Matthew Kitchen, NBC Olympics
We first saw Michael Phelps as a 15-year-old swimming the 200m butterfly to a fifth place finish in Sydney, and even if we knew he was special then, we’re not sure anyone could have predicted what we’ve seen the last twelve years. On Tuesday Phelps became the most decorated Olympian in history when he swam his team to gold as anchor of the 4x200m free. Here’s a few numbers that break down his distinguished career:
15 – Career golds won by Phelps, the most in history by six over Larissa Latynina, Paavo Nurmi, Mark Spitz, and Carl Lewis, who all won nine.
48 – Years Latynina held the record after winning No. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18 at the 1964 Tokyo Games.
8 – Gold medals Phelps won at the 2008 Beijing Games, breaking Mark Spitz’s record 40 year record of seven from the Munich Games.
29 – Times Phelps has broken a world record in an individual event.
37 – Times Phelps has broken a world record if you include relays.
22 – Medals Phelps will end his career with if he makes the podium in his final three events: the 200IM final, 100m fly, and 4x100m IM.
0.05 – Combined time in which Phelps won his two 100m butterfly golds. He beat Milorad Cavic by 0.01 in Beijing and beat teammate Ian Crocker by 0.04 in Athens.
2 – Silver medals Phelps has won to go along with 15 gold and two bronze. Phelps didn’t finish second in any Olympics until Sunday’s 4x100m free relay and won another silver Tuesday night in the 200m fly.
6 – World Records Phelps currently holds in Olympic events, including the 100m fly, 200m fly, 400m IM, 4x100m free, 4x200m free, and 4x100m medley relay.
0 – Equals.
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