2012: A Phelps Odyssey

Tyler Durden's picture

The 2012 Olympics was shaping up as Ryan Lochte's breakout year, and in many respects it was. But more than anything, the London Olympics turned out to be the swan song of Michael Phelps, who hours ago completed his final Olympic event and retired from the sport of swimming where is now inducted in perpetuity into the swimming hall of fame with not only a record 18 Olympic gold medals, twice as many more as any other Olympian, in a career that stretches from Athens through Beijing and concludes with London, but a record 22 medals of all colors. What was Phelps final tally in the 2012 Olympics, how does that compare to Lochte's total, and how did the London Olympic swim times compare to Bejing? The infographic below will answer all questions.

Some more on Phelps' final blaze of glory in the pool.

 As if 22 medal ceremonies over the last three Olympics weren't enough, Michael Phelps was summoned back to the pool deck for one more accolade.

This time, he received a trophy rather than a medal, an award that sought to sum up a career like no other.


"To Michael Phelps," it said, "the greatest Olympic athlete of all time."


Too bad it was silver.


Gold was the only color for this guy.


In a final race that was more a coronation than a contest, Phelps headed into retirement the only way imaginable — with an 18th gold medal. Reclaiming the lead with his trademark butterfly stroke, the one seen in his Olympic debut as a 15-year-old in Sydney a dozen years ago, he capped off a mind-boggling career with a victory in the 4x100-meter medley relay Saturday.


"I've been able to do everything that I wanted," Phelps said.


When it was done, he hugged his teammates — Matt Grevers, Brendan Hansen and Nathan Adrian — before heading off the deck for the final time in his hip-hugging swimsuit. He waved to the crowd and smiled, clearly at peace with his decision to call it a career.


And what a career it was!


"I was able to really put the final cherry on top tonight, put all the whipped cream I wanted and sprinkles. I was able to top off the sundae," Phelps said. "It's been a great career. It's been a great journey. I can't be any more happy than I am."


Phelps retires with twice as many golds as any other Olympian, and his total of 22 medals is easily the best mark, too. He can be quite proud of his final Olympics as well, even though there were times he had trouble staying motivated after winning a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Games four years ago.


The 27-year-old could surely swim on for another Olympics, maybe two, but there's really no point.


"I told myself I never want to swim when I'm 30," Phelps said. "No offense to those people who are 30, but that was something I always said to myself, and that would be in three years. I just don't want to swim for those three years."


He hugged his longtime coach, Bob Bowman, who was teary eyed as he whispered three words that said it all, "I love you." Their partnership was formed 16 years ago, when Bowman took a gangly, hyperactive kid with an extraordinary gift and helped turn him into a swimmer the likes of which the world had never seen.


"Bob and I have somehow managed to do every single thing," Phelps said. "If you can say that about your career, there's no need to move forward. Time for other things."


Bouncing back from a disappointing first race in London, a fourth-place finish in the 400 individual medley, Phelps wound up with more medals than any other swimmer at the games: four golds and two silvers.


Sounds familiar.


"Honestly, the first race kind of took the pressure off," Bowman said. "If it's not going to go too well, we should at least have fun while we're here. That helped us relax a little bit, then he started swimming well in the relays and he picked it up again."


Grevers had the Americans in front on the opening backstroke leg, but Kosuke Kitajima put Japan slightly ahead going against Hansen in the breaststroke. Not to worry, not with Phelps going next.


He surged through the water in the fly, handing off a lead of about a quarter of a second to Adrian for the freesytle anchor. The Americans won going away in 3 minutes, 29.35 seconds, just off their own Olympic record from Beijing. Japan held on for silver in 3:31.26, with Australia taking the bronze in 3:31.68.


The U.S. men had never lost the medley relay at the Olympics, and they weren't about to now on the final night of swimming at the Olympic Aquatics Centre, on the final night for such a momentous athlete.


How momentous? The governing body of swimming, FINA, broke with Olympic protocol to present Phelps with an award recognizing his entire body of work. While a video montage played on the board, he made one more victory lap around the pool, even stopping off again at the medal podium he spent so much time on during the Olympics.

"Wow," he said. "I couldn't ask to finish on a better note."

Read more here.

We can only hope that unlike Lance Armstrong's retroactive humiliation, that no discoveries are made in the future regarding "collocated" stimulants, which detract from what has otherwise been a spectacular athletic lifetime achievement.

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Eireann go Brach's picture

Phelps will now attempt to legalize pot everywhere!

thatthingcanfly's picture

This joke will NEVER stop being funny.

Dr. Engali's picture

He didn't write that joke ..

Precious's picture

You didn't figure that out.

Thomas's picture

You didn't just realize that.

Element's picture

What? ... the Olympics were on? ... damn ... missed it again!

Tippoo Sultan's picture

The first phone call Phelps received was a congratulatory one, from his mother.

The second call was from the IRS, instructing Phelps where to remit the taxes owed on the prize value of his eighteen medals.

redpill's picture

He didn't earn that!

















Which begs the question, should one be taxably liable for something one supposedly did not earn?  Hmm

AldousHuxley's picture

swimming = white folks' track and field.


why so many medal events for same shit? styles, medleys, relays.....


olympics are simple way for rich countries to feel good about themselves being able to tell olympics committee which sports are included and which are not.

duo's picture

I guess it's on to banging 17 year old swimmers in the Olympic village next week.

