10 September 2008

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, described as the biggest scientific experiment in history, is powered up in Geneva, Switzerland.

Large Hadron Collider

Large Hadron Collider
(LHC)
LHC.svg
LHC experiments
ATLASA Toroidal LHC Apparatus
CMSCompact Muon Solenoid
LHCbLHC-beauty
ALICEA Large Ion Collider Experiment
TOTEMTotal Cross Section, Elastic Scattering and Diffraction Dissociation
LHCfLHC-forward
MoEDALMonopole and Exotics Detector At the LHC
LHC preaccelerators
p and PbLinear accelerators for protons (Linac 2) and Lead (Linac 3)
(not marked)Proton Synchrotron Booster
PSProton Synchrotron
SPSSuper Proton Synchrotron
Hadron colliders
Intersecting Storage RingsCERN, 1971–1984
Proton-Antiproton Collider (SPS)CERN, 1981–1991
ISABELLEBNL, cancelled in 1983
TevatronFermilab, 1987–2011
Superconducting Super ColliderCancelled in 1993
Relativistic Heavy Ion ColliderBNL, 2000–present
Large Hadron ColliderCERN, 2009–present
Future Circular ColliderProposed
CERN accelerator complex
Cern-accelerator-complex.svg
List of current particle
accelerators at CERN
Linac 2Accelerates protons
Linac 3Accelerates ions
Linac 4Accelerates negative hydrogen ions
ADDecelerates antiprotons
LHCCollides protons or heavy ions
LEIRAccelerates ions
PSBAccelerates protons or ions
PSAccelerates protons or ions
SPSAccelerates protons or ions

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world's largest and highest-energy particle collider and the largest machine in the world.[1][2] It was built by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) between 1998 and 2008 in collaboration with over 10,000 scientists and hundreds of universities and laboratories, as well as more than 100 countries.[3] It lies in a tunnel 27 kilometres (17 mi) in circumference and as deep as 175 metres (574 ft) beneath the France–Switzerland border near Geneva.

First collisions were achieved in 2010 at an energy of 3.5 teraelectronvolts (TeV) per beam, about four times the previous world record.[4][5] After upgrades it reached 6.5 TeV per beam (13 TeV total collision energy, the present world record).[6][7][8][9] At the end of 2018, it entered a two-year shutdown period for further upgrades.

The collider has four crossing points, around which are positioned seven detectors, each designed for certain kinds of research. The LHC primarily collides proton beams, but it can also use beams of heavy ions: Lead–lead collisions and proton-lead collisions are typically done for one month per year. The aim of the LHC's detectors is to allow physicists to test the predictions of different theories of particle physics, including measuring the properties of the Higgs boson[10] and searching for the large family of new particles predicted by supersymmetric theories,[11] as well as other unsolved questions of physics.

Background

The term hadron refers to composite particles composed of quarks held together by the strong force (as atoms and molecules are held together by the electromagnetic force).[12] The best-known hadrons are the baryons such as protons and neutrons; hadrons also include mesons such as the pion and kaon, which were discovered during cosmic ray experiments in the late 1940s and early 1950s.[13]

A collider is a type of a particle accelerator with two directed beams of particles. In particle physics, colliders are used as a research tool: they accelerate particles to very high kinetic energies and let them impact other particles.[1] Analysis of the byproducts of these collisions gives scientists good evidence of the structure of the subatomic world and the laws of nature governing it. Many of these byproducts are produced only by high-energy collisions, and they decay after very short periods of time. Thus many of them are hard or nearly impossible to study in other ways.[14]

Purpose

Many physicists hope that the Large Hadron Collider will help answer some of the fundamental open questions in physics, which concern the basic laws governing the interactions and forces among the elementary objects, the deep structure of space and time, and in particular the interrelation between quantum mechanics and general relativity.[15]

Data are also needed from high-energy particle experiments to suggest which versions of current scientific models are more likely to be correct – in particular to choose between the Standard Model and Higgsless model and to validate their predictions and allow further theoretical development.

Issues explored by LHC collisions include:[16][17]

Other open questions that may be explored using high-energy particle collisions:

Design

The collider is contained in a circular tunnel, with a circumference of 26.7 kilometres (16.6 mi), at a depth ranging from 50 to 175 metres (164 to 574 ft) underground.

Map of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN

The 3.8-metre (12 ft) wide concrete-lined tunnel, constructed between 1983 and 1988, was formerly used to house the Large Electron–Positron Collider.[29] The tunnel crosses the border between Switzerland and France at four points, with most of it in France. Surface buildings hold ancillary equipment such as compressors, ventilation equipment, control electronics and refrigeration plants.

Superconducting quadrupole electromagnets are used to direct the beams to four intersection points, where interactions between accelerated protons will take place.

The collider tunnel contains two adjacent parallel beamlines (or beam pipes) each containing a beam, which travel in opposite directions around the ring. The beams intersect at four points around the ring, which is where the particle collisions take place. Some 1,232 dipole magnets keep the beams on their circular path (see image[30]), while an additional 392 quadrupole magnets are used to keep the beams focused, with stronger quadrupole magnets close to the intersection points in order to maximize the chances of interaction where the two beams cross. Magnets of higher multipole orders are used to correct smaller imperfections in the field geometry. In total, about 10,000 superconducting magnets are installed, with the dipole magnets having a mass of over 27 tonnes.[31] Approximately 96 tonnes of superfluid helium-4 is needed to keep the magnets, made of copper-clad niobium-titanium, at their operating temperature of 1.9 K (−271.25 °C), making the LHC the largest cryogenic facility in the world at liquid helium temperature. LHC uses 470 tonnes of Nb-Ti superconductor.[32]

During LHC operations, the CERN site draws roughly 200 MW of electrical power from the French electrical grid, which, for comparison, is about one-third the energy consumption of the city of Geneva; the LHC accelerator and detectors draw about 120 MW thereof.[33]

When running at the current energy record of 6.5 TeV per proton,[34] once or twice a day, as the protons are accelerated from 450 GeV to 6.5 TeV, the field of the superconducting dipole magnets is increased from 0.54 to 7.7 teslas (T). The protons each have an energy of 6.5 TeV, giving a total collision energy of 13 TeV. At this energy the protons have a Lorentz factor of about 6,930 and move at about 0.999999990 c, or about 3.1 m/s (11 km/h) slower than the speed of light (c). It takes less than 90 microseconds (μs) for a proton to travel 26.7 km around the main ring. This results in 11,245 revolutions per second for protons whether the particles are at low or high energy in the main ring, since the speed difference between these energies is beyond the fifth decimal.[35]

Rather than having continuous beams, the protons are bunched together, into up to 2,808 bunches, with 115 billion protons in each bunch so that interactions between the two beams take place at discrete intervals, mainly 25 nanoseconds (ns) apart, providing a bunch collision rate of 40 MHz. It was operated with fewer bunches in the first years. The design luminosity of the LHC is 1034 cm−2s−1,[36] which was first reached in June 2016.[37] By 2017 twice this value was achieved.[38]

The LHC protons originate from the small red hydrogen tank.

Before being injected into the main accelerator, the particles are prepared by a series of systems that successively increase their energy. The first system is the linear particle accelerator LINAC 2 generating 50-MeV protons, which feeds the Proton Synchrotron Booster (PSB). There the protons are accelerated to 1.4 GeV and injected into the Proton Synchrotron (PS), where they are accelerated to 26 GeV. Finally the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) is used to increase their energy further to 450 GeV before they are at last injected (over a period of several minutes) into the main ring. Here the proton bunches are accumulated, accelerated (over a period of 20 minutes) to their peak energy, and finally circulated for 5 to 24 hours while collisions occur at the four intersection points.[39]

The LHC physics programme is mainly based on proton–proton collisions. However, shorter running periods, typically one month per year, with heavy-ion collisions are included in the programme. While lighter ions are considered as well, the baseline scheme deals with lead ions[40] (see A Large Ion Collider Experiment). The lead ions are first accelerated by the linear accelerator LINAC 3, and the Low Energy Ion Ring (LEIR) is used as an ion storage and cooler unit. The ions are then further accelerated by the PS and SPS before being injected into LHC ring, where they reached an energy of 2.3 TeV per nucleon (or 522 TeV per ion),[41] higher than the energies reached by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. The aim of the heavy-ion programme is to investigate quark–gluon plasma, which existed in the early universe.[42]

Detectors

Seven detectors have been constructed at the LHC, located underground in large caverns excavated at the LHC's intersection points. Two of them, the ATLAS experiment and the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), are large general-purpose particle detectors.[2] ALICE and LHCb have more specific roles and the last three, TOTEM, MoEDAL and LHCf, are very much smaller and are for very specialized research. The ATLAS and CMS experiments discovered the Higgs boson, which is strong evidence that the Standard Model has the correct mechanism of giving mass to elementary particles.[43]

CMS detector for LHC

The BBC's summary of the main detectors is:[44]

Detector Description
ATLAS One of two general-purpose detectors. ATLAS studies the Higgs boson and looks for signs of new physics, including the origins of mass and extra dimensions.
CMS The other general-purpose detector, like ATLAS, studies the Higgs boson and look for clues of new physics.
ALICE ALICE is studying a "fluid" form of matter called quark–gluon plasma that existed shortly after the Big Bang.
LHCb Equal amounts of matter and antimatter were created in the Big Bang. LHCb investigates what happened to the "missing" antimatter.

Computing and analysis facilities

Data produced by LHC, as well as LHC-related simulation, were estimated at approximately 15 petabytes per year (max throughput while running not stated)[45]—a major challenge in its own right at the time.

The LHC Computing Grid[46] was constructed as part of the LHC design, to handle the massive amounts of data expected for its collisions. It is an international collaborative project that consists of a grid-based computer network infrastructure initially connecting 140 computing centres in 35 countries (over 170 in 36 countries as of 2012). It was designed by CERN to handle the significant volume of data produced by LHC experiments,[47][48][48] incorporating both private fibre optic cable links and existing high-speed portions of the public Internet to enable data transfer from CERN to academic institutions around the world.[49] The Open Science Grid is used as the primary infrastructure in the United States, and also as part of an interoperable federation with the LHC Computing Grid.

The distributed computing project LHC@home was started to support the construction and calibration of the LHC. The project uses the BOINC platform, enabling anybody with an Internet connection and a computer running Mac OS X, Windows or Linux, to use their computer's idle time to simulate how particles will travel in the beam pipes. With this information, the scientists are able to determine how the magnets should be calibrated to gain the most stable "orbit" of the beams in the ring.[50] In August 2011, a second application went live (Test4Theory) which performs simulations against which to compare actual test data, to determine confidence levels of the results.

By 2012 data from over 6 quadrillion (6 x 1015) LHC proton-proton collisions had been analysed,[51] LHC collision data was being produced at approximately 25 petabytes per year, and the LHC Computing Grid had become the world's largest computing grid in 2012, comprising over 170 computing facilities in a worldwide network across 36 countries.[52][53][54]

Operational history

The LHC first went live on 10 September 2008,[55] but initial testing was delayed for 14 months from 19 September 2008 to 20 November 2009, following a magnet quench incident that caused extensive damage to over 50 superconducting magnets, their mountings, and the vacuum pipe.[56][57][58][59][60]

During its first run (2010–2013) the LHC collided two opposing particle beams of either protons at up to 4 teraelectronvolts (4 TeV or 0.64 microjoules), or lead nuclei (574 TeV per nucleus, or 2.76 TeV per nucleon).[61][62] Its first run discoveries included the long-sought Higgs boson, several composite particles (hadrons) like the χb (3P) bottomonium state, the first creation of a quark–gluon plasma, and the first observations of the very rare decay of the Bs meson into two muons (Bs0 → μ+μ), which challenged the validity of existing models of supersymmetry.[63]

Construction

Operational challenges

The size of the LHC constitutes an exceptional engineering challenge with unique operational issues on account of the amount of energy stored in the magnets and the beams.[39][64] While operating, the total energy stored in the magnets is 10 GJ (2,400 kilograms of TNT) and the total energy carried by the two beams reaches 724 MJ (173 kilograms of TNT).[65]

Loss of only one ten-millionth part (10−7) of the beam is sufficient to quench a superconducting magnet, while each of the two beam dumps must absorb 362 MJ (87 kilograms of TNT). These energies are carried by very little matter: under nominal operating conditions (2,808 bunches per beam, 1.15×1011 protons per bunch), the beam pipes contain 1.0×10−9 gram of hydrogen, which, in standard conditions for temperature and pressure, would fill the volume of one grain of fine sand.

