And, yes, I have met and shaken hands with Michael Phelps — 2 weeks before the US team left for Beijing. I have his autograph on a blue Speedo shirt next to Natalie Coughlin, Katie Hoff, and over a dozen others. I met Amanda Beard and had her sign a poster for me.
Phelps is an American swimmer who, at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, broke the record for the number of gold medals won at a single Olympics. He won gold in every one of his eight events, surpassing American swimmer Mark Spitz’s seven-gold performance at the 1972 Munich Olympics. In seven of his races, Phelps set world records. Combined with the six gold and two bronze medals he won in Athens in 2004, Phelps has a total of 16 Olympic medals, two shy of the record held by the 18 Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina won over three Olympics, including nine gold.