Michael Phelps’ career in photos on his 30th birthday

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps turned 30 on Tuesday, which means his Olympic debut in 2000 was half a lifetime ago.

Phelps shares his birthday with actress Monica Potter and boxer Mike Tyson, who both have loose Olympic ties.

Potter played 1972 Olympic 5000m runner Steve Prefontaine‘s girlfriend, Mary Marckx, in the 1998 biopic “Without Limits.”

Tyson reportedly first met Evander Holyfield at the 1984 U.S. Olympic Trials, where they competed in separate divisions. Tyson did not make the Olympic Team, while Holyfield won bronze in Los Angeles.

Michael Phelps’ 30th Birthday: Career in Photos | Phelps at Sydney 2000 Olympics | Records Phelps can chase at Rio 2016 | Video: Phelps’ mom texted him about Rio in 2009

Other notable Olympians with June 30 birthdays, according to sports-reference.com: 1964 10,000m champion Billy Mills (1938), 2008 1500m champion  Asbel Kiprop (1989) and 2014 ski halfpipe champion David Wise (1990).

But back to Phelps. He has more Olympic medals (22) and golds (18) than any other Olympian and could become the first U.S. man to swim in five Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Dara Torres, whom Phelps called “mom” when he swam in 2000 at age 15, is the only other American to swim in five Olympics.

Here are 30 photos of Phelps, in chronological order, in honor of his birthday (courtesy AP, Getty Images, Baltimore Sun, Phelps’ Instagram):


Phelps, 8, at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club in 1993.


Phelps, 14, at the U.S. Championships in March 2000.


Phelps stretches before swimming the 200m butterfly at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. He made the team and was the youngest U.S. swimmer in Sydney.


Phelps swims at the Sydney Olympics, where he finished fifth in the 200m fly.


Phelps returns to Towson (Md.) High School after the Sydney Olympics.


Phelps visits the White House with the U.S. Olympic Team in 2000. Bill Clinton was president.


Phelps celebrates his first world record on March 30, 2001. He swam the 200m fly in 1:54.92. His current world record in the event, from 2009, is 1:51.51.


Phelps, next to Tom Malchow, holds his first World Championships gold medal from the 200m fly in 2001.

source: Getty Images

Phelps poses with his first major American rival, Ian Crocker, who beat Phelps for 100m fly gold at the 2003 World Championships.


Phelps celebrates after winning his first Olympic gold medal in the 400m individual medley in Athens.

source: Getty Images

Phelps holds his bronze medal from the “Race of the Century” in Athens, when he nearly chased down Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband in the 200m freestyle.


Phelps poses with a wide-eyed Ryan Lochte after their first Olympic head-to-head race in the 2004 200m individual medley. They went one-two.


Phelps cheers on the U.S. 4x100m medley relay team in Athens after giving up his spot to Crocker for the final. Phelps still won a medal, his sixth gold and eighth overall of the Games, because he swam in the morning prelims.


Phelps visits MTV’s “Total Request Live” after returning from Athens.

source: Getty Images

Phelps at the 2007 World Championships, where he set the table for Beijing 2008 by winning seven gold medals in eight events. His quest for eight was thwarted in the final event, when Crocker left the blocks too early in the medley relay prelims.

source: Getty Images

Phelps shakes hands with Mark Spitz at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials. Phelps broke Spitz’s record of seven gold medals at a single Games at Beijing 2008.

source: Getty Images

Garrett Weber-Gale and Phelps celebrate the U.S. 4x100m free relay gold in Beijing. Anchor Jason Lezak swam the fastest relay split in history to overtake Frenchman Alain Bernard.

source: Getty Images

Phelps, left, and Milorad Cavic, right, finish in the 100m fly in Beijing. Phelps won by .01 of a second.

source: Getty Images

Phelps with his mom, Debbie, and sisters, Hilary and Whitney, after winning gold No. 8 at the Beijing Olympics.


Phelps hosts “Saturday Night Live” in September 2008. That’s William Shatner on the right.

source: Getty Images

Phelps meets another president, George W. Bush, after the Beijing Olympics.

source: Getty Images

Phelps slaps his suit in one of his most exuberant individual swim reactions upon winning the 100m fly at the 2009 World Championships. The 2009 Worlds were the apex of the controversial high-tech suit era. Earlier, Phelps was beaten in the 200m free by German Paul Biedermann, who wore a rival Arena suit to Phelps’ Speedo.

source: Getty Images

Phelps reacts after finishing fourth in the 400m IM at the London Olympics. It was his first event of the Games and his first time finishing out of the medals in an Olympic event since 2000. Doubts surfaced over his medal hopes for the rest of his individual events.


Phelps, who rebounded to win six medals (four gold) in London, lifts a trophy recognizing his feat as the most decorated Olympian of all time.

source: Getty Images

Phelps might have thought this was his final White House visit in September 2012.

source: Getty Images

Phelps, who retired after the London Olympics, in the background with Michael Jordan at Jordan’s celebrity golf tournament in April 2013.

source: Getty Images

Phelps takes a swing at one of his many retirement golf trips, this one in Crans, Switzerland, in September 2013.