Cost

With a budget of €7.5 billion (approx. $9bn or £6.19bn as of June 2010), the LHC is one of the most expensive scientific instruments[1] ever built.[66] The total cost of the project is expected to be of the order of 4.6bn Swiss francs (SFr) (approx. $4.4bn, €3.1bn, or £2.8bn as of January 2010) for the accelerator and 1.16bn (SFr) (approx. $1.1bn, €0.8bn, or £0.7bn as of January 2010) for the CERN contribution to the experiments.[67]

The construction of LHC was approved in 1995 with a budget of SFr 2.6bn, with another SFr 210M toward the experiments. However, cost overruns, estimated in a major review in 2001 at around SFr 480M for the accelerator, and SFr 50M for the experiments, along with a reduction in CERN's budget, pushed the completion date from 2005 to April 2007.[68] The superconducting magnets were responsible for SFr 180M of the cost increase. There were also further costs and delays owing to engineering difficulties encountered while building the cavern for the Compact Muon Solenoid,[69] and also due to magnet supports which were insufficiently strongly designed and failed their initial testing (2007) and damage from a magnet quench and liquid helium escape (inaugural testing, 2008) (see: Construction accidents and delays).[70] Because electricity costs are lower during the summer, the LHC normally does not operate over the winter months,[71] although exceptions over the 2009/10 and 2012/2013 winters were made to make up for the 2008 start-up delays and to improve precision of measurements of the new particle discovered in 2012, respectively.

Construction accidents and delays

  • On 25 October 2005, José Pereira Lages, a technician, was killed in the LHC when a switchgear that was being transported fell on top of him.[72]
  • On 27 March 2007 a cryogenic magnet support designed and provided by Fermilab and KEK broke during an initial pressure test involving one of the LHC's inner triplet (focusing quadrupole) magnet assemblies. No one was injured. Fermilab director Pier Oddone stated "In this case we are dumbfounded that we missed some very simple balance of forces". The fault had been present in the original design, and remained during four engineering reviews over the following years.[73] Analysis revealed that its design, made as thin as possible for better insulation, was not strong enough to withstand the forces generated during pressure testing. Details are available in a statement from Fermilab, with which CERN is in agreement.[74][75] Repairing the broken magnet and reinforcing the eight identical assemblies used by LHC delayed the start-up date, then planned for November 2007.
  • On 19 September 2008, during initial testing, a faulty electrical connection led to a magnet quench (the sudden loss of a superconducting magnet's superconducting ability owing to warming or electric field effects). Six tonnes of supercooled liquid helium—used to cool the magnets—escaped, with sufficient force to break 10-ton magnets nearby from their mountings, and caused considerable damage and contamination of the vacuum tube (see 2008 quench incident); repairs and safety checks caused a delay of around 14 months.[76][77][78]
  • Two vacuum leaks were found in July 2009, and the start of operations was further postponed to mid-November 2009.[79]

Initial lower magnet currents

In both of its runs (2010 to 2012 and 2015), the LHC was initially run at energies below its planned operating energy, and ramped up to just 2 x 4 TeV energy on its first run and 2 x 6.5 TeV on its second run, below the design energy of 2 x 7 TeV. This is because massive superconducting magnets require considerable magnet training to handle the high currents involved without losing their superconducting ability, and the high currents are necessary to allow a high proton energy. The "training" process involves repeatedly running the magnets with lower currents to provoke any quenches or minute movements that may result. It also takes time to cool down magnets to their operating temperature of around 1.9 K (close to absolute zero). Over time the magnet "beds in" and ceases to quench at these lesser currents and can handle the full design current without quenching; CERN media describe the magnets as "shaking out" the unavoidable tiny manufacturing imperfections in their crystals and positions that had initially impaired their ability to handle their planned currents. The magnets, over time and with training, gradually become able to handle their full planned currents without quenching.[80][81]

Inaugural tests (2008)

The first beam was circulated through the collider on the morning of 10 September 2008.[44] CERN successfully fired the protons around the tunnel in stages, three kilometres at a time. The particles were fired in a clockwise direction into the accelerator and successfully steered around it at 10:28 local time.[55] The LHC successfully completed its major test: after a series of trial runs, two white dots flashed on a computer screen showing the protons travelled the full length of the collider. It took less than one hour to guide the stream of particles around its inaugural circuit.[82] CERN next successfully sent a beam of protons in an anticlockwise direction, taking slightly longer at one and a half hours owing to a problem with the cryogenics, with the full circuit being completed at 14:59.

Quench incident

On 19 September 2008, a magnet quench occurred in about 100 bending magnets in sectors 3 and 4, where an electrical fault led to a loss of approximately six tonnes of liquid helium (the magnets' cryogenic coolant), which was vented into the tunnel. The escaping vapour expanded with explosive force, damaging a total of 53 superconducting magnets and their mountings, and contaminating the vacuum pipe, which also lost vacuum conditions.[56][57][83]

Shortly after the incident CERN reported that the most likely cause of the problem was a faulty electrical connection between two magnets, and that – owing to the time needed to warm up the affected sectors and then cool them back down to operating temperature – it would take at least two months to fix.[84] CERN released an interim technical report[83] and preliminary analysis of the incident on 15 and 16 October 2008 respectively,[85] and a more detailed report on 5 December 2008.[77] The analysis of the incident by CERN confirmed that an electrical fault had indeed been the cause. The faulty electrical connection had led (correctly) to a failsafe power abort of the electrical systems powering the superconducting magnets, but had also caused an electric arc (or discharge) which damaged the integrity of the supercooled helium's enclosure and vacuum insulation, causing the coolant's temperature and pressure to rapidly rise beyond the ability of the safety systems to contain it,[83] and leading to a temperature rise of about 100 degrees Celsius in some of the affected magnets. Energy stored in the superconducting magnets and electrical noise induced in other quench detectors also played a role in the rapid heating. Around two tonnes of liquid helium escaped explosively before detectors triggered an emergency stop, and a further four tonnes leaked at lower pressure in the aftermath.[83] A total of 53 magnets were damaged in the incident and were repaired or replaced during the winter shutdown.[86] This accident was thoroughly discussed in a 22 February 2010 Superconductor Science and Technology article by CERN physicist Lucio Rossi.[87]

In the original timeline of the LHC commissioning, the first "modest" high-energy collisions at a centre-of-mass energy of 900 GeV were expected to take place before the end of September 2008, and the LHC was expected to be operating at 10 TeV by the end of 2008.[88] However, owing to the delay caused by the above-mentioned incident, the collider was not operational until November 2009.[89] Despite the delay, LHC was officially inaugurated on 21 October 2008, in the presence of political leaders, science ministers from CERN's 20 Member States, CERN officials, and members of the worldwide scientific community.[90]

Most of 2009 was spent on repairs and reviews from the damage caused by the quench incident, along with two further vacuum leaks identified in July 2009 which pushed the start of operations to November of that year.[79]

Run 1: first operational run (2009–2013)

Seminar on the physics of LHC by John Iliopoulos (2009).[91]

On 20 November 2009, low-energy beams circulated in the tunnel for the first time since the incident, and shortly after, on 30 November, the LHC achieved 1.18 TeV per beam to become the world's highest-energy particle accelerator, beating the Tevatron's previous record of 0.98 TeV per beam held for eight years.[92]

The early part of 2010 saw the continued ramp-up of beam in energies and early physics experiments towards 3.5 TeV per beam and on 30 March 2010, LHC set a new record for high-energy collisions by colliding proton beams at a combined energy level of 7 TeV. The attempt was the third that day, after two unsuccessful attempts in which the protons had to be "dumped" from the collider and new beams had to be injected.[93] This also marked the start of the main research programme.

The first proton run ended on 4 November 2010. A run with lead ions started on 8 November 2010, and ended on 6 December 2010,[94] allowing the ALICE experiment to study matter under extreme conditions similar to those shortly after the Big Bang.[95]

CERN originally planned that the LHC would run through to the end of 2012, with a short break at the end of 2011 to allow for an increase in beam energy from 3.5 to 4 TeV per beam.[5] At the end of 2012 the LHC was planned to get shut down until around 2015 to allow upgrade to a planned beam energy of 7 TeV per beam.[96] In late 2012, in light of the July 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson, the shutdown was postponed for some weeks into early 2013, to allow additional data to be obtained before shutdown.

Long Shutdown 1 (2013–2015)

A section of the LHC

The LHC was shut down on 13 February 2013 for its 2-year upgrade called Long Shutdown 1 (LS1), which was to touch on many aspects of the LHC: enabling collisions at 14 TeV, enhancing its detectors and pre-accelerators (the Proton Synchrotron and Super Proton Synchrotron), as well as replacing its ventilation system and 100 km (62 mi) of cabling impaired by high-energy collisions from its first run.[97] The upgraded collider began its long start-up and testing process in June 2014, with the Proton Synchrotron Booster starting on 2 June 2014, the final interconnection between magnets completing and the Proton Synchrotron circulating particles on 18 June 2014, and the first section of the main LHC supermagnet system reaching operating temperature of 1.9 K (−271.25 °C), a few days later.[98] Due to the slow progress with "training" the superconducting magnets, it was decided to start the second run with a lower energy of 6.5 TeV per beam, corresponding to a current of 11,000 amperes. The first of the main LHC magnets were reported to have been successfully trained by 9 December 2014, while training the other magnet sectors was finished in March 2015.[99]

Run 2: second operational run (2015–2018)

On 5 April 2015, the LHC restarted after a two-year break, during which the electrical connectors between the bending magnets were upgraded to safely handle the current required for 7 TeV per beam (14 TeV).[6][100] However, the bending magnets were only trained to handle up to 6.5 TeV per beam (13 TeV total), which became the operating energy for 2015 to 2017.[80] The energy was first reached on 10 April 2015.[101] The upgrades culminated in colliding protons together with a combined energy of 13 TeV.[102] On 3 June 2015 the LHC started delivering physics data after almost two years offline.[103] In the following months it was used for proton-proton collisions, while in November the machine switched to collisions of lead ions and in December the usual winter shutdown started.

In 2016, the machine operators focused on increasing the luminosity for proton-proton collisions. The design value was first reached 29 June,[37] and further improvements increased the collision rate to 40% above the design value.[104] The total number of collisions in 2016 exceeded the number from Run 1 - at a higher energy per collision. The proton-proton run was followed by four weeks of proton-lead collisions.[105]

In 2017 the luminosity was increased further and reached twice the design value. The total number of collisions was higher than in 2016 as well.[38]

The 2018 physics run began on 17 April and stopped on 3 December, including four weeks of lead–lead collisions.[106]

Long Shutdown 2 (2018-2021) and beyond

Long Shutdown 2 (LS2) started 10 December 2018. The LHC and the whole CERN accelerator complex is being maintained and upgraded. The goal of the upgrades is to implement the High Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) project, that will increase the luminosity by a factor of 10. LS2 is projected to end in 2021, followed by Run 3.[107] The HL-LHC should be operational by 2026. The Long Shutdown (LS3) in 2020s will take place before HL-LHC project is done.

