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Michael Phelps

The most-decorated Olympian of all time, American swimmer Michael Phelps won a remarkable 23 gold medals, plus three silvers and two bronze, across four Olympic Games.

Although his first podium appearance came at Athens 2004, his Olympic bow actually came at Sydney 2000, where - aged just 15 - he finished fifth in the 200m Butterfly Final.

Phelps was the youngest male Olympian the United States had put on a team in nearly 70 years.

In Athens, Phelps became only the second athlete - after Soviet Union gymnast Aleksandr Dityatin - to win eight medals at a single Olympics, six of them gold.

Four years later in Beijing, Phelps won eight golds, breaking the record set at Munich 1972 by fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz. Five of Phelps' victories were in individual events, tying the single Games record.

At London 2012 the medals flowed once again. He added a further four golds and two silver medals, making him the most successful athlete for the third Olympics in a row, and at Rio 2016 he completed his set with five more golds.

To sum up Phelps' dominance in his sport, he has set more world records (29 individual, 10 relay) than any other swimmer in history, surpassing another Spitz mark of 33, and won 33 World Championship medals between 2001 and 2011.

Could he still add to his haul? After Rio Phelps said he had definitely retired - but then he also said that after London.


Michael Phelps at 18

A trip back to Baltimore to see Michael Phelps reveal his brutal training regime shows why the swimming legend has 23 Olympic gold medals.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps Michael Phelps of USA leads Chad le Clos of South Africa in the men's 200m butterfly final at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. (David Ramos/Getty Images)