he is known as the star of the 2008 Olympics, the one person who can be credited with sparking interest in the event and the greatest Olympic athlete of the modern era. Just who is Michael Phelps.

Phelps was born on June 30th, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland. His current residence is in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is 6'4" and 195lbs.
This Olympics marks his second. By the end of the 2008 Olympics he will have swum in 200m free, 100m fly, 200m fly, 200m IM, 400m IM, 4x100m free relay, 4x200m free relay, and 4x100m medley relay.

At this time, his credits include winning gold and setting the world record in each of his events.

  • Aug. 10, Phelps won the 400m IM in 4:03.86, more than a second faster than the record he set a month earlier at Olympic Trials.
  • Aug 11 Phelps and the U.S. team squeaked out a win in the 4x100m freestyle relay.
  • Phelps easily won the 200m free, for his third gold in Beijing and his record-tying ninth career gold.
  • Phelps won two more gold medals: first, in the 200m butterfly, where the race was tighter than expected.

Phelps has physical characteristics that seem ideal for swimming. His 6-foot-7-inch wingspan is three inches longer than his height, providing him with unusual reach. His torso is long compared to his legs, enabling him to ride high on the water. And his flexible ankles, combined with size-14 feet, allow for a powerful kick.

To the Wolverines
At Michigan's Club Wolverine, Phelps trains with numerous other elite swimmers: Olympians Erik Vendt, Peter Vanderkaay and Kaitlin Sandeno, as well as hopefuls Davis Tarwater and Chris Dejong. Under Bob Bowman, who has been Phelps' coach since he was 12 years old, the atmosphere is intense and the training tough. Bowman had a countdown clock installed in the pool to mark the days until Beijing, as a daily reminder of the swimmers' ultimate goal.

Michael Phelps won six gold and two bronze medals in Athens.
Getty Images

Phelps has come a long way from his unhappy childhood, where his nicknames came from bullies rather than fans. Other children would mock his "sticky-out ears", his goofy expression, and his over-sized chin. Together with his diagnosis for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for which he required daily doses of the drug Ritalin, the future Olympian provided bullies with more ammunition than most.

His diet. Phelps is said to consume around 12,000 calories per day- six times the average calorie intake for a 23-year-old man.

NBC says that Phelps starts the day at 5am with three fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, fried onions, and mayonnaise.

That's followed by a five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits (porridge), three slices of French toast with powdered sugar, and three chocolate-chip pancakes, all washed down with two cups of coffee.

By lunchtime though Phelps, who is contesting eight events in Beijing, needs refuelling.

That comes in the form of half a kilo of enriched pasta, two large ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread with mayonnaise, and nearly 1,000 calories worth of energy drinks.

Dinner consists of pasta followed by an entire pizza and another 1,000 calories of energy drinks.

"Eat, sleep and swim. That's all I do," Phelps told NBC.

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