Birthday Boy Phelps Makes History With 5th Olympic Entry in a Row

Michael Phelps has bounced back from a tough phase and will be going to Rio with his fiancee and son.

Updated
Sports
3 min read
Michael Phelps on Wednesday became the first male swimmer to qualify for 5 Olympic games. (Photo: AP)

Michael Phelps gave himself an early birthday present by becoming the first male swimmer to qualify for five Olympic games. Phelps punched his ticket to the Rio Summer Games by winning the 200 metres butterfly at the US Olympic swim trials on Wednesday.

Cheered on by a capacity crowd that included his fiancée Nicole and their infant son Boomer, Phelps, who turns 31 on Thursday, stormed to the wall in 1min 54.84s to secure a trip to his fifth consecutive Olympics.

Inspired, motivated and sober, Phelps heads to Rio with the goal of adding to his staggering record total of 22 medals, including 18 gold, and pen a happy ending to a brilliant career that he feels he denied himself at the 2012 London Olympics.

Michel Phelps’ son Boomer and fiancee Nicole Johnson will be joining him at Rio. (Photo: AP)
Michel Phelps’ son Boomer and fiancee Nicole Johnson will be joining him at Rio. (Photo: AP)

Speaking on what motivates him, Phelps said:

Coming back and being able to have the opportunity to finish how I want. Thinking about the ups and downs we’ve gone through in and out of the pool to get to this point and not feeling an absolute 100 percent but still being able to get the job done. 

The American swimmer added:

I think things are probably going to hit me a lot more emotionally now than what they would have in the past, because I’m enjoying the moment and I’m embracing the moment.

At the London Olympics in 2012, which he had declared to be his last Games, Phelps won four gold and overall six medals but walked away with the regret that he simply went through the motions.

He subsequently talked of a golf career but eventually found himself testing the waters of a swimming comeback which was interrupted by a second drunk driving arrest in 2014 and a stint in rehab that laid the foundation for Phelps’ transformation from a party boy to a family man.

At the London Olympics in 2012 Phelps won four gold and overall six medals. (Photo: AP)
At the London Olympics in 2012 Phelps won four gold and overall six medals. (Photo: AP)

After accepting his medal for his 200 fly win, Phelps searched the darkened arena for his partner and child, joining them poolside where he hugged Nicole and planted a kiss on his son’s forehead.

I don’t see him (Boomer) every day. I try to, but if I do it’s for a very short moment, so any time I have with him is always very special.

Apart from the result, very little of his 200m swim on Wednesday evening pleased Phelps. His winning time of 1:54.84 was well off his world record mark of 1:51.51.

I think with everything that has happened and being able to come back that was probably harder than any swim I have had in my life. I haven’t felt great in the water but like I said, I’m checking a box off, being able to get on the team.
Michael Phelps

He added:

Getting on the team was the most important thing and that was the only thing I had to do tonight.

(With agency inputs,)

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