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Phelps, the Phenom

August 13, 2008

Michael Phelps was just 11 when his coach Bob Bowman called in his parents for a serious talk about their son's future. He told them the boy could become an Olympic champion if he just applied himself.

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  • At a very young age it was clear that Phelps, who on Wednesday became the first Olympian to win 14 career gold medals, was destined for great things.

    "It was mainly his physical talent and real competitiveness that stood out," Bowman said, recalling what had caught his eye in his mischievous charge.

  • Is Phelps the greatest Olympian? Have your say!
  • Did you know? Phelps comes from a broken home in Baltimore. His policeman father Fred and school teacher mother Debbie separated when he was only seven. Elder sister Whitney, also a swimmer, has written that she used the swimming pool as a refuge from the yelling.

    Photograph: Getty Images | Text: Reuters

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