Phelps and soccer legend Pele at a Subway event in December 2013 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Pele was promoting the World Cup. Many wondered at the time whether Phelps had designs on returning to Brazil in 2016.

source: AP

Phelps practices at the Charlotte Grand Prix in May 2014, his second comeback meet.

source: Instagram

Phelps and Nicole Johnson were engaged Feb. 21.

Football takes significant step in Olympic push

Flag Football
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Football took another step toward possible Olympic inclusion with the IOC executive board proposing that the sport’s international federation — the IFAF — be granted full IOC recognition at a meeting in October.

IOC recognition does not equate to eventual Olympic inclusion, but it is a necessary early marker if a sport is to join the Olympics down the line. The IOC gave the IFAF provisional recognition in 2013.

Specific measures are required for IOC recognition, including having an anti-doping policy compliant with the World Anti-Doping Agency and having 50 affiliated national federations from at least three continents. The IFAF has 74 national federations over five continents with almost 4.8 million registered athletes, according to the IOC.

The NFL has helped lead the push for flag football to be added for the 2028 Los Angeles Games. Flag football had medal events for men and women at last year’s World Games, a multi-sport competition including Olympic and non-Olympic sports, in Birmingham, Alabama.

Football is one of nine sports that have been reported to be in the running to be proposed by LA 2028 to the IOC to be added for the 2028 Games only. LA 2028 has not announced which, if any sports, it plans to propose.

Under rules instituted before the Tokyo Games, Olympic hosts have successfully proposed to the IOC adding sports solely for their edition of the Games.

For Tokyo, baseball-softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were added. For Paris, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were approved again, and breaking will make its Olympic debut. Those sports were added four years out from the Games.

For 2028, the other sports reportedly in the running for proposal are baseball and softball, breaking, cricket, karate, kickboxing, lacrosse, motorsports and squash.

All of the other eight sports reportedly in the running for 2028 proposal already have a federation with full IOC recognition (if one counts the international motorcycle racing federation for motorsports).

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Helen Maroulis stars in wrestling documentary, with help from Chris Pratt

Helen Maroulis, Chris Pratt

One of the remarkable recent Olympic comeback stories is the subject of a film that will be shown nationwide in theaters for one day only on Thursday.

“Helen | Believe” is a documentary about Helen Maroulis, the first U.S. Olympic women’s wrestling champion. It is produced by Religion of Sports, the venture founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan and Tom Brady. Showing details are here.

After taking gold at the 2016 Rio Games, Maroulis briefly retired in 2019 during a two-year stretch in which she dealt with concussions and post-traumatic stress disorder. The film focuses on that period and her successful bid to return and qualify for the Tokyo Games, where she took bronze.

In a poignant moment in the film, Maroulis described her “rock bottom” — being hospitalized for suicidal ideations.

In an interview, Maroulis said she was first approached about the project in 2018, the same year she had her first life-changing concussion that January. A wrestling partner’s mother was connected to director Dylan Mulick.

Maroulis agreed to the film in part to help spread mental health awareness in sports. Later, she cried while watching the 2020 HBO film, “The Weight of Gold,” on the mental health challenges that other Olympians faced, because it resonated with her so much.

“When you’re going through something, it sometimes gives you an anchor of hope to know that someone’s been through it before, and they’ve overcome it,” she said.

Maroulis’ comeback story hit a crossroads at the Olympic trials in April 2021, where the winner of a best-of-three finals series in each weight class made Team USA.

Maroulis won the opening match against Jenna Burkert, but then lost the second match. Statistically, a wrestler who loses the second match in a best-of-three series usually loses the third. But Maroulis pinned Burkert just 22 seconds into the rubber match to clinch the Olympic spot.

Shen then revealed that she tore an MCL two weeks earlier.

“They told me I would have to be in a brace for six weeks,” she said then. “I said, ‘I don’t have that. I have two and a half.’”

Maroulis said she later asked the director what would have happened if she didn’t make the team for Tokyo. She was told the film still have been done.

“He had mentioned this isn’t about a sports story or sports comeback story,” Maroulis said. “This is about a human story. And we’re using wrestling as the vehicle to tell this story of overcoming and healing and rediscovering oneself.”

Maroulis said she was told that, during filming, the project was pitched to the production company of actor Chris Pratt, who wrestled in high school in Washington. Pratt signed on as a producer.

“Wrestling has made an impact on his life, and so he wants to support these kinds of stories,” said Maroulis, who appeared at last month’s Santa Barbara Film Festival with Pratt.

Pratt said he knew about Maroulis before learning about the film, which he said “needed a little help to get it over the finish line,” according to a public relations company promoting the film.

The film also highlights the rest of the six-woman U.S. Olympic wrestling team in Tokyo. Four of the six won a medal, including Tamyra Mensah-Stock‘s gold.

“I was excited to be part of, not just (Maroulis’) incredible story, but also helping to further advance wrestling and, in particular, female wrestling,” Pratt said, according to responses provided by the PR company from submitted questions. “To me, the most compelling part of Helen’s story is the example of what life looks like after a person wins a gold medal. The inevitable comedown, the trauma around her injuries, the PTSD, the drive to continue that is what makes her who she is.”

Maroulis, who now trains in Arizona, hopes to qualify for this year’s world championships and next year’s Olympics.

“I try to treat every Games as my last,” she said. “Now I’m leaning toward being done [after 2024], but never say never.”

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