There was the screaming fit when he was little because he feared putting his face in the water, the broken home, his attention deficit—and even at this summer’s Olympics, the waterlogged goggles and two races he won by a second or less. Ahead lies Phelps’ goal of raising the profile of swimming in America.
But also, a reminder of the payoff:
“It’s fun,” he says.
— Adapted from “Phelps Makes History With 8th Gold Medal,” Associated Press, and various reports.