Timeline of operations

Date Event
10 Sep 2008 CERN successfully fired the first protons around the entire tunnel circuit in stages.
19 Sep 2008 Magnetic quench occurred in about 100 bending magnets in sectors 3 and 4, causing a loss of approximately 6 tonnes of liquid helium.
30 Sep 2008 First "modest" high-energy collisions planned but postponed due to accident.[31]
16 Oct 2008 CERN released a preliminary analysis of the accident.
21 Oct 2008 Official inauguration.
5 Dec 2008 CERN released detailed analysis.
20 Nov 2009 Low-energy beams circulated in the tunnel for the first time since the accident.[59]
23 Nov 2009 First particle collisions in all four detectors at 450 GeV.
30 Nov 2009 LHC becomes the world's highest-energy particle accelerator achieving 1.18 TeV per beam, beating the Tevatron's previous record of 0.98 TeV per beam held for eight years.[92]
15 Dec 2009 First scientific results, covering 284 collisions in the ALICE detector.[108]
30 Mar 2010 The two beams collided at 7 TeV (3.5 TeV per beam) in the LHC at 13:06 CEST, marking the start of the LHC research programme.
8 Nov 2010 Start of the first run with lead ions.
6 Dec 2010 End of the run with lead ions. Shutdown until early 2011.
13 Mar 2011 Beginning of the 2011 run with proton beams.[109]
21 Apr 2011 LHC becomes the world's highest-luminosity hadron accelerator achieving a peak luminosity of 4.67·1032 cm−2s−1, beating the Tevatron's previous record of 4·1032 cm−2s−1 held for one year.[110]
24 May 2011 ALICE reports that a Quark–gluon plasma has been achieved with earlier lead collisions.[111]
17 Jun 2011 The high-luminosity experiments ATLAS and CMS reach 1 fb−1 of collected data.[112]
14 Oct 2011 LHCb reaches 1 fb−1 of collected data.[113]
23 Oct 2011 The high-luminosity experiments ATLAS and CMS reach 5 fb−1 of collected data.
Nov 2011 Second run with lead ions.
22 Dec 2011 First new composite particle discovery, the χb (3P) bottomonium meson, observed with proton-proton collisions in 2011.[114]
5 Apr 2012 First collisions with stable beams in 2012 after the winter shutdown. The energy is increased to 4 TeV per beam (8 TeV in collisions).[115]
4 Jul 2012 First new elementary particle discovery, a new boson observed that is "consistent with" the theorized Higgs boson. (This has now been confirmed as the Higgs boson itself.[116])
8 Nov 2012 First observation of the very rare decay of the Bs meson into two muons (Bs0 → μ+μ), a major test of supersymmetry theories,[117] shows results at 3.5 sigma that match the Standard Model rather than many of its super-symmetrical variants.
20 Jan 2013 Start of the first run colliding protons with lead ions.
11 Feb 2013 End of the first run colliding protons with lead ions.
14 Feb 2013 Beginning of the first long shutdown to prepare the collider for a higher energy and luminosity.[118]
7 Mar 2015 Injection tests for Run 2 send protons towards LHCb & ALICE
5 Apr 2015 Both beams circulated in the collider.[6] Four days later, a new record energy of 6.5 TeV per proton was achieved.[119]
20 May 2015 Protons collided in the LHC at the record-breaking collision energy of 13 TeV.[102]
3 Jun 2015 Start of delivering the physics data after almost two years offline for recommissioning.[103]
4 Nov 2015 End of proton collisions in 2015, start of preparations for ion collisions.
25 Nov 2015 First ion collisions at a record-breaking energy of more than 1 PeV (1015 eV)[120]
13 Dec 2015 End of ion collisions in 2015
23 Apr 2016 Data-taking in 2016 begins
29 June 2016 The LHC achieves a luminosity of 1.0 · 1034 cm−2s−1, its design value.[37] Further improvements over the year increased the luminosity to 40% above the design value.[104]
26 Oct 2016 End of 2016 proton-proton collisions
10 Nov 2016 Beginning of 2016 proton-lead collisions
3 Dec 2016 End of 2016 proton-lead collisions
24 May 2017 Start of 2017 proton-proton collisions. During 2017, the luminosity increased to twice its design value.[38]
10 Nov 2017 End of regular 2017 proton-proton collision mode.[38]
17 Apr 2018 Start of 2018 proton-proton collisions.
12 Nov 2018 End of 2018 proton operations at CERN.[121]
3 Dec 2018 End of 2018 lead-ion run.[121]
10 Dec 2018 End of 2018 physics operation and start of Long Shutdown 2.[121]

Findings and discoveries

An initial focus of research was to investigate the possible existence of the Higgs boson, a key part of the Standard Model of physics which is predicted by theory but had not yet been observed before due to its high mass and elusive nature. CERN scientists estimated that, if the Standard Model were correct, the LHC would produce several Higgs bosons every minute, allowing physicists to finally confirm or disprove the Higgs boson's existence. In addition, the LHC allowed the search for supersymmetric particles and other hypothetical particles as possible unknown areas of physics.[61] Some extensions of the Standard Model predict additional particles, such as the heavy W' and Z' gauge bosons, which are also estimated to be within reach of the LHC to discover.[122]

First run (data taken 2009–2013)

The first physics results from the LHC, involving 284 collisions which took place in the ALICE detector, were reported on 15 December 2009.[108] The results of the first proton–proton collisions at energies higher than Fermilab's Tevatron proton–antiproton collisions were published by the CMS collaboration in early February 2010, yielding greater-than-predicted charged-hadron production.[123]

After the first year of data collection, the LHC experimental collaborations started to release their preliminary results concerning searches for new physics beyond the Standard Model in proton-proton collisions.[124][125][126][127] No evidence of new particles was detected in the 2010 data. As a result, bounds were set on the allowed parameter space of various extensions of the Standard Model, such as models with large extra dimensions, constrained versions of the Minimal Supersymmetric Standard Model, and others.[128][129][130]

On 24 May 2011, it was reported that quark–gluon plasma (the densest matter thought to exist besides black holes) had been created in the LHC.[111]

A Feynman diagram of one way the Higgs boson may be produced at the LHC. Here, two quarks each emit a W or Z boson, which combine to make a neutral Higgs.

Between July and August 2011, results of searches for the Higgs boson and for exotic particles, based on the data collected during the first half of the 2011 run, were presented in conferences in Grenoble[131] and Mumbai.[132] In the latter conference it was reported that, despite hints of a Higgs signal in earlier data, ATLAS and CMS exclude with 95% confidence level (using the CLs method) the existence of a Higgs boson with the properties predicted by the Standard Model over most of the mass region between 145 and 466 GeV.[133] The searches for new particles did not yield signals either, allowing to further constrain the parameter space of various extensions of the Standard Model, including its supersymmetric extensions.[134][135]

On 13 December 2011, CERN reported that the Standard Model Higgs boson, if it exists, is most likely to have a mass constrained to the range 115–130 GeV. Both the CMS and ATLAS detectors have also shown intensity peaks in the 124–125 GeV range, consistent with either background noise or the observation of the Higgs boson.[136]

On 22 December 2011, it was reported that a new composite particle had been observed, the χb (3P) bottomonium state.[114]

On 4 July 2012, both the CMS and ATLAS teams announced the discovery of a boson in the mass region around 125–126 GeV, with a statistical significance at the level of 5 sigma each. This meets the formal level required to announce a new particle. The observed properties were consistent with the Higgs boson, but scientists were cautious as to whether it is formally identified as actually being the Higgs boson, pending further analysis.[137]

On 8 November 2012, the LHCb team reported on an experiment seen as a "golden" test of supersymmetry theories in physics,[117] by measuring the very rare decay of the meson into two muons (). The results, which match those predicted by the non-supersymmetrical Standard Model rather than the predictions of many branches of supersymmetry, show the decays are less common than some forms of supersymmetry predict, though could still match the predictions of other versions of supersymmetry theory. The results as initially drafted are stated to be short of proof but at a relatively high 3.5 sigma level of significance.[138] The result was later confirmed by the CMS collaboration.[139]

In August 2013 the LHCb team revealed an anomaly in the angular distribution of B meson decay products which could not be predicted by the Standard Model; this anomaly had a statistical certainty of 4.5 sigma, just short of the 5 sigma needed to be officially recognized as a discovery. It is unknown what the cause of this anomaly would be, although the Z' boson has been suggested as a possible candidate.[140]

On 19 November 2014, the LHCb experiment announced the discovery of two new heavy subatomic particles,
Ξ′
b
and
Ξ∗−
b
. Both of them are baryons that are composed of one bottom, one down, and one strange quark. They are excited states of the bottom Xi baryon.[141][142]

The LHCb collaboration has observed multiple exotic hadrons, possibly pentaquarks or tetraquarks, in the Run 1 data. On 4 April 2014, the collaboration confirmed the existence of the tetraquark candidate Z(4430) with a significance of over 13.9 sigma.[143][144] On 13 July 2015, results consistent with pentaquark states in the decay of bottom Lambda baryons0
b
) were reported.[145][146][147]

On 28 June 2016, the collaboration announced four tetraquark-like particles decaying into a J/ψ and a φ meson, only one of which was well established before (X(4274), X(4500) and X(4700) and X(4140)).[148][149]

In December 2016, ATLAS presented a measurement of the W boson mass, researching the precision of analyses done at the Tevatron.[150]

Second run (2015-2018)

At the conference EPS-HEP 2015 in July, the collaborations presented first cross-section measurements of several particles at the higher collision energy.

On 15 December 2015, the ATLAS and CMS experiments both reported a number of preliminary results for Higgs physics, supersymmetry (SUSY) searches and exotics searches using 13 TeV proton collision data. Both experiments saw a moderate excess around 750 GeV in the two-photon invariant mass spectrum,[151][152][153] but the experiments did not confirm the existence of the hypothetical particle in an August 2016 report.[154][155][156]

In July 2017, many analyses based on the large dataset collected in 2016 were shown. The properties of the Higgs boson were studied in more detail and the precision of many other results was improved.[157]

Planned "high-luminosity" upgrade

After some years of running, any particle physics experiment typically begins to suffer from diminishing returns: as the key results reachable by the device begin to be completed, later years of operation discover proportionately less than earlier years. A common response is to upgrade the devices involved, typically in collision energy, luminosity, or improved detectors. In addition to a possible increase to 14 TeV collision energy in 2018, a luminosity upgrade of the LHC, called the High Luminosity LHC, started in June 2018 that will boost the accelerator's potential for new discoveries in physics, starting in 2026.[158] The upgrade aims at increasing the luminosity of the machine by a factor of 10, up to 1035 cm−2s−1, providing a better chance to see rare processes and improving statistically marginal measurements.

Safety of particle collisions

The experiments at the Large Hadron Collider sparked fears that the particle collisions might produce doomsday phenomena, involving the production of stable microscopic black holes or the creation of hypothetical particles called strangelets.[159] Two CERN-commissioned safety reviews examined these concerns and concluded that the experiments at the LHC present no danger and that there is no reason for concern,[160][161][162] a conclusion endorsed by the American Physical Society.[163]

The reports also noted that the physical conditions and collision events that exist in the LHC and similar experiments occur naturally and routinely in the universe without hazardous consequences,[161] including ultra-high-energy cosmic rays observed to impact Earth with energies far higher than those in any man-made collider.

Popular culture

The Large Hadron Collider gained a considerable amount of attention from outside the scientific community and its progress is followed by most popular science media. The LHC has also inspired works of fiction including novels, TV series, video games and films.

