In the summer of 2008 children and young people found a new hero in a 6 foot 4 inch swimmer from Baltimore, Maryland. His name was Michael Phelps. Michael was the youngest of three children in his family.
While he was growing up he was tall and lanky*, and his arms swung below his knees when he stood up. Kids made fun of him and bullied him. At the age of nine he was diagnosed with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity* disorder. He couldn't sit still or concentrate, and he was always on the move. One teacher told his mother he would never be able to focus. His grades were B's, C's, and a few D's.
His two big sisters, Whitney and Hilary were good swimmers. Whitney even finished sixth in the 200 butterfly at the 1996 Olympic trials. Michael also became interested in swimming and his mother encouraged him to swim. It was an outlet for his abundant energy and the lane markers tended to give him the structure he needed. He loved swimming. When he was 11 years old he began to work with Bob Bowman, a swim coach, and Bob began pointing him toward the Olympics*. Bob, who had the North Baltimore Aquatic* Club, knew talent when he saw it.
When he was young he played other sports such as baseball and soccer in addition to swimming, but by the time he was 11 he knew he had found his niche* and concentrated on swimming.
He made his first Olympic team in Sydney, Australia in the 200 butterfly race in the year 2000 when he was just 15 years old.
At the Olympics in Athens in 2004 he won 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals. At the 2007 world championships in Melbourne he won 7 gold medals.
Most recently in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China he won 8 gold medals! This topped swimmer Mark Spitz's thirty-six-year-old record of 7 gold medals which he won in the Munich Olympics in 1972.
Mark Spitz called Phelps "The Greatest Olympian". Others will disagree citing athletes in different fields such as track and gymnastics. And some athletes excel in multiple sports, but Michael Phelps has won the hearts of the nation because of his accomplishment.
Phelps swims 7 days a week, two to five hours a day. He doesn't like to be a loser. He likes to win whether it's a video game or a race. If he loses, he just works harder so he can be a winner the next time.
His life revolves around swimming, sleeping, and eating. Swimming burns a lot of calories, and he eats a tremendous amount of food; 8,000 - 12,000 calories* a day. This is five times as much as the average man eats, but don't try this at home unless you want to swim several hours a day, or before long you will be waddling across the room instead of walking.
Michael's third grade teacher wrote a letter to his mother telling how proud she was of him. She said perhaps it had never been focus he lacked, but, rather, a goal worthy of his focus.
Michael says, "If you dream as big as you can dream, anything is possible."
Olympic Medals Beijing 2008
First Place, Michael Phelps (center) gold
Second Place, Laszlo Cseh (right) silver
Third Place, Ryan Lochte (left) bronze
This biography by Patsy Stevens, a retired teacher, was written in 2008.
A frequent question:
"Who wrote this biography and when was it written?"
Look on this Reference Citations Chart.
Michael Phelps Biography
Built to Swim
New York Times Magazine
The Butterfly Stroke
Articles about Phelps
Michael Phelps' Unusual Diet
Michael's Mother Answers Questions
Good Housekeeping Magazine
When Celebrity Role Models Fail
From Word Central's Student Dictionary
by Merriam - Webster
(Pronunciation note: the schwa sound is shown by ə)
being tall, thin, and usually loose-jointed
very active especially to an abnormal amount
a place, use, or work for which a person is best fitted
1 : growing or living in or often found in water as aquatic animals
2 : performed in or on water
Function: plural noun
1 : an ancient Greek festival held every fourth year and made up of contests in sports, music, and literature
2 : a series of international athletic contests held in a different country
during the summer and the winter once every four years
1 : a unit of heat: the heat energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius (small calorie)
or the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree Celsius (large calorie)
2 : an amount of food having an energy-producing value of one large calorie
Swifter, Higher, Stronger: A Photographic History of the Summer Olympics
By Sue Macy / National Geographic Children's Books
Hardcover 96 pages Publication Date: 2008
Success (boys swimming), 5 x 7 Framed Gift
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Framed print to motivate and inspire features boys swimming collage and quote from Psalm 20:4 May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. Contemporary black metal frame with glass; velvetex easel back; 7" x 5"; boxed for giving.
A LIBRARY OF
ONLINE BOOKS and BOOK PREVIEWS
Preview these Amazon books using the links below.
Michael Phelps, People We Should Know, Weekly Reader
by Mike Kennedy (selected pages)
Michael Phelps, Buddy Books
by Sarah Tieck (selected pages)
Michael Phelps, Amazing Athletes
by Jeffrey Zuehlke (selected pages)
Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion
by Bob Schaller, Jason Lezak, Rowdy Gaines (selected pages)
Michael Phelps: Beneath the Surface
by Michael Phelps, Brian Cazeneuve (selected pages)
No Limits: The Will to Succeed
by Michael Phelps, Alan Abrahamson (selected pages)
Amazing Pace: The Story of Olympic Champion Michael Phelps from Sydney to Athens to Beijing
by Paul McMullen(selected pages)
Please leave a comment for this page.
View all Comments
Biographies in this Series
Reference citations information for these biographies
the United States
George Washington John Adams Thomas Jefferson James Madison James Monroe Andrew Jackson Martin Van Buren Abraham Lincoln Theodore Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt Harry S. Truman Dwight D. Eisenhower John F. Kennedy Lyndon B. Johnson Jimmy Carter Ronald Reagan Barack Obama Calvin Coolidge American Patriots Benjamin Franklin Francis Scott Key Deborah Sampson Molly Pitcher World Leaders Constantine Alexander the Great Winston Churchill Margaret Thatcher Inventors Alexander Graham Bell Johann Gutenberg Cyrus McCormick The Wright Brothers Henry Ford Thomas A. Edison Sequoyah Nikola Tesla Michael Faraday Dean Kamen Jack Kilby Leonardo Da Vinci Donald O'Neal Explorers Christopher Columbus Meriwether Lewis Robert Peary John Muir Matthew Henson Sir Edmund Hillary Kit Carson Johnny Appleseed Daniel Boone Women who made
Clara Barton Helen Keller Florence Nightingale Joan of Arc Amelia Earhart Annie Oakley Susan B. Anthony Elizabeth Keckly Harriet Tubman Anne Frank Eleanor Roosevelt Madam C.J. Walker Sadako Sasaki Henrietta Lacks Malala Yousafzai Scientists George Washington Carver Sir Isaac Newton Marie Curie Louis Pasteur Albert Einstein Galileo Lise Meitner Norman Borlaug Benjamin Banneker Educators Noah Webster Booker T. Washington Aristotle Mary McLeod Bethune Physicians Hippocrates Walter Reed Albert Schweitzer Religious Leaders George Muller Increase Mather Athletes Lou Gehrig Wilma Rudolph Tiger Woods Michael Phelps Civil Rights
Martin Luther King Rosa Parks Sojourner Truth Frederick Douglass Mary Ann Shadd Cary James Forten Gandhi César Chávez William Wilberforce Nelson Mandela Composers Beethoven Mozart Authors Laura Ingalls Wilder Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) Ernest Hemingway Greg Mortenson Phillis Wheatley Artists John James Audubon Gutzon Borglum Ansel Adams Dale Chihuly Van Gogh Michelangelo Rembrandt Grandma Moses Cassatt Renoir Cezanne Rockwell
Back to Famous Leaders
Pictures courtesy of Creative Commons, and Wikipedia
Puzzles on these pages courtesy of
Songs of Praise and Armored Penguin
*Word Match Solution