I have to begin this by saying I think he is making a mistake not to train for Rio De Janiero Brazil in 2016. He is only 27 now and would only be 31. I am positive he could still add to his medal count and I wish he would. Truly the greatest Olympic swimmer of all time, and the greatest Olympian of all time. He made it to the 2000 Olympics in Sydney Australia at the age of 15. He came in 5th place in the 200 meter butterfly. Fifteen! About a year later, while still 15, he broke the World Record in that event. Incredible. In 2004, at the age of 19, he made it to the Olympics in Athens Greece and began his medal count. Here are his medals from that Olympics. 400 Meter Individual Medley, Gold (World Record) 4 x 100 Meter Relay, Bronze (Lead swimmer was sick and turned in the worst time of the race) 200 Meter Freestyle, Bronze 200 Meter Butterfly, Gold (Olympic Record) 4 x 200 Meter Freestyle Relay, Gold 200 Meter Individual Medley, Gold (Olympic Record) 100 Meter Butterfly, Gold 4 x 100 Meter Medley Relay, Gold (He allowed the same sick swimmer above to swim his leg to get his Gold. He beat that same swimmer by 4/100ths of a second int he 100 Meter Butterfly) On to Beijing China in 2008 at the age of 23, where he turned in the greatest performance in Olympic history. Not only did he eclipse Mark Spitz's Olympic Record of 7 Gold Medals in a single Olympic Games, he did it by adding to his World Record totals. Here are his Medals from that Olympics. 400 Meter Individual Medley, Gold (World Record) 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay, Gold (World Record) 200 Meter Freestyle, Gold (World Record) 200 Meter Butterfly, Gold (World Record) 4 x 200 Meter Freestyle Relay, Gold (World Record) 200 Meter Individual Medley, Gold (World Record) 100 Meter Butterfly, Gold (Olympic Record) 4 x 100 Meter Medley Relay, Gold, (World Record) 8 Gold Medals, 7 World Records, and an Olympic Record in one Olympics. By far, the most incredible performance in Olympic History, in my opinion. Finally, London England, 2012, at the age of 27. Here is his medal count. 4 x 100 Meter Freestyle Relay, Silver 200 Meter Butterfly, Silver 4 x 200 Meter Freestyle Relay, Gold 200 Meter Individual Medley, Gold 100 Meter Butterfly, Gold 4 x 100 Meter Medley Relay, Gold Here is a list of this man's accomplishments. 22 Olympic Medals (4 more than Russian Gymnast Larissa Latynina, who was on hand in London and wanted to present Phelps with #19 but was not allowed to.) 18 Gold Medals (double the next highest winner) 11 Individual Golds, 7 Relay Golds 6 times World Male Swimmer of the Year 39 World Records set (only talking about swimming times), 7 still stand. (29 in individual races, 10 in relays) 71 Medals in Major Event Competitions. (57 Gold, 11 Silver, 3 Bronze) In Baseball when Babe Ruth came along and shattered records people described it as "Ruthian." It is a description that those obsessed with sports understand. It literally means lapping the field essentially. The record for home runs in a season had been 27 until 1919 when Ruth hit 29. In 1920 Ruth hit 54 round trippers, double the previous mark and the word Ruthian was born. What Michael Phelps has done in the swimming world is Ruthian. Perhaps someone will coin the word Phelpsian. Maybe someone already has. Regardless of whether that ever happens, we just witnessed the close of one of the greatest sports stories of all time if he truly is going to hang up his goggles. He is doing something that all athletes sort of aspire to and at the same time hope never arrives. He is going out on top. I wish he wouldn't because I am selfish. I'd like to see how far he can take the records.