Mr Pink's picture

One week every 4 years when every beer drinking, potato chip cramming, 401k loving dipshit gives a shit how fast some geek can swim...WHO THE FUCK CARES?! 

Ima anal sphincter's picture

I'm afraid I'll have to agree. I admire the athletes for training so hard, but I've got no interest in the games. To much media BS. I compare the Olympics to the Nobel Prize, a hollowed out shell of something that once was special.

Lore's picture



I'm just glad my town is not stuck with the bill.

The Olympics industrial complex is a scourge on taxpayers.

Pool Shark's picture



Too many damned swimming events: SEVENTEEN!

If you're a marathon runner, you work and train for a single chance at ONE gold medal. Same thing with soccer, boxing, basketball, vollyball, water polo and sailing. If you're a sprinter rather than a swimmer, you've got a chance for maybe TWO or THREE medals at most.

No wonder Phelps (like Mark Spitz before him) has so many medals; they have events for every distance and swim stroke you can imagine...

[P.S. yes, I am a swimmer...]

Bay of Pigs's picture

Yeah, and everyone can butterfly so easily...


DosZap's picture

If you're a marathon runner, you work and train for a single chance at ONE gold medal

Er', doesn't everyone pick the sport they wish to pursue?.Uh,yeah.

Would anyone pick a sport that would not give the best chance at winning?.Yeah, if they were stupid.

Genetics and hard work is the key to their success. Lots of folks were right on his ass,and he won by a mere blink, or less many times.

Give the man his due.HE earned it,unlike the Wall Street and Bankster crews.

zuuma's picture

I, for one, Am very tired of the over-exposed/hyped Mr. Phelps.

Talented? sure! Amazing, even.May he enjoy the apex of life, today.

For the ladies, looking at Phelps must be something like what a guy would think looking at Adriana Lima's body with Hillary Clinton's face.

Some great topography, but from the neck up... GA-A-A-A-A-AH

He'll be ticketed for DWI or possesion inside of 12 months.

max2205's picture

Difference between swimming and trading: Ben is not a judge

I am on to you's picture

The Goldmanpimp/olympicis.didnt se that either or is it Neither.

Camtender's picture

"The Chronic", Bitches

Spastica Rex's picture

Winners do so do drugs.

doomandbloom's picture

Lets smoke pot, bitchez

Dr. Engali's picture

I wonder what his tax bill will be for winning those medals.

Vendetta's picture

shouldn't be much, 6 grams of gold in the gold medal.  Last pure gold medals awarded in 1912, year before the squids of currency, the federal reserve, was slid into existence.

DosZap's picture

I wonder what his tax bill will be for winning those medals.

Why should there be tax on metals that the contents are almost worthless.

Approx 9k per Gold?.They have less than 5% gold in them.............silver, and base metal.

They should be solid Gold,Silver,and Bronze.The sacrifice and costs to these people who represent OUR NATION is mind boggling, not counting the years of work,self sacrifice it takes just to GET there,much less WIN any.

And the IRS should NEVER tax them,the costs incurred to attain those medals is 100x's + more than their value.

Bay of Pigs's picture

5%? No, 1.4% is more like it.


DosZap's picture

Cant read??.

 less than 5% gold

zuuma's picture

We are forgetting the cash prize included with the oversized, plated slugs the winners receive.

IIRC, gold medals winners get $25000 per medal.


So.. his taxes will be roughly $8500 each.  Much more if he lives in a high-tax, blue state.

The USA may be the only country that taxes Olympic winnings. Bahhhhhh!

gimli's picture

When I swim I make gaseous bubbles ..... actually they are reminiscent of FED policy.

Seasmoke's picture

Lochte parents house is in foreclosure......and he owes the IRS for winning some medals......SPLASH !

Precious's picture

Short sale "as is" due to strange yellow swimming pool.

beachdude's picture

The what? The Olympics?

Who cares?

RockyRacoon's picture

I was wondering when somebody was going to ask how to trade this information on Monday morning.

Your comment will do in its absence.

lolmao500's picture

The last hurrah of America before the downfall into the abyss.

jhalmos's picture

Unbelievable achievement. Not so sure he can be called the greatest Olympian though. He's got the quantity, that's for sure. But there are so many oportunities to win medals in swimming. And though it's one of the hardest sports, there's not a lot of skills he had to learn, say, compared to a decathelon competitor. Then again, his wins are broad within the sport. I'm torn. 

But this is ZH on a Saturday eve, so I have to say something trite and spell words like Chuck D but connect it to the collapsing American Fiat Empire, so...

Phelps gotz more gold on his mantle than Ft Knox gotz in it's basement, bitchez!


Monedas's picture

Yeah, he needs to join the Peace Corp and grow as a human being .... fuck you !

grunk's picture

Take a couple of years off to screw everything in sight. Then retire.

RobotTrader's picture

Phelps is now free to take an unlimited amount of steriods and pursue a career in some other sport where "the juice" is welcomed.

I bet that guy could muscle up to about 240 lbs. and swim the English Channel or Cuba to Miami or something.

10044's picture

You know, sometimes you just make "dumb" comments...like now

francis_sawyer's picture

You could take unlimited amount of stereoids too & have your dick shrivel up... Oh wait!

MinnesotaMD's picture

Take plenty of Gatorade G2 with ample azithromycin to fend off gonorrhea and chlamydia(at least the stuff that is still drug sensitive.

Wait till HIV mutates. Could claim all of our best divers, and a fair number of Bronies too.

putbuyer's picture

QE?  Bring back Marla music and fuck the bullshit