“I wanted to be the greatest” – When Michael Phelps opened up about not missing a single day of training for five years

Swimming - Olympics: Day 4
Swimming - Olympics: Day 4 (Image via Getty)

Michael Phelps is lauded as the greatest swimmer of all time. Despite his retirement in 2016, Phelps continues to be the face of Olympic swimming.

He possessed an elite winning mentality which eventually made him the most decorated Olympian in history with 28 medals, including 23 golds.

Phelps showcased his urge to compete and win when he came out of his retirement in 2016. The Olympian, who was suffering from mental health problems at the time, surprised many by putting on a strong performance in Rio.

While people continue to laud him for his accolades, not many know how much the athlete worked for the same. Phelps trained for five years without a break, which explains much about the Baltimore native’s commitment.

Phelps revealed that he had set a goal of becoming the greatest of all time. It’s safe to say that he indeed became the GOAT by the time he hung up his boots. Opening up about his winning mentality and commitment to the sport, Michael Phelps told Forbes:

“I wanted to do something that nobody had ever done before and that started with a dream and a goal. I wanted to be the greatest of all time. I went five straight years without missing a single day of workout. 365 days a year, every single day I was working.”

Phelps went on to add that he also had his share of bad days. However, he pushed through them in order to move towards his dream.

He added:

“In the world of swimming, when you miss one day, it takes you two days to get back… So I was continuing to build on that throughout that time. That was just who I was… There are days you don’t want to do it; everybody has those days. But it’s what you do on those days that move you forward.”
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During the interview, Phelps also added that he hated losing more than he loved winning. The swimmer is a legend and anecdotes like these give an insight into how he became one.

Michael Phelps’ medal history

Michael Phelps made his Olympic debut at the age of 15. The young swimmer arrived at the 2000 Sydney Olympics as a novice.

He stunned the world by winning his first Olympic medal four years later in Athens by breaking the world record for the 400 meters individual medley.

The young swimmer gained popularity as he added five gold and two bronze medals to the tally in the Athens Games.

Michael Phelps went on to break almost every Olympic record in swimming before hanging up his boots in 2016. He retired as the most decorated Olympian in history.

All the Olympic medals won by Michael Phelps:

2004 Athens Olympics

  • 100 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Freestyle – Bronze
  • 200 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 400 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Freestyle – Bronze
  • 4 x 200 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Medley – Gold

2008 Beijing Olympics

  • 200 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 100 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 400 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 200 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Medley – Gold

2012 London Olympics

  • 100 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Butterfly – Silver
  • 200 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Freestyle – Silver
  • 4 x 200 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Medley – Gold

2016 Rio Olympics

  • 100 Metres Butterfly – Silver
  • 200 Metres Butterfly – Gold
  • 200 Metres Medley – Gold
  • 4 x 200 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Freestyle – Gold
  • 4 x 100 Metres Medley – Gold

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Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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