Life 101…Personally Speaking is an educational yet informal interview program hosted on the campus of Nova Southeastern University.
Michael Phelps arrived at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens as the prohibitive favorite in men's swimming. He won a record-tying eight medals, including six gold and two bronze. Phelps was born in Baltimore, Maryland. His two sisters, Whitney and Hillary, were also swimmers.
Phelps joined the North Baltimore Aquatic Club at age seven, where he met his current coach, Bob Bowman, four years later. At the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney , Phelps was a member of the United States mens' team, at age 15. He placed fifth there in the 200-meter butterfly and less than a year later became the youngest male world record holder when he won the 200-meter fly at the world championships in Fukuoka, Japan. In 2001, he became a professional swimmer, forgoing his eligibility to compete in college.
In 2002, Phelps won four titles at the national championships, breaking a world record and two American records. He set the stage for his Athens performance with a banner year in 2003. Phelps won five U.S. national titles at one championships, including setting a new world record for the 200-meter individual medley (the longest standing record in men's swimming). He was also the only man to win a U.S. national title in three different strokes at one meet. At the world championships that year, he became the first person to break five world records at one international meet. Phelps won the 2003 Sullivan Award, given by the Amateur Athletic Union to the best athlete in the nation.
In 2004, Phelps became the first American man to qualify for six individual Olympic events. He swam five of the individual races, winning gold in four of them: the 400-meter individual medley, the 200-meter fly, the 200-meter individual medley, and the 100-meter fly. He set a world record winning the first gold and Olympic records winning the other three. He won a bronze medal in the 200-meter freestyle. Phelps also won three medals for team events: the 4 x 100 freestyle relay (bronze), the 4 x 200 freestyle relay (gold), and the 4 x 100 medley relay (gold).