"They gave me a piece of paper" - Michael Phelps says his 5th place prize at the 2000 Olympics motivated him to break the World Record in six months

2022 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Hall Of Fame Ceremony
Michael Phelps speaks during the 2022 U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Hall Of Fame Ceremony

Michael Phelps has been the most successful in the sport of swimming. Despite retiring in 2016, his record is not yet broken. In a video recently posted on Instagram, Phelps spoke to Dr. Bhrett McCabe about how his fifth-place finish at the 2000 Olympics motivated him to break a world record.

Michael Phelps said,

"2000. I'm 15 years old. I'm going to the Olympics. My first international trip. Yeah, I got fifth and probably within 3/10 of a second from winning a medal. They gave me a piece of paper. That said Congatulations, and that's not really I wanted.
"That actually motivated me, because my coach, the very next day, I got back into training. He (his coach) put on a piece of paper. WR - World Record. Break a world record in six months. Guess what happened in six months? I broke that world record."

When Phelps qualified to represent USA at the Sydney Olympics, he was the youngest swimmer in Team USA in 68 years. He was only 15 years old when he competed in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

In the finals of the 200-meter butterfly, he faced off against his fellow teammate Tom Malchow, Ukraine's Denys Sylantyev, and Australia's Justin Norris. The young swimmer finished in fifth place with a time 1:56.50 in his first ever Olympic finals while fellow American Tom Malchow won the gold medal.

However, Phelps broke the world record in the 200m butterfly at the World Championship Trials for the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. He once again broke his own world record in the 200m butterfly at the 2001 World Championships.

In another clip posted on Instagram, Michael said his favorite celebration after a competition was the 100m butterfly at the 2009 World Championships. He clocked a time of 49.82 to finish in first place.

Michael Phelps opens up about his favorite celebration

During his interaction with Dr. Bhrett McCabe, Michael Phelps was asked about his favorite world record. In response, the GOAT swimmer mentioned the 100m butterfly at 2009 World Championships in Italy. He also revealed the celebration post victory in the finals of the 100m butterfly was his favorite.

"My favorite celebration was 2009 - the 100 fly. I sat on the lane line and smacked my chest and like, was just going crazy. Smacking the water."

Phelps revealed the main factor behind his celebration was his opponent in the 100m butterfly, Milorad Cavic.

"And the reason was that the guy (Milorad Cavic) I beat. I beat the year before by 100th of a second at the Olympics. And he said that his suit was way better than mine. So I had to make a little statement and he poked the bear and something happened."

It is evident that Milorad Cavic's words had fired up Michael Phelps to celebrate his victory more fiercely. Milorad Cavic is a former professional swimmer. He won the silver medal in the 100m butterfly at the 2008 Olympics. Eventually in that event, Phelps won the gold medal.

The 2009 World Championships was a successful event for him as he won five gold medals and one silver medal. Michael Phelps won gold medals in the 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly, 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle, and 4x100m medley. His lone silver medal at the 2009 World Championships was won in the 200m freestyle event.

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Edited by Sabine Algur
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