CERN employee Katherine McAlpine's "Large Hadron Rap"[164] surpassed 7 million YouTube views.[165][166] The band Les Horribles Cernettes was founded by women from CERN. The name was chosen so to have the same initials as the LHC.[167][168]

National Geographic Channel's World's Toughest Fixes, Season 2 (2010), Episode 6 "Atom Smasher" features the replacement of the last superconducting magnet section in the repair of the collider after the 2008 quench incident. The episode includes actual footage from the repair facility to the inside of the collider, and explanations of the function, engineering, and purpose of the LHC.[169]

The Large Hadron Collider was the focus of the 2012 student film Decay, with the movie being filmed on location in CERN's maintenance tunnels.[170]

The feature documentary Particle Fever follows the experimental physicists at CERN who run the experiments, as well as the theoretical physicists who attempt to provide a conceptual framework for the LHC's results. It won the Sheffield International Doc/Fest in 2013.

Fiction

The novel Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown, involves antimatter created at the LHC to be used in a weapon against the Vatican. In response, CERN published a "Fact or Fiction?" page discussing the accuracy of the book's portrayal of the LHC, CERN, and particle physics in general.[171] The movie version of the book has footage filmed on-site at one of the experiments at the LHC; the director, Ron Howard, met with CERN experts in an effort to make the science in the story more accurate.[172]

In the visual novel/manga/anime-series "Steins;Gate", SERN (a deliberate misspelling of CERN) is an organization that uses the miniature black holes created from experiments in the LHC to master time travel and take over the world. It is also involved in mass vigilance through the "ECHELON" project and has connection with many mercenary groups worldwide, to avoid the creation of other time machines.

The novel FlashForward, by Robert J. Sawyer, involves the search for the Higgs boson at the LHC. CERN published a "Science and Fiction" page interviewing Sawyer and physicists about the book and the TV series based on it.[173]

See also

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Coordinates: 46°14′N 06°03′E / 46.233°N 6.050°E / 46.233; 6.050

17 August 2008

American swimmer Michael Phelps becomes the first person to win eight gold medals at one Olympic Games.

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps Rio Olympics 2016.jpg
Phelps at the 2016 Summer Olympics
Personal information
Full nameMichael Fred Phelps II
Nickname(s)"The Baltimore Bullet"[1]
"Flying Fish"[2]
National team United States
Born (1985-06-30) June 30, 1985 (age 34)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[3]
Weight194 lb (88 kg)[4]
Sport
SportSwimming
StrokesButterfly, individual medley, freestyle, backstroke
ClubNorth Baltimore Aquatic Club
CoachBob Bowman

Michael Fred Phelps II[5] (born June 30, 1985)[6] is an American retired competitive swimmer and the most successful and most decorated Olympian of all time,[7] with a total of 28 medals. Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23),[8] Olympic gold medals in individual events (13), and Olympic medals in individual events (16).[9] When he won eight gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Games, Phelps broke fellow American swimmer Mark Spitz's 1972 record of seven first-place finishes at any single Olympic Games. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Phelps had already tied the record of eight medals of any color at a single Games by winning six gold and two bronze medals. At the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps won four gold and two silver medals, and at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he won five gold medals and one silver. This made him the most successful athlete of the Games for the fourth Olympics in a row.[10][11]

Phelps is the long course world record holder in the men's 400-meter individual medley as well as the former long course world record holder in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, and 200-meter individual medley. He has won 82 medals in major international long course competitions, of which 65 were gold, 14 silver, and 3 bronze, spanning the Olympics, the World Championships, and the Pan Pacific Championships. Phelps's international titles and record-breaking performances have earned him the World Swimmer of the Year Award eight times and American Swimmer of the Year Award eleven times, as well as the FINA Swimmer of the Year Award in 2012 and 2016. Phelps earned Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award due to his unprecedented Olympic success in the 2008 Games.

After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Phelps started the Michael Phelps Foundation, which focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles. Phelps retired following the 2012 Olympics, but he made a comeback in April 2014.[12] At the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro,[13] his fifth Olympics, he was selected by his team to be the flag bearer of the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics Parade of Nations. He announced his second retirement on August 12, 2016,[14] having won more medals than 161 countries. He is often considered the greatest swimmer of all time.

Early life

Phelps was born in Baltimore, Maryland,[6] and raised in the Rodgers Forge neighborhood of nearby Towson.[15] He attended Rodgers Forge Elementary, Dumbarton Middle School, and Towson High School.[16] Phelps is the youngest of three children. His mother, Deborah Sue "Debbie" Phelps (née Davisson), is a middle school principal.[17] His father, Michael Fred Phelps, is a retired Maryland State Trooper who played football in high school and college and tried out for the Washington Redskins in the 1970s.[17][18] Phelps is of English, German, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh descent.[19] His parents divorced in 1994, when he was nine years old, and his father remarried in 2000.[18] Phelps later revealed that the divorce had a severe negative impact on him and his siblings, and his relationship with his father was distant for a few years after the divorce.[20] He graduated from Towson High School in 2003.[21]

Phelps began swimming at the age of seven, partly because of the influence of his sisters and partly to provide him with an outlet for his energy.[22] After retirement in 2016, he stated "The only reason I ever got in the water was my mom wanted me to just learn how to swim. My sisters and myself fell in love with the sport, and we decided to swim."[23] When Phelps was in the sixth grade, he was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).[24][25] By the age of 10, he held a national record for his age group (in the 100-meter butterfly)[26] and began to train at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club under coach Bob Bowman. More age group records followed, and as of August 21, 2018, Phelps still held 11 age group records, eight in long course,[27] and three in short course[28]

Career

2000 Summer Olympics

Phelps' rapid improvement culminated when he qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics at the age of 15, as he became the youngest male (since Ralph Flanagan in 1932) to make a U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years.[29] While he did not win a medal, he did make the finals and finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly.[30]

2001 World championships

2001 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:54.58 (WR)

At the World Championship Trials for the 2001 World Aquatics Championships, on March 30, Phelps broke the world record in the 200-meter butterfly to become, at 15 years and 9 months, the youngest male ever to set a world record in swimming. Previously the youngest male had been Ian Thorpe, who captured the 400-meter freestyle world record at 16 years, 10 months.[31] At the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, Phelps broke his own world record in the 200-meter butterfly while en route to become a world champion for the first time.[32]

2002 Pan Pacific championships

Phelps in 2002
2002 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:59.70
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:12.48
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:33.48 (WR)
Silver medal – second place 200 m butterfly 1.55.41
Silver medal – second place 4×200 m freestyle 7:11.81

At Nationals, the selection meet for the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Phelps set an American record in the 200-meter individual medley and was just off the world record in the 200-meter butterfly.[33] In the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps bettered the world record held by Tom Dolan with a time of 4:11.09, just ahead of Erik Vendt, who finished second with a time of 4:11.27, also below the old world record. In the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps was barely beaten by Klete Keller and in the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps beat Ian Crocker.[34]

At the 2002 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Yokohama, Japan, Phelps won three gold medals and two silvers. In his first event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps won gold ahead of Erik Vendt with a time of 4:12.48. In the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps lost to Tom Malchow, finishing behind him 1:55.41 to 1:55.21. Phelps said he lost because he did not take butterfly training seriously after he broke the world record. In the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps won with a time of 1:59.70. In the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, along with Nate Dusing, Klete Keller, and Chad Carvin, won the silver medal with a time 7:11.81 finishing behind Australia. The U.S. 4×100-meter medley relay team consisted of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Phelps, and Ian Crocker. In the final for the medley relay, Phelps swam a 51.1 split, at the time the fastest split in history. The final time of 3:33.48 was a world record.[35]

2003 World championships

2003 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:54.35
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:56.01 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:09.09 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:31.54 (WR) (Phelps swam in heats only)
Silver medal – second place 100 m butterfly 51.10
Silver medal – second place 4×200 m freestyle 7:10.26

At Nationals, Phelps won the 200-meter freestyle, 200-meter backstroke, and the 100-meter butterfly.[36] He became the first American swimmer to win three different races in three different strokes at a national championship.[36] At the 2003 Duel in the Pool, a meet that pits swimming stars from Australia and the United States, Phelps broke the world record in the 400-meter individual medley with a time of 4:10.73 and almost broke the world record in the 100-meter butterfly, just missing the record by 0.03 seconds.[37] At a meet in Santa Clara County, California, Phelps broke the world record in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:57.94.[38] Phelps said he broke the 200-meter individual medley world record after Don Talbot said Phelps was unproven, using his words as motivation.[39]

At the 2003 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won four gold medals, two silver medals, and broke five world records.[40] Phelps broke his first world record on July 22 in the semi-finals for the 200-meter butterfly. Phelps swam a 1:53.93 to break his own world record of 1:54.58 set in 2001 and became the first man to swim under 1:54.00.[41] In the final of the 200-meter butterfly, on July 23, Phelps easily won the gold medal, but did not come close to his world record with a time of 1:54.35.[42] Less than an hour later, Phelps swam the lead-off leg for the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Phelps put up a solid time of 1:46.60 (an American record) but the Americans could not match the depth of the Australians and ultimately finished second 7:10.26 to 7:08.58.[43] In the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps dominated. On July 24, in the semi-finals of the 200-meter individual medley, he broke his own world record with a time of 1:57.52.[44] On July 25, in the final of the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps smashed his own record with a time of 1:56.04 to win the gold medal and finished almost 3 seconds ahead of Ian Thorpe.[45] About an hour before the final of the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps swam in the semi-finals of the 100-meter butterfly. Phelps dominated again, finishing in the top seed position with a world record time of 51.47.[46] However, in the final of the 100-meter butterfly, on July 26, Ian Crocker erased Phelps's world record with a time of 50.98, to become the first man under 51 seconds. Phelps swam a 51.10 (also under his former world record), but had to settle for silver.[47] In the final of the 400-meter individual medley, on July 27, Phelps broke his own world record with a time of 4:09.09 to easily claim the gold medal.[48] About half an hour later, Phelps earned his final gold medal when the United States team won the 4×100-meter medley relay.[49] Phelps did not swim in the finals, but still earned a medal because he swam in the heats.[50]

2004 Summer Olympics

Trials

At the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Phelps competed in six events; the 200- and 400-meter individual medley, the 100- and 200-meter butterfly, the 200-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter backstroke.[51] In his first event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps easily won with a world record time of 4:08.41.[52] Two days later, in the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps won with a time of 1:46.27, finishing sixth-tenths of a second ahead of Klete Keller.[53] Phelps, however, was not pleased with the result and wanted to be in the 1:45s and was uncertain if he would swim the event in Athens.[54] The following day, Phelps won in the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:54.31, three seconds ahead of second-place finisher Tom Malchow.[55] After two days off, Phelps was back in the pool and finished second to Aaron Peirsol (who broke the world record) in the 200-meter backstroke.[56] Less than half an hour later, Phelps won the 200-meter individual medley title ahead of Ryan Lochte by 2.70 seconds.[57][58] The following day, Phelps finished second to Ian Crocker in the 100-meter butterfly. Crocker won in a time of 50.76, a world record and 0.39 seconds ahead of Phelps.[59] When the Trials were over, Phelps became the first person to qualify in six individual events for a U.S. Olympic team.[60] However, Phelps dropped the 200-meter backstroke to focus on the 200-meter freestyle because he wanted to race Ian Thorpe.[60] Even though Phelps did not compete in the 100-meter freestyle at the Trials, he was still selected for the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. Gary Hall, Jr. thought this was unfair and said Phelps did not deserve a spot on the relay. Phelps argued his program was too crowded to compete in 100-meter freestyle and was at least among the top four swimmers because he had beaten the top-seeded Jason Lezak the last time he had swum against him.[61]

2004 Summer Olympics
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 51.25 (OR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:54.04 (OR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:57.14 (OR)
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:08.26 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:07.33 (NR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:30.68 (WR) (Phelps swam in heats only)
Bronze medal – third place 200 m freestyle 1:45.32 (NR)
Bronze medal – third place 4×100 m freestyle 3:14.62

