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When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games.At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Phelps had already tied the record of eight medals of any color at a single Games by winning six gold and two bronze medals.At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won five gold medals and one silver.This made him the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row.
Phelps retired following the 2012 Olympics, but he made a comeback in April 2014.
After retirement in 2016, he stated "The only reason I ever got in the water was my mom wanted me to just learn how to swim. At the World Championship Trials for the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, on March 30, Phelps broke the world record in the 200-meter butterfly to become, at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest male ever to set a swimming world record.
My sisters and myself fell in love with the sport, and we decided to swim." Phelps' rapid improvement culminated when he qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15, as became the youngest male (since Ralph Flanagan in 1932) to make a U. Previously this had been Ian Thorpe, who lowered the 400-meter freestyle world record at 16 years, 10 months.
At Nationals, the selection meet for the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phelps set an American record in the 200-meter individual medley and was just off the world record in the 200-meter butterfly.
In the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps bettered the world record held by Tom Dolan with a time of .09, just ahead of Erik Vendt, who finished second with a time of .27, also below the old world record.
In the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps was barely beaten by Klete Keller and in the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps beat Ian Crocker.