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Five facts about Michael Phelps

August 17, 2008 12:19 IST

Five facts about American swimmer Michael Phelps [Images] who won his eighth gold medal in Beijing [Images], an Olympic record for a single Games, on Sunday:

* Phelps comes from a broken home in Baltimore. His policeman father Fred and school teacher mother Debbie separated when he was only seven. Elder sister Whitney, also a swimmer, has written that she used the swimming pool as a refuge from the yelling.

* When he was 10, Phelps attended the 1996 Olympic Trials to support sister Whitney. She finished sixth in the 200m butterfly final and failed to make the team. The family cried in the stands. Whitney's career was cut short by four herniated discs.

* In December 2004, Phelps was sentenced to 18 months probation after failing a drink driving test. A judge ordered him to abstain totally from alcohol and illegal drugs during his probation and attend a victim impact panel meeting sponsored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

* When Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe said he did not think anyone could win eight races at a single Olympics [Images], Phelps memorised the quote to motivate him for Beijing. He hung a poster of Ian Crocker above his bed after his team mate beat him at the 2003 world championships, to help motivate him for Athens.

* Phelps listens to hip hop and rap to help him get focused before a race, downloading tracks on his MP3 player. Among his favourites is American rapper Young Jeezy.

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