Athens

In his first event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps won his first Olympic gold medal in the world record time of 4:08.26.[62][63] The following day, Phelps, along with Ian Crocker, Neil Walker, and Jason Lezak, finished in third place in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with a time of 3:14.62.[64][65] Crocker's lead-off time of 50.05 was the worst among the field and was blamed on sickness.[66][67] In the event many were calling The Race of the Century, the 200-meter freestyle that was held the following day, Phelps finished in third place behind Ian Thorpe and Pieter van den Hoogenband.[68][69] Although this race ended the chance to match Spitz's record, Phelps had savored the challenge even though it was not his strongest event, saying "How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the two fastest freestylers of all time".[70] In his fourth event, the 200-meter butterfly, held the following day, Phelps won a gold medal with a time of 1:54.04, breaking Tom Malchow's Olympic record.[71][72] About an hour later, in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, along with Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay, and Klete Keller, finished in first place with a time of 7:07.33.[73] Two days later, in the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps finished first with a time of 1:57.14, an Olympic record.[74] In the 100-meter butterfly final, held the following day, Phelps defeated American teammate Ian Crocker (who held the world record in the event at the time) by just 0.04 seconds with a time of 51.25.[75][76] Traditionally, the American who places highest in an individual event will be automatically given the corresponding leg in the 4×100-meter medley relay final. This gave Phelps an automatic entry into the medley relay, but he deferred and Crocker swam instead.[76][77] Phelps's gesture gave Crocker a chance to make amends (for a mistake at the start of a previous race) as well, getting his final shot at a gold medal.[77] The American medley team went on to win the event in world-record time, and, since Phelps had raced in a preliminary heat of the medley relay, he was also awarded a gold medal along with the team members who competed in the final.[78][79] In winning six gold and two bronze medals, Phelps, still a teenager, had the second-best performance ever at a single Olympics, behind Mark Spitz's seven gold medals at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Also, he became the second male swimmer ever to win more than two individual titles at a single Games with four, tying Spitz's four from 1972.

2005 World championships

Victory lap of the 100 m butterfly during the 2005 FINA World Championships in Montréal. Phelps is far right.
2005 World Aquatics Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m freestyle 1:45.20 (NR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:56.68
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:13.77 (CR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:06.58
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:31.85 (Phelps swam in heats only)
Silver medal – second place 100 m butterfly 51.65

At the 2005 World Championship Trials, Phelps decided to drop his specialty events, the 400-meter individual medley and the 200-meter butterfly, and experiment with the 400-meter freestyle and the 100-meter freestyle.[80] Phelps went on to win the 400-meter freestyle, the 200-meter freestyle, the 100-meter butterfly, the 100-meter freestyle, and the 200-meter individual medley at the Trials.[81][82][83][84][85]

At the 2005 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won a total of six medals, five golds and one silver.[86] In the 400-meter freestyle, Phelps did not make it past the preliminary heats and finished 18th overall with a time of 3:50.53.[87] Later that day, in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Phelps won his first gold in the Championships.[88] Two days later, on July 26, Phelps won his second gold in the 200-meter freestyle with a new American record time of 1:45.20, finishing ahead of Grant Hackett.[89] Two days later, on July 28, Phelps finished seventh in the 100-meter freestyle final.[90] Later that day, Phelps won his third gold in the 200-meter individual medley.[91] On July 29, Phelps, along with Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay and Klete Keller, won the gold in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 7:06.58. This was the fourth gold medal for Phelps.[92] On July 30, Phelps swam in his last individual event, the 100-meter butterfly. In the final, Phelps could not match the speed of Ian Crocker and had to settle for silver, finishing 51.65 to 50.40, a new world record for Crocker.[93] On July 31, Phelps earned his final gold medal when the United States team won the 4×100-meter medley relay.[94] Phelps did not swim in the finals but still earned a medal because he swam in the heats.[95]

2006 Pan Pacific championships

2006 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:53.80 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:55.84 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:10.47 (CR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:12.46 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:05.28 (CR)
Silver medal – second place 200 m backstroke 1:56.81

At the 2006 National Championships, Phelps won three events.[96] In his first event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps won with a championship record of 1:54.32.[97] In his second event, the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps just edged out Ian Crocker 51.51 (another championship record) to 51.73.[98] In his third event, the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps won with a time of 1:56.50, just ahead of Ryan Lochte's time of 1:56.78.[99]

At the 2006 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Victoria, British Columbia, Phelps won five gold medals and one silver.[100] In his first event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps won in a world record time of 1:53.80, his first world record in two years.[101] In his second event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps easily won with a time of 4:10.47, 3.38 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Robert Margalis.[102] In his third event, the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, along with Ryan Lochte, Peter Vanderkaay, and Klete Keller, won the gold medal with a time of 7:05.28.[103] In his fourth event, the 200-meter backstroke, Phelps won the silver medal, finishing behind Aaron Peirsol 1:56.81 to 1:54.44 (a new world record).[104] In his fifth event, the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, along with Neil Walker, Cullen Jones, and Jason Lezak, won the gold medal with a world-record time 3:12.46.[105] In his sixth event, the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps won with a world record time of 1:55.84, breaking his record of 1:55.94 set in 2003.[106]

2007 World championships

2007 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 200 m freestyle 1:43.86 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 50.77
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:52.09 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:54.98 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:06.22 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:12.72 (CR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:03.24 (WR)

At the 2007 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won seven gold medals, tying the record for a global long-course championship held by Mark Spitz since the 1972 Summer Olympics, and broke five world records.[107] Phelps first gold medal came in the 4×100-meter freestyle. Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 48.42 seconds and Neil Walker, Cullen Jones and Jason Lezak each expanded the lead to win in a Championship record of 3:12.72, just missing the world record of 3:12.46 set the previous year.[108] His lead-off time was faster than the winning time in the individual 100-meter freestyle final later in the meet. Phelps set his first world record in the Championships in the 200-meter freestyle, his second race. Phelps won the gold ahead of Pieter van den Hoogenband and broke Ian Thorpe's six-year-old world record with a time of 1:43.86.[109] For his third race, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps won the gold and bettered his own world record of 1:53.71 with a time of 1:52.09.[110] For his fourth race, the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps set his third world record with a time of 1:54.98, bettering his own world-record time of 1:55.84[111] For his fifth race, the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 1:45.36 as the American team of Ryan Lochte, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay went on to win the gold medal and beat the previous world record set by Australia in 2001 with a time 7:03.24.[112] For his sixth race, the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps edged out Ian Crocker 50.77 to 50.82 to win his sixth gold medal.[113] For his seventh event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps won the gold medal in a world-record time of 4:06.22, more than 3.5 seconds ahead of Ryan Lochte.[114] By winning seven gold medals, Phelps broke the record of six set by Ian Thorpe at the 2001 World Championships. The 4×100-meter medley relay team received a disqualification for a false start during a changeover in the heats, ending Phelps's chance of eight gold medals.[115]

Even though Phelps competed in the backstroke in international competition only once (at the 2006 Pan Pacific Championships), he was among the best backstroke swimmers in the world. This is illustrated by his personal best times set in 2007, four months after the World Championships. At the US Nationals in Indianapolis on August 1, 2007, Phelps swam a 1:54.65 in the 200-meter backstroke, which was the third fastest of all time in the event, 0.33 of a second off the world record of 1:54.32 held by Ryan Lochte.[116] Two days later Phelps swam a time of 53.01 sec in the 100-meter backstroke, 0.03 of a second short of the world record of 52.98 held by Aaron Peirsol and the second-fastest performance of all time.[117] In 2007 Phelps swam into the all-time top three performances in seven individual events, four of these being world records.

2008 Summer Olympics

2008 Summer Olympics
Gold medal – first place 200 m freestyle 1:42.96 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 50.58 (OR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:52.03 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:54.23 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 400 m medley 4:03.84 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:08.24 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 6:58.56 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:29.34 (WR)

Trials

At the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, Phelps competed in six individual events. In his first event, the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps broke his own world record of 4:06.22 with a time of 4:05.25.[118] In his second event, the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps won with a time of 1:44.10, ahead of Peter Vanderkaay's time 1:45.85.[119] In his third event, the 100-meter freestyle, Phelps placed second in his heat with a time of 47.92, ensuring him a spot on the relay.[120] In his fourth event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps won with a time of 1:52.20.[121] In his fifth event, the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps broke his own world record of 1:54.98 with a time of 1:54.80.[122] In his sixth and final event, the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps won with a time of 50.89.[123] When asked about his chances of winning eight gold medals in Beijing, Phelps said, "I am going to prepare for that meet just like I do every other meet ... There is only so much I can do in a month and then I am going to prepare myself the best that I can."[124]

Beijing

Phelps set an Olympic record in the preliminary heats of the 400-meter individual medley.[125][126] He followed that up in the final by winning the gold medal, as well as breaking his previous world record by nearly two seconds.[127][128]

Phelps swam the first leg of the 4×100-meter freestyle relay in a time of 47.51 seconds (an American record for the 100-meter freestyle), and won his second gold medal of the 2008 Olympics, as well as setting his second world record of the Olympics (3:08.24).[129] Teammate Jason Lezak, after beginning the anchor leg more than half a body length behind Alain Bernard, managed to finish ahead of the favored French swimmer by eight hundredths of a second. The top five teams in the final finished ahead of the world record of 3:12.23 set the previous day by the American B team in a preliminary heat.[130] Phelps remarked that Bernard's pre-race comments of "smashing the Americans" had "fired me up more than anything else." Le Nouvel Observateur noted "Phelps taking the time to applaud and console Bernard" and wrote that this sportsmanship was "proof that the person who swims in the wake of Mark Spitz is also a great gentleman."[131]

For his third race, Phelps broke his previous world record in the 200-meter freestyle by nearly a second and won his third gold medal. He also set his third world record at the Olympics, 1:42.96, winning by nearly two seconds over silver medalist Park Tae-hwan.[132] In this race, Phelps became the fifth Olympic athlete in modern history to win nine gold medals, joining Mark Spitz, Larisa Latynina, Paavo Nurmi, and Carl Lewis.[133]

Phelps holds his gold medal on the podium on August 10, 2008. Pictured with Ryan Lochte and László Cseh.

The next day, Phelps participated in two finals. In his first event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps made it four gold medals and world records in four events by swimming the final in 1:52.03, defeating silver medalist László Cseh by almost seven-tenths of a second despite his goggles' having filled up with water and being unable to "see anything for the last 100 meters.[134] This fourth gold medal was his tenth, and made him the all-time leader for most Olympic gold medals won by an individual in the modern Olympic era.[135] Moreover, Phelps became the first swimmer, male or female, to win three Olympic butterfly titles, after his two titles in the Athens 2004 Olympics. He also became the first swimmer to successfully defend an Olympic butterfly title.

Less than one hour after his gold medal victory in the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps swam the lead-off leg of the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. With Lochte, Ricky Berens, and Peter Vanderkaay, he won his fifth gold and set his fifth world record as the American team finished first with a time of 6:58.56. The Americans were the first team to break the seven-minute mark in the relay, and broke the previous record, set in Melbourne, Australia, by more than four and a half seconds.[136]

After taking a day off from finals (Phelps did swim in qualifying heats), Phelps won his sixth gold of the Beijing Games on August 15 by winning the 200-meter individual medley with a world record time of 1:54.23, finishing ahead of Cseh by over two seconds.[137]

Seventh gold medal
Phelps (in black cap) starting the 4x100m relay at the Beijing Olympic Games, August 11, 2008

Before the final of the 100-meter butterfly, US born Serbian swimmer Milorad Čavić caused a minor stir when he said it would be "good" if Phelps lost. "It'd be good for him if he loses. It would be nice if historians talk about Michael Phelps winning seven gold medals and losing the eighth to 'some guy.' I'd like to be that guy", Čavić said.[138] Phelps responded, "When people say things like that, it fires me up more than anything."[139] On August 16, Phelps won his seventh gold medal of the Games in the men's 100-meter butterfly, setting an Olympic record for the event with a time of 50.58 seconds and edging out his nearest competitor Čavić, by one hundredth (0.01) of a second.[140]

Unlike all six of his previous events in the 2008 Games, Phelps did not set a new world record, leaving intact Ian Crocker's world-record time of 50.40 seconds, set in 2005.

