American swimmer Michael Phelps made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, becoming the first athlete to win eight gold medals at a single Olympic Games. He now has has his sights on the London Olympics hoping to add to his medal haul.
Phelps made his first U.S. Olympic swimming team at the age of 15 in 2000. That year, at the Sydney Games, he made the finals in the 200-meter butterfly and placed fifth. Four years later, he won six gold and two bronze medals at the Athens Olympics.
After his stellar performances at the past two Olympics, he holds 14 gold medals and 16 overall.
The athlete who holds the all-time record for total medals with 18 is former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, who ended her Olympic career in 1964. Phelps recently met her at a photo shoot in New York, which he describes as "an honor".
Phelps says he has his own personal goals to accomplish this time, and only he and longtime coach Bob Bowman know what they are.
“We have been working together as a team for so long and that is how we have always worked. You know we have just never shared our goals [with others],” he explains.
But certainly goal number one is to make the U.S. Olympic swim team for the fourth time. The national qualifying trials for the London Games will be in Omaha, Nebraska, at the end of June, during which Phelps will turn 27 on June 30. He will only say he will enter the events that will give him the best opportunity to succeed.
The 1.93-meter-tall Phelps told a packed news conference in Dallas recently that he is not planning to swim eight races, as he did in Beijing.
“I know it will not be eight gold or eight medals again," he admits. "You know if you guys want to compare me to that, that is your decision, it is not mine. But I am going out there to try to accomplish the things that I have in my mind and in my heart. And, you know, if I can do that, and I can have fun, then that is really all that matters to me.”