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A vibrant portrait of American swimmer Michael Phelps—the dominant athlete at the 2004 Olympics—who has relentlessly pushed himself, promoted his sport, and appears poised to ultimately accumulate the most gold medals in Olympic history
Before he was old enough to have a driver's license, Michael Phelps had a world record. Before he ever took a college class or turned 20, he had earned distinction by winning 8 medals—6 gold and 2 bronze—at the Athens Olympics, the most in non-boycotted Games. Along the way, he captivated an American television audience and confounded the critics who questioned his ambition.
• provides the most revealing look yet at a young man who became a world-class athlete before he had the chance to grow up—by respected Baltimore Sun journalist Paul McMullen, who followed Phelps's rise from an obscure 14-year-old to the most scrutinized competitor at the world's biggest sporting event
• details the plotting of his career, from turning professional at age 16, to the management of the first crises he encountered
Paul McMullen's 5 years of observation add dramatic context to the life of a young athlete whose rise to prominence coincided with the tumult of the first Summer Olympics after 9/11. No Olympian has ever earned 10 gold medals in a career, but Michael Phelps is on pace to achieve that milestone at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.