U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps was born in the eastern city of Baltimore, Maryland, where he is as well-known as the city's legendary baseball and football stars.
A Baltimore swim club was where he first took to the water at age seven, and where he began his dreams of Olympic glory.
Phelps swam on his high school team, joined the U.S. national team, and at just age 15, was part of the U.S. Olympic team at the Summer games in Sydney, Australia.
He won no medals in Sydney, but spent the next four years breaking record after record as part of the U.S. national team, a dress rehearsal for the 2004 Summer games in Athens, Greece.
Phelps became an Olympic superstar, winning six gold medals and two bronze in Athens, and an unprecedented eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing games.
Phelps has written two books and is co-founder of a non-profit group that organizes swimming camps.