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Michael Phelps Ryan Lochte 2004 Olympics
Reuters/Michael Leckel, Reuters/Marcos Brindicci
Cheering poolside in 2004 and 2016
LAST SPLASH

Photos: Michael Phelps at his earliest Olympics, and today

By Johnny Simon

The Rio Olympics have been another display of Michael Phelps and the swimming team’s dominance. He’s pocketed three gold medals with more events left to complete. It is also his farewell to Olympic competition. At 31 years old, he is not expected to swim in Tokyo in 2020.

Through his five Olympic appearances he’s progressed from one of the youngest American Olympians ever during his debut at 15 in Sydney, to the most decorated in history with 25 medals, 21 of those gold, as of Aug. 11.

Take a look back at some of his earliest Olympic and other international competitions and contrast them with his performance today.

Getty/Allsport/Ross Kinnaird, Reuters/Pilar Olivares
(Above) Phelps swimming in Sydney in 2000. (Below) Phelps in the pool on Aug. 10, in Rio di Janiero.
AP/Mark J. Terrill, Reuters/Marcos Brindicci
(Left) With an early gold medal (and laurel) in Athens in 2004. (Right) After medaling on Aug. 9 in Rio.
Reuters/Stringer, Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler
(Left) Phelps outside the pool at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in 2001. (Right) With cupping bruises in Rio.
Getty/Nick Wilson, Reuters/Dominic Ebenbichler
Celebrating poolside in Fukuoka, Japan in 2001 after setting a new world record and in Rio.