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14 Facts About Michael Phelps That Will Make You Say "Holy Shit"

Twenty-five Olympic medals (and counting!) is really just the beginning.

1. First of all, he started swimming at the tender age of 7.

2. The first stroke he learned was the backstroke because he was reportedly afraid to put his head underwater.

3. And three years later he set a national record for his age group in the 100-meter fly.

4. In 2000, he became the youngest American male swimmer to compete in the Olympics in almost 70 years.

5. His wingspan is longer than he is tall. When his arms are extended they reach 80 inches (that's 6 feet, 8 inches) tip to tip.

6. He also has size 14 feet, which are so bendy at the ankle that they're "virtual flippers."

7. And he has a heightened ability to recover from physical exertion, which means racing multiple times in a day is NBD.

8. He can swim 100 meters in less than 50 seconds.

9. At age 15, he became the youngest man to break a world record.

10. At age 27 he became the most decorated athlete in the history of the Olympics.

11. And after he set that record, he broke it and set a new one.

12. He still holds national records for 12 different age-group events.

13. When he was preparing for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, he swam 80,000 meters per week. That's 50 miles.

14. And his net worth makes him the fifth-richest Olympic athlete ever, and also waaaay higher paid than the richest of Olympic swimmers.

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Watch the women’s gymnastics individual all-around final featuring Simone Biles tonight in primetime at 8 p.m. ET on NBC.


Michael Phelps holds world records in the 100-meter and 200-meter butterfly. An earlier version of this post misstated the equivalent of these events in terms of laps.