Phelps's 0.01-second finish ahead of Čavić prompted the Serbian delegation to file a protest. Subsequent analysis of the video by the FINA panel, which required analyzing frames shot 1/10,000th of a second apart, was used to officially confirm Phelps's victory,[141] but the images were not immediately released to the press. The initial refusal by official timekeeper Omega to release underwater photos of the finish also raised questions due to Phelps's sponsorship relationship with Omega.[142] Čavić later wrote in his blog, "People, this is the greatest moment of my life. If you ask me, it should be accepted and we should move on. I've accepted defeat, and there's nothing wrong with losing to the greatest swimmer there has ever been."[143]

Epic. It goes to show you that not only is this guy the greatest swimmer of all time and the greatest Olympian of all time, he's maybe the greatest athlete of all time. He's the greatest racer who ever walked the planet. (2008)
Mark Spitz (on Phelps winning his 7th gold medal)[144]

Phelps's seventh gold medal of the Games tied Mark Spitz's record for gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, set in the 1972 Olympics. It was also his fifth individual gold medal in Beijing, tying the record for individual gold medals at a single Games originally set by Eric Heiden in the 1980 Winter Olympics and equaled by Vitaly Scherbo at the 1992 Summer Games. Said Phelps upon setting his seventh-straight Olympic record of the Games in as many events, "Dream as big as you can dream, and anything is possible ... I am sort of in a dream world. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it is real."[145]

Michael Phelps celebrates with his teammates after winning his 8th gold medal.
All-time record

On August 17, Phelps won his eighth gold medal in the 4×100-meter medley relay, breaking Mark Spitz's record of seven gold medals won in a single Olympic Games, which had stood since 1972.[146] Phelps, along with teammates Brendan Hansen, Aaron Peirsol, and Jason Lezak, set a new world record in the event with a time of 3 minutes and 29.34 seconds, 0.7 seconds ahead of second-place Australia and 1.34 seconds faster than the previous record set by the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. When Phelps dived in to swim the 100-meter butterfly leg, the third leg of the 400-meter medley, the United States had been trailing Australia and Japan. Phelps completed his split in 50.1 seconds, the fastest butterfly split ever for the event, giving teammate Jason Lezak a more than half-second lead for the final leg, which he held onto to clinch the event in world record time.[147] Said Phelps, upon completing the event that awarded him his eighth gold medal and eighth Olympic record in as many events, "Records are always made to be broken no matter what they are ... Anybody can do anything that they set their mind to."[148]

2009 World championships

2009 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 49.82 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:51.51 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:09.21 (CR)
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 6:58.55 (WR)
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:27.28 (WR)
Silver medal – second place 200 m freestyle 1:43.22

At the 2009 National Championships, Phelps drastically shortened his program, swimming in only three individual events. In his first event, the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps won with a time of 1:44.23.[149] In his second event, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps easily won with a time of 1:52.76, 0.88 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.[150] In his third event, the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps won with a world-record time of 50.22.[151]

Phelps (center) before the start of the 200-meter butterfly semi-final during 2009 FINA World Championships

At the 2009 World Aquatics Championships, Phelps won a total of 6 medals, 5 golds and 1 silver. In his first event, the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 47.78, well off his 47.51 performance in Beijing, but the American team was able to edge out Russia and France for the gold.[152] For his second race, the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps lost his first race in four years to Germany's Paul Biedermann. Phelps touched second in 1:43.22, but Biedermann smashed Phelps's record of 1:42.96 set in Beijing a year ago with a time of 1:42.00.[153] Phelps took the silver graciously, but coach Bob Bowman threatened to withdraw Phelps from international competition because Bowman claimed Biedermann had an unfair advantage because he was wearing a full polyurethane swimsuit, specifically an Arena X-Glide.[154] Bowman said, "It took me five years to get Michael from 1:46 to 1:42 and this guy has done it in 11 months. That's an amazing training performance. I'd like to know how to do that."[155] Phelps rebounded from this loss and for his third race, the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps won the gold and broke his own world record of 1:52.03 with a time of 1:51.51.[156] For his fourth race, the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 1:44.49 as the team went on to win the gold medal and break the world record set the previous year.[157] After his loss in the 200-meter freestyle, many thought Phelps was vulnerable coming into the final for the 100-meter butterfly.[158] His closest competitor, Milorad Čavić, who wore an Arena X-Glide (the same suit Biedermann beat Phelps with), thought people were making excuses for Phelps because he was wearing an LZR Racer. Čavić even offered to buy Phelps a new suit.[159] For his fifth race, the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps won the gold and became the first man to complete it in under 50 seconds, beating Čavić 49.82 to 49.95.[160] The victory prompted a fierce celebration from Phelps.[161] For his final event, the 4×100-meter medley relay, Phelps won his fifth gold medal. Phelps, along with teammates Aaron Peirsol, Eric Shanteau, and David Walters, set a new world record in the event with a time of 3 minutes, 27.28 seconds.[162]

2010 Pan Pacific championships

2010 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 50.86
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:54.11
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:11.74
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:03.84
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:32.48

At the 2010 National Championships, Phelps competed in five individual events. In the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps won ahead of Ryan Lochte in a time of 1:45.61.[163] About an hour later, Phelps returned to the pool to win the 200-meter butterfly.[164] But Phelps was not happy with his performance and called it the "worst" 200-meter butterfly of his life. In the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps won his 50th national title in 50.65.[165] After the race, Phelps said he was "fairly pleased" with the result.[166][167] In the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps finished second to Lochte 1:55.94 to 1:54.84.[168] It was the first time Lochte had beat Phelps in a major national meet.[169] In the 200-meter backstroke, Phelps finished in 4th place in 1:56.98.[170]

On the first day of competition at the 2010 Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, Phelps opted out swimming in the final of the 200-meter freestyle to focus on the 200-meter butterfly. In the 200-meter butterfly, Phelps led from start to finish, coming in first with a time of 1:54.11. Although it was much slower than his 1:51.51 time from the previous year, Phelps had not lost a 200-meter butterfly final since 2002.[171][172] On day two of the competition, Phelps swam in the heats of the 400-meter individual medley and contributed in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. In the heats of the 400-meter individual medley, Phelps failed to make the A final, with Lochte and Tyler Clary taking the top two American positions.[173] Phelps did not swim in the B final of the 400-meter individual medley. In the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, with Peter Vanderkaay, Ricky Berens, and Lochte, finished first ahead of Japan and Australia.[174] On day three of the competition, Phelps competed in the 100-meter butterfly and contributed in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay. In the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps finished first in a time of 50.86, a championship record.[175] In the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Phelps, with Lochte, Jason Lezak, and Nathan Adrian, finished first ahead of Australia and South Africa. As the lead-off leg in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay, Phelps set the championship record in the 100-meter freestyle with a time of 48.13.[176] In his final event, Phelps swam in the 4×100-meter medley relay with Aaron Peirsol, Mark Gangloff, and Adrian and finished first ahead of Japan and Australia.[177]

2011 World championships

2011 World Championships
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 50.71
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:53.34
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:02.67
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:32.06
Silver medal – second place 200 m freestyle 1:44.79
Silver medal – second place 200 m medley 1:54.16
Bronze medal – third place 4×100 m freestyle 3:11.96

In his first event at the 2011 World Aquatics Championships in Shanghai, Phelps won bronze in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay with Garrett Weber-Gale, Jason Lezak, and Nathan Adrian.[178] This was Phelps's first bronze in a World Aquatics Championships. Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 48.08, the second-best lead-off in the field behind James Magnussen's 47.49. In his second event, the 200-meter freestyle, Phelps won silver for the second consecutive time at a World Aquatics Championships. This time he finished second to Ryan Lochte in the event with a time of 1:44.79, compared to Lochte's time of 1:44.44.[179] In his third final, the 200-meter butterfly, he won his first gold medal with a time of 1:53.34 to become the first swimmer to win five gold medals in one discipline at the World Aquatics Championships.[180] In his fourth event, the 200-meter individual medley, Phelps again finished second to Lochte in a personal best of 1:54.16, which was 0.16 behind Lochte who swam a new world record.[181] It was Phelps's 30th medal in the World Aquatics Championships. Shortly after completing the semi-finals of the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps competed in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay with Peter Vanderkaay, Ricky Berens, and Ryan Lochte. Phelps's team won the gold medal in a time of 7:02.67. Phelps swam the lead-off leg in 1:45.53, the third-best leg in the field.[182] In the 100-meter butterfly, Phelps won his third consecutive title (also winning in 2007 and 2009) and second individual title of the meet with a time of 50.71.[183] In his last event, the 4×100-meter medley relay, Phelps teamed with Nick Thoman, Mark Gangloff, and Nathan Adrian to win gold in a time of 3:32.06. Phelps's butterfly leg of 50.57 was by far the fastest butterfly leg in the field.[184]

2012 Summer Olympics

2012 Summer Olympics
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 51.21
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:54.27
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 6:59.70
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:29.35
Silver medal – second place 200 m butterfly 1:53.01
Silver medal – second place 4×100 m freestyle 3:10.38

Trials

For the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Phelps originally stated he would never do eight events again, and would instead try new events. Phelps said, "I keep saying I want to go down and start sprinting, but Bob [Bowman, Phelps's coach] really isn't so keen on that ... I don't think that's going to happen ... Over the next four years, I'd like to try some different events, maybe not do some of the events I did here."[185][186] However, at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials, the qualifying meet for the 2012 Summer Olympics, Phelps qualified in the same eight events that he swam in Beijing in 2008. He later dropped the 200-meter freestyle from his program, as he stated he wanted to focus on the 4×100-meter freestyle relay.[187] During the trials, Phelps finished first in the 200-meter freestyle, 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley, and second in the 400-meter individual medley. In making his fourth Olympic team, Phelps holds the record for men for the most Olympic appearances in swimming representing the United States.[188]

London

In his 100m butterfly heat, Phelps (fourth from top) was 8th at the 50m split before winning his heat and qualifying for the semi-finals

On July 28, 2012, Phelps placed eighth in the morning prelims for the 400-meter individual medley. Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic champion, won his heat in 4 minutes, 13.33 seconds with a time that was well off his world record of 4:03.84 set four years ago in Beijing, when Phelps won a record eight gold medals. He out-touched László Cseh by 0.07 seconds in his heat to qualify last for the final, locking out Cseh. In his first finals of the Summer Olympics, Phelps placed fourth behind fellow American Ryan Lochte, Thiago Pereira of Brazil, and Kosuke Hagino of Japan in the 400-meter individual medley. It was the first time Phelps failed to medal in an Olympic event since 2000.[189] The next night, in his second event of the Games, he got a silver as a member of the 4×100-meter free relay. Phelps swam the fastest leg of the US relay team and the second-fastest of anyone in the race.[190]

On July 31, 2012, Phelps won a silver medal in the 200-meter butterfly behind South African Chad le Clos by 5/100ths of a second, and a gold medal in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay, thereby equaling and then surpassing Larisa Latynina to become the all-time record holder for most Olympic medals won.[191][192] Latynina was present at the race and asked to be the presenter of Phelps's medal, but was told that Olympic rules would not allow it. She called Phelps deserving of the record.[193]

On August 2, 2012, Phelps won his 16th Olympic gold medal when he edged out Ryan Lochte to win the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:54.27, and by that victory also became the first male swimmer to win the same event in three consecutive Olympics.[194] Rebecca Soni and Phelps (twice) are the only swimmers to successfully defend an individual title from the 2008 Games.[195] This win also marked Phelps's fifth Olympic title in the individual medley, breaking the record of four shared by Hungarian Tamás Darnyi and Ukrainian Yana Klochkova.

