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Michael Phelps Exits the Olympics, Leaves a Lasting Legacy
By Sam Goode - August 15, 2016
Having won 83 medals in his career, American athlete Michael Phelps definitely transformed the sport of swimming. With his record, people betting on swimming rarely doubt if Phelps would win an event. Instead, they would wager on whether he would break his previous record.
Just recently, the swimming legend announced that after a 16-year run in the Games, he does not intend to compete in another Olympics. With training and preparing for the said competition taking up a huge chunk of his schedule, Phelps said that he is leaving the Games to devote more time for his family. The sensational swimmer is “looking forward” to spending more time with his three-month-old son Boomer and his fiancée, former Miss California title-holder Nicole Johnson.
With this surprising announcement, people have been talking about the Phelps legacy. Let’s take a look at what he achieved in his swimming career so far.
Phelps is the Most Decorated Olympian
Before he became known as a swimming legend, he first competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. One notable thing about his first qualification for the tournament was the fact that he was only 15 years old. Back then, he was the youngest male to qualify for the US Olympic swim team in 68 years. Despite failing to make it to the podium, he still managed to reach the finals and land the fifth place in the 200-metre butterfly. He then qualified for the 2004 Olympics in Athens and went on to win his gold. Since then, his success in the international competitive swimming field became unstoppable.
At the culmination of the 2012 Summer Games, Phelps managed to ink a record of 18 golds and 22 medals overall. It was also the first time he announced that he would not return for the next Olympics. Back then, he was awarded a trophy commemorating his status as the most-decorated Olympian. Aside from being the ‘Greatest Olympian of All Time’ he also created a record by becoming the first swimmer to win gold in the same event three times.
Four years after his retirement announcement, he came back to the 2016 Rio Olympics. Phelps maintained his status as the most decorated Olympian with winning a record 23 gold medals. He completed the Games with five gold medals in separate events, including the 4x200-metre freestyle relay, 200-metre butterfly, 4x100-metre medley relay, 4x100-metre freestyle relay and the 200-metre individual medley. He also won silver in the 100m butterfly event. The swimming legend is leaving the Games with 28 medals in total.
Phelps Broke a 2,000-Year-Old Olympic Record
It has been a well-known fact that Phelps is an athlete who tends to break records every time he dives into the pool. However, when he won the gold medal for the 200m individual medley, he also broke a record that has been held for 2,168 years. This feat earned him his 13th individual title. Before this historical win, Leonidas of Rhodes held the record for having the most individual wins.
If sports betting bonuses existed back then, people would have used them on this Olympian. According to Olympic historians, Leonidas competed as a runner in the diaulos, a 400-metre sprint and the stadium which was 200 metres. He also competed in the hoplitodromos which was the same as the diaulos, except for the fact that participants run while wearing greaves, a helmet and while carrying a shield made of bronze and wood. Back then, Olympians did not earn a medal for a win. Instead, they were awarded wreaths picked from wild olive trees. When he retired at the age of 36, Leonidas earned 12 individual wins.
The record was held since 152 B.C. In time for his retirement from the Olympics at the age of 31, Phelps broke the 2-000-year-old record.
Phelps Inspired a Number of Great Swimmers
When people talk about what Phelps has achieved, they typically discuss medals and records broken. However, some are still arguing that his greatest contribution to the sport is the roster of competitive swimmers he has inspired.
His legacy is illustrated in a decade-old photograph of a then nine-year-old Katie Ledecky smiling for the camera while having an autograph signed by Phelps. A decade later, Ledecky has followed Phelps’ footsteps by winning five Olympic gold medals. Clearly, she has proved to be the dominant female swimmer in the Games. Consequently, she has also become a popular choice for those who place sports bets on Sky Bet.
Joseph Schooling is another Olympian who was inspired by Phelps. As a youngster, he always looked up to the American swimmer and even had a photo snapped with him when the Olympian visited Singapore prior to the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Eight years later, Schooling stood on the top step of the 100-metre butterfly podium, above Phelps. His feat also brought Singapore’s first-ever gold medal from the Olympics.
After the race, Phelps shared, “We've all seen the photo of Katie and I when she was nine, and the photo of Joe and I. I wanted to change the sport of swimming. That's what I wanted to do. With the people in the sport now, I think you're seeing it.”
When Phelps’ team won the 4x200-metre freestyle, trailing right behind them was James Guy’s team. In an interview, the 20-year-old British swimmer shared his thoughts about Phelps, “He's my hero – one day I hope to be remembered like him. I just said to him, 'It's an honor to race you, you've inspired me for so many years,' and he said 'thank you very much' and he gave me a hug, which was nice of him.”
This is how Phelps becomes immortal… by being a legend who left a legacy that inspired athletes to push harder and change the sport of swimming.
Michael Phelps: An Extraordinary Swimmer
Are you an aspiring swimmer who dreams of following the footsteps of Phelps? Do you think you have what it takes for people to bet on you in popular sports betting sites? There are a lot of things that make Phelps an exceptional swimmer. Aside from his dedication, focus and hard work, there are certain quirks in his body that contribute to his extraordinary performance. Phelps stands 6ft 4in tall but he has a disproportionate body. His torso is as long as that of a man who stands 6ft 8in tall, but his lower body length is that of someone who is under 6ft. While he may not look dashing in pants, this quality makes him sit high in water and avoid drag.
His wingspan is also out of the ordinary. Typically, a person’s wingspan, or the total length from tip to tip of outstretched arms, is about the same as their height. However, Phelps’ wingspan is 6ft 7in – three inches longer than the average. His joints in the elbows, knees and chest are also hyperextended, so unlike most other swimmers, he kicks from his chest down and not ribs down. Aside from those factors, Phelps’ ankles are double-jointed, making them 15 degrees more flexible as compared to other swimmers. This also means that his size 14 feet function like flipper when he swims.