Michael Phelps already has the most gold medals (14) in Olympic history but his overall medal count still falls short on the all-time list. The American swimmer could change that this year if he can earn two medals at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
And Phelps could have plenty of opportunities to do it. Yahoo reports that the multiple gold medalist is currently attempting to qualify in 7 individual events for the 2012 Olympic Games. Phelps is also trying to qualify in three relay events. That means that it’s possible for Phelps to walk away from London with 10 additional medals for a total of 26.
Of course, that probably won’t happen. But if Phelps can win two medals this year he’ll tie gymnast Larisa Latynina as the most decorated Olympic Athlete. Latynina, who helped the Soviet Union assert its dominance in female gymnastics during the 1960s, earned 18 medals (9 gold, 5 silver, 4 bronze). Her record has stood since 1964.
But there are plenty of hurdles in the way for Phelps. First, the swimmer will have to earn his spot on the American team. Then he’ll have to compete against swimmers that are 5 to 10 years younger than him in London. It won’t be an easy feat but it is definitely possible for Michael Phelps to make Olympic history.
Phelps’ total medal count after the 2012 Olympic Games will be the total count for his career. Phelps has already announced that he’ll be retiring after the 2012 Olympic Games.
Phelps said that he almost retired after the 2008 games but wanted to come back for one more shot at glory.
“I think the decision of throwing in the towel and stopping after 2008 was something that went through my head a lot… Through 2009 and 2010 I was like ‘what am I doing, why am I doing this?’ I still had more goals I wanted to achieve, but I didn’t know if I wanted to put myself through another four years.”
Do you think Michael Phelps will walk away from the 2012 London Olympics as the most decorated athlete in Olympic history?