He repeated the achievement of winning the same event at three Olympics the following evening, winning the Olympic gold medal in the 100 m butterfly, his last individual event.[196] After two very close victories in the 100 m butterfly at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics (by 0.04 and 0.01 sec, respectively), in this race Phelps beat Le Clos and Yevgeny Korotyshkin, who tied for silver, by 0.23 sec.

Phelps's final event was the 4×100-meter medley relay in which he went on to win his 18th career gold medal and his 22nd overall. By winning 4 gold and 2 silver medals, Phelps concluded the 2012 Olympics as the most successful swimmer of the meet for the third Olympics in a row.[197][198] After his last event, the international swimming federation FINA honored Phelps with an award commemorating his standing as the most decorated Olympian ever.[199]

First retirement

After the 2012 Olympics, Phelps retired from swimming, stating: "I'm done. I'm finished. I'm retired. I'm done. No more," and that "I just wanted to be done with swimming and didn't want anything to do with the sport anymore."[200]

2014 comeback from retirement

2014 Pan Pacific Championships
Gold medal – first place 100 m butterfly 51.29
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:05.17
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:29.94 (CR)
Silver medal – second place 200 m medley 1:56.04
Silver medal – second place 4×100 m freestyle 3:13.36

In April 2014, Phelps announced he would come out of retirement, and would enter an event later that month.[201] In May 2014, he won the 100-meter butterfly event at the Arena Grand Prix in Charlotte, North Carolina.[202] Phelps was reportedly motivated by the national team's failure to win the men's 4 × 100 m freestyle relay since their Beijing 2008 and Rome 2009 titles.[203][204] The relationship between Phelps and coach Bob Bowman had deteriorated in the preparations for London 2012, so Phelps convinced a skeptical Bowman that he "wasn't training for history. He wasn't training for the medals. He wasn't even training for all the fans. This time Phelps wanted to swim for himself...and enjoy the journey".[204] Since his returning from retirement in 2014, Phelps "scaled back his calorie intake" and "increased his postswim ice baths". By the 2016 Olympic Trials, despite his age Phelps "felt physically stronger in the water, perhaps because of drills Bowman added to his pool workouts, like multiple repeats of 40 seconds of dolphin kicking while hugging a 10-pound weight to his chest".[205]

2015 US Nationals

After having been dropped from the team for the 2015 World Aquatics Championships for a DUI, Phelps instead competed in the US National Championships (long course) in San Antonio as his target meet of the summer. He won gold medals in the 100-meter butterfly (50.45 s),[206] 200-meter butterfly (1:52.94),[207] and the 200-meter individual medley (1:54.75).[208] In each of these events he swam the fastest time in the world for 2015.

In December 2015 at the Winter Nationals in Federal Way, Phelps won titles in the same three events, again in long course, bringing his career total to 62 national titles.[209]

2016 Summer Olympics

2016 Summer Olympics
Gold medal – first place 200 m butterfly 1:53.36
Gold medal – first place 200 m medley 1:54.66
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m freestyle 3:09.92
Gold medal – first place 4×200 m freestyle 7:00.66
Gold medal – first place 4×100 m medley 3:27.95 (OR)
Silver medal – second place 100 m butterfly 51.14

Trials

At the US trials in Omaha for the 2016 Summer Olympics, Phelps won the 200 m butterfly (1:54.84), the 200 m individual medley (1:55.91), and the 100 m butterfly (51.00 s) events. This made him the first American male swimmer, and the second American swimmer overall after Dara Torres, to qualify for a fifth Olympics.[210] Phelps' 100 m freestyle time at the Trials were not impressive. However at a final training camp in Atlanta a week before heading to Rio, Phelps put out "the fourth-fastest flat-start time of the year" in a 100 free time trial, automatically securing one of the seven spots on the Men's 4 × 100 metre freestyle relay for the Olympics.[211]

Rio de Janeiro

Phelps was chosen to be the American flag bearer at the opening ceremony, which was the first Olympic opening ceremony that he would attend.[212][213] Phelps was also voted by the U.S. Olympic swim team as one of six team captains for the US delegation to the Olympics.[214] He displayed a relaxed sociable demeanor in the athletes' village and in press conferences; this pleasant behavior was in stark contrast to his isolation in previous Olympics.[204] He was accompanied by fiancée Nicole Johnson and son Boomer.[215]

In his first event on August 7, the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay, he won his first gold medal of the 2016 Games and his 19th Olympic gold medal overall. Phelps swam the second leg with what his coach Bob Bowman described as "maybe the best turn that's ever been done",[216] overtaking France's Fabien Gilot to give his American teammates a lead which they would not relinquish.[217] Phelps's leg proved to be the decisive factor in the race, and Gilot later remarked "As fast as my teammates were, the extraterrestrial that is Phelps was faster".[211] Phelps achieved a split time of 47.12, the fourth-fastest of the field (the three fastest times were posted by the team anchors),[211] which was also faster than any of his relay splits at the last three Olympics.[218][219]

Phelps carrying the flag on behalf of athletes from the United States during the parade of nation within the 2016 Summer Olympics opening ceremony

In his second event on August 9, the 200-meter butterfly, he became the first swimmer in history to make five finals in the same event, after finishing 5th in 2000, 1st in 2004 and 2008, and 2nd in 2012.[220] At Rio, he won the title that he had lost to Chad le Clos four years earlier in London, edging Masato Sakai by 0.04 s. Phelps stated that winning back this title had been the main goal during his comeback.[221] The preliminary and final of that event was heavily hyped as a rematch between Phelps and Le Clos. The relationship between Le Clos and Phelps had been cordial back in 2012–13 but it deteriorated in 2014 when Phelps came back from retirement and suggested that the current butterfly times were slow.[222] In the ready room prior to the preliminary race, Le Clos's shadow boxing while Phelps "glowered in a corner" spawned the Internet meme with the hashtag #PhelpsFace. Le Clos's Wikipedia biography was even vandalized after the event final.[223] At age 31, the victory made him not only the oldest male champion,[224] but also the oldest individual champion in Olympic swimming history,[225] beating the records set by Duke Kahanamoku in 1920, and Inge de Bruijn in 2004 respectively. Phelps also became the first swimmer to win individual gold medals 12 years apart.[226] Both these records were broken by Anthony Ervin three days later.[227][228]

Also on August 9, Phelps won his 21st gold medal in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay together with Conor Dwyer, Townley Haas, and Ryan Lochte.[229] For Phelps and Lochte, this was their 4th consecutive gold medal in this event,[230] an all-time record in swimming for any event.[citation needed]

On August 11, Phelps won his 22nd gold medal in the 200 m individual medley. He beat Kosuke Hagino, the 400 m individual medley champion, by 1.95 seconds. This was Phelps's 4th consecutive gold medal in the event as well as his 4th in the Games. He became the first swimmer to win the same individual event four times, surpassing the previous record of three held by Dawn Fraser and Krisztina Egerszegi.[231] He also became the third Olympian to win the same individual event four times, after athletes Al Oerter and Carl Lewis.[8][232] With that 13th individual gold medal, Phelps broke a 2,168-year-old ancient Olympic record, set by Leonidas of Rhodes, who had held the most Olympic individual titles of all time, with twelve.[224][233]

In the 100 m butterfly, Phelps was defeated in his last individual event of the Rio Olympics by Singaporean Joseph Schooling, when he earned joint silver along with Chad le Clos and László Cseh.[234][235]

On August 13, in the 4 × 100-meter medley relay, Phelps ended his career with another gold medal, his 23rd at the Olympics and his 28th medal overall. Together with Ryan Murphy, Cody Miller, and Nathan Adrian, swimming as the butterfly leg of the medley, they broke the Olympic record,[236] and won the United States' 1001st all time Olympic gold medal, in accordance with the USOC.[237][238][239] Phelps retired from competitive swimming again following the Rio Olympics.[240]

Phelps's performance in the Rio Olympics was unique in "winning multiple gold medals at 31 years old, well beyond the typical peak for male swimmers". Phelps is considered one of the greatest Olympians of all time.[241][242][243]

Physique

Phelps starting a race in 2009

Several physical attributes particularly suit Phelps to swimming: his long, thin torso offers low drag; his arms span 6 feet 7 inches (201 cm)—disproportionate to his height of 6 feet 4 inches (193 cm)—and act as long, propulsive paddles; his relatively short legs lower drag, and perhaps add the speed enhancement of a hydrofoil; his size-14 feet provide the effect of flippers; and his hypermobile ankles can extend beyond the pointe of a ballet dancer, enabling him to whip his feet as if they were fins for maximum thrust through the water.[244][245]

Testing for performance-enhancing drugs

During the 2008 Olympics, Phelps was questioned by the press as to whether perhaps his feats were "too good to be true", a reference to unsupported rumors that Phelps might be taking performance-enhancing drugs.[246][247] In response, Phelps noted that he had signed up for Project Believe, a project by the United States Anti-Doping Agency in which U.S. Olympians can volunteer to be tested in excess of the World Anti-Doping Agency guidelines.[248] During the Games, Phelps passed all nine tests that were administered to him.[249][250]

Training

Phelps has trained under Bob Bowman since he was 11 years old.[251] Bowman swam for Florida State University from 1983 to 1985.[252] Phelps has said Bowman reminded him of a drill sergeant because of his disciplined and regimented ways.[253] However, Phelps has said, "Training with Bob is the smartest thing I've ever done ... I'm not going to swim for anyone else."[254] After the 2004 Summer Olympics, Bowman was hired as the head coach for the University of Michigan after Jon Urbanchek retired. Phelps joined Bowman at Michigan to train and attended classes, but did not pursue a degree.[255][256] Phelps served as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan.[257] After the 2008 Summer Olympics, Bowman returned to Baltimore as CEO at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. Phelps also returned to Baltimore with Bowman.[258] When Bowman was hired as the men's and women's swimming coach at Arizona State University in 2015, Phelps moved to Arizona to continue training under Bowman.[259]

Personal life

Phelps with his wife, Nicole Johnson

Bob Bowman described Phelps as "a solitary man"[260] with a "rigid focus"[15] at the pool prior to a race, but afterward "a man incredibly invested in the success of the people he cares about".[15] He states that "he's unbelievably kind-hearted",[260] recounting Phelps's interaction with young children after practices.[15]

Phelps is married to former Miss California USA Nicole Johnson. They secretly married on June 13, 2016, and the marriage was not publicly reported until four months later.[261] They met in 2007 at the ESPYs, broke up in 2012, reconciled, and got engaged in February 2015.[262][263] They have three sons, Boomer Robert Phelps, born on May 5, 2016,[264] Beckett Richard Phelps, born on February 12, 2018,[265] and Maverick Nicolas Phelps, born on September 9, 2019.[266] The family lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona, an affluent town adjoined to Phoenix, where Phelps volunteers alongside Bowman as an assistant coach for the Arizona State Sun Devils swim team.[267]

As a teenager, Phelps idolized Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe and modeled his public image after Thorpe.[268] Thorpe initially said that it would be highly unlikely for Phelps to win eight gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.[269] Phelps used the remarks as motivation and taped the words to his locker during the Games.[270] Thorpe was in the stands for the 4×100-meter medley relay, where Phelps was swimming for his eighth Olympic gold medal. When Phelps and his teammates captured the gold, Thorpe gave a congratulatory kiss to Phelps's mother, then gave a handshake and a hug to congratulate Phelps. Afterwards, Thorpe said "I'm really proud of him not just because he won eight golds. Rather, it's how much he has grown up and matured into a great human being. Never in my life have I been so happy to have been proved wrong."[146][271]

Phelps has also cited Michael Jordan as a sporting idol of his, and stated that "he changed the sport of basketball".[272]

In January 2018, Phelps revealed that he has struggled both with ADHD and depression, having contemplated suicide after the 2012 Olympics.[273][274]

Legal issues

At age 19 in November 2004, Phelps was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Salisbury, Maryland.[275] He pleaded guilty to driving while impaired and was sentenced to serve 18 months of probation, fined $250, ordered to speak to high school students about drinking and driving, and to attend a Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) meeting.[276] When Phelps was later asked about the incident by Matt Lauer on the Today Show, he said that he had "let a lot of people in the country down."[15]

In February 2009, a photograph of Phelps using a bong went viral; this resulted in the loss of the Kellogg Company as a sponsor, as well as a three-month suspension by USA Swimming. Phelps admitted that the photo, which was taken at a party at the University of South Carolina, was authentic. He publicly apologized, saying his behavior was "inappropriate".[277]

In September 2014, Phelps was arrested again, this time on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding in Baltimore, Maryland.[278] As a result, USA Swimming suspended him from all competitions for six months, and stated he would not be chosen to represent the United States at the 2015 World Aquatics Championships in August.[279] With Phelps off the team, the United States failed to qualify for the finals of the 4 × 100 m freestyle relay.[219]

Philanthropy

Phelps with im program participants (left), Phelps Foundation's im logo (right).

After the 2008 Olympics, Phelps used his $1 million Speedo bonus to set up the Michael Phelps Foundation.[280][281][282] His foundation focuses on growing the sport of swimming and promoting healthier lifestyles.[283]

In 2010, the Michael Phelps Foundation, the Michael Phelps Swim School and KidsHealth.org developed and nationally piloted the "im" program for Boys & Girls Club members. The im program teaches children the importance of being active and healthy, with a focus on the sport of swimming. It also promotes the value of planning and goal-setting.[284] im is offered through the Boys & Girls Clubs of America[284] and through Special Olympics International.[285] The Foundation has since developed two other programs, Level Field Fund-Swimming and Caps-for-a-Cause.[286][287]

The Foundation's largest event is its annual fundraiser, the Michael Phelps Foundation Golf Classic.[288][289] Phelps stated he hoped to work with his Foundation more after retirement from competition following the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[290]

In 2017, Phelps joined the board of , a company focused on diagnosis of mental health disorders.[291]

Honors and awards

Phelps and Maryland House Speaker Mike Busch in April 2009. Both houses of the Maryland General Assembly honored Phelps that day.

Phelps was a USA Olympic team member in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016, and holds the records for most Olympic gold medals (23), most such medals in individual events (13), and most such medals at a single games (8, in Beijing 2008).[3] A street in his hometown of Baltimore was renamed The Michael Phelps Way in 2004.[292] On April 9, 2009, Phelps was invited to appear before the Maryland House of Delegates and the Maryland Senate, to be honored for his Olympic accomplishments.[293]

Phelps has also received the following awards:

Results in international long-course competition

Meet 100 free 200 free 400 free 200 back 100 fly 200 fly 200 IM 400 IM 4×100 free 4×200 free 4×100 medley
OG 2000 5th
WC 2001 1st, gold medalist(s)
PPC 2002 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2003 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)[a]
OG 2004 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)[a]
WC 2005 7th 1st, gold medalist(s) 18th 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)[a]
PPC 2006 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2007 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
OG 2008 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2009 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
PPC 2010 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) heats[b] 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2011 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 3rd, bronze medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
OG 2012 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 4th 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2013
PPC 2014 4th 1st, gold medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
WC 2015
OG 2016 2nd, silver medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s) 1st, gold medalist(s)
a Phelps swam only in the heats
b Phelps finished fourth in the heats, but he was the third American, hence he did not qualify for the final

Career best times

Long course (50-meter pool)

Event Time Venue Date Notes
100 m freestyle 47.51 (r) Beijing August 11, 2008
200 m freestyle 1:42.96 Beijing August 12, 2008 AM, NR
400 m freestyle 3:47.79 Indianapolis April 1, 2005
100 m backstroke 53.01 Indianapolis August 3, 2007
200 m backstroke 1:54.65 Indianapolis August 1, 2007
100 m breaststroke 1:02.57 Columbia February 17, 2008
200 m breaststroke 2:11.30 San Antonio August 10, 2015
100 m butterfly 49.82 Rome August 1, 2009
200 m butterfly 1:51.51 Rome July 29, 2009 AM, NR
200 m IM 1:54.16 Shanghai July 28, 2011
400 m IM 4:03.84 Beijing August 10, 2008 AM, NR, WR

r = relay lead-off

Short course meters (25-meter pool)

Event Time Venue Date Notes
100 m freestyle 46.99 Manchester December 18, 2009
200 m freestyle 1:42.78 East Meadow February 4, 2006
200 m backstroke 1:50.34 Berlin October 22, 2011
100 m butterfly 50.46 Manchester December 18, 2009
200 m butterfly 1:52.27 Melbourne November 28, 2003
100 m IM 51.65 Berlin October 22, 2011
200 m IM 1:51.89 Berlin October 23, 2011
400 m IM 4:01.49 Berlin October 22, 2011

World records

Phelps has set 39 world records (29 individual, 10 relay), which is more records than any other swimmer that is recognized by FINA; this achievement surpassed Mark Spitz's previous record of 33 world records (26 individual, 7 relay).[citation needed] However, Johnny Weissmuller is reported to have broken 67 official world records.[311]

All but two of the records were set in a long-course (50-meter) pool. As of July 26, 2019, he holds four world records (indicated in bold), not including his records for most Olympic medals and most Olympic gold medals ever won by one person.

No. Distance Event Time Location Date Ref
1 200 m Butterfly 1:54.92 Austin, Texas, US March 30, 2001 [312]
2 200 m Butterfly (2) 1:54.58 Fukuoka, Japan July 24, 2001 [312]
3 400 m Individual medley 4:11.09 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, US August 15, 2002 [313]
4 4 × 100 m Medley relay[a] 3:33.48 Yokohama, Japan August 29, 2002 [314]
5 400 m Individual medley (2) 4:10.73 Indianapolis, Indiana, US April 6, 2003 [315]
6 200 m Individual medley 1:57.94 Santa Clara, California, US June 29, 2003 [316]
7 200 m Butterfly (3) 1:53.93 Barcelona, Spain July 22, 2003 [317]
8 200 m Individual medley (2) 1:57.52 Barcelona, Spain July 24, 2003 [317]
9 100 m Butterfly 0:51.47 Barcelona, Spain July 25, 2003 [317]
10 200 m Individual medley (3) 1:56.04 Barcelona, Spain July 25, 2003 [317]
11 400 m Individual medley (3) 4:09.09 Barcelona, Spain July 27, 2003 [317]
12 200 m Individual medley (4) 1:55.94 College Park, Maryland, US August 9, 2003 [318]
13 400 m Individual medley (4) 4:08.41 Long Beach, California, US July 7, 2004 [319]
14 400 m Individual medley (5) 4:08.26 Athens, Greece August 14, 2004 [320]
15 200 m Butterfly (4) 1:53.80 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada August 17, 2006 [321]
16 4 × 100 m Freestyle relay[b] 3:12.46 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada August 19, 2006 [321]
17 200 m Individual medley (5) 1:55.84 Victoria, British Columbia, Canada August 20, 2006 [321]
18 200 m Butterfly (5) 1:53.71 Columbia, Missouri, US February 17, 2007 [322]
19 200 m Freestyle 1:43.86 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia March 27, 2007 [323]
20 200 m Butterfly (6) 1:52.09 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia March 28, 2007 [323]
21 200 m Individual medley (6) 1:54.98 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia March 29, 2007 [323]
22 4 × 200 m Freestyle relay[c] 7:03.24 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia March 30, 2007 [323]
23 400 m Individual medley (6) 4:06.22 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia April 1, 2007 [323]
24 400 m Individual medley (7) 4:05.25 Omaha, Nebraska, US June 29, 2008 [324]
25 200 m Individual medley (7) 1:54.80 Omaha, Nebraska, US July 4, 2008 [324]
26 400 m Individual medley (8) 4:03.84 Beijing, China August 10, 2008 [325]
27 4 × 100 m Freestyle relay (2)[d] 3:08.24 Beijing, China August 11, 2008 [325]
28 200 m Freestyle (2) 1:42.96 Beijing, China August 12, 2008 [326]
29 200 m Butterfly (7) 1:52.03 Beijing, China August 13, 2008 [327]
30 4 × 200 m Freestyle relay (2)[e] 6:58.56 Beijing, China August 13, 2008 [328]
31 200 m Individual medley (8) 1:54.23 Beijing, China August 15, 2008 [329]
32 4 × 100 m Medley relay (2)[a] 3:29.34 Beijing, China August 17, 2008 [330]
33 100 m Butterfly (2) 0:50.22 Indianapolis, Indiana, US July 9, 2009 [331]
34 200 m Butterfly (8) 1:51.51 Rome, Italy July 29, 2009 [332]
35 4 × 200 m Freestyle relay (3)[f] 6:58.55 Rome, Italy July 31, 2009 [332]
36 100 m Butterfly (3) 0:49.82 Rome, Italy August 1, 2009 [332]
37 4 × 100 m Medley relay (3)[g] 3:27.28 Rome, Italy August 2, 2009 [332]
38 4 × 100 m Medley relay (sc)[h] 3:20.71 Manchester, United Kingdom December 18, 2009 [333]
39 4 × 100 m Freestyle relay (sc)[i] 3:03.30 Manchester, United Kingdom December 19, 2009 [333]
a with Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, and Jason Lezak
b with Neil Walker, Cullen Jones, and Jason Lezak
c with Ryan Lochte, Klete Keller, and Peter Vanderkaay
d with Garrett Weber-Gale, Cullen Jones, and Jason Lezak
e with Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens, and Peter Vanderkaay
f with Ryan Lochte, Ricky Berens, and David Walters
g with Aaron Peirsol, Eric Shanteau and David Walters
h short course record with Nick Thoman, Mark Gangloff and Nathan Adrian
i short course record with Nathan Adrian, Matt Grevers and Garrett Weber-Gale

Guinness World Records

Phelps holds 23 Guinness World Records which predominantly consist of accumulative Guinness World Records ("Guinness mosts", records formulated starting with "most") for total number of accomplishments and victories in swimming such as: most medals, consecutive number of medals, most medals within one tournament, most records in swimming etc.[334] It is the highest number of accumulative Guinness World Records held by an athlete.

  1. Most world records set for swimming (male)
  2. World Championships, Swimming - Most gold medals
  3. Most individual swimming Olympic gold medals
  4. Most medals won at the FINA Swimming World Championships
  5. Most Olympic gold medals in team swimming
  6. Most medals won at the Olympics for swimming (male)
  7. Most Men's World Swimmer of the Year Awards
  8. Most Olympic golds at one Games (male)
  9. Most searched for sportsman on the internet (current)
  10. Most gold medals won at the Olympics for an individual event (male)
  11. Most FINA world records held by an individual (current)
  12. Most Olympic medals won, Men
  13. Most consecutive Olympic swimming gold medals in the same event (male)
  14. Fastest swim long course 400 metres medley (male)
  15. Most gold medals won at the Olympics (male)
  16. Most individual Olympic medals (male)
  17. Most swimming Olympic medals won, men (single games)
  18. Most Olympic medals won (single games), men
  19. Most gold medals won at a single FINA World Championships (individual)
  20. Most silver medals awarded in a single Olympic swimming race
  21. Fastest swim short course relay 4 x 100 metres freestyle (male)
  22. Fastest swim long course relay 4 x 200 metres freestyle (male)
  23. Fastest swim long course relay 4 x 100 metres medley (male)

See also

References

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