Nobody in the pool has had more ups and downs in 2015 than Team USA’s Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. The 30-year-old endured a roller-coaster ride that included some of the biggest highlights and lowlights of his 15-year-career, both personally and professionally.
Here are five of Phelps’ most memorable highlights from 2015:
She Said Yes
In February, Phelps posted a picture to social media of he and his girlfriend Nicole Johnson, lying together in the snow with the caption “She said yes” to publicize their engagement. Johnson, 2010’s Miss California, had been dating Phelps on and off for eight years. The wedding is not expected to happen until after the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.
Trifecta Of World Bests At Nationals
While most of Team USA was competing at August’s FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, Phelps was more than 6,000 miles away making waves of his own with something to prove at the USA Swimming National Championships in San Antonio. Phelps went three-for-three at the meet, winning the 100-meter butterfly, 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley, all in times that would have been good enough to win world titles in Kazan. His 100 fly time of 50.45 seconds was almost a second faster than his gold-medal-winning time at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Exposing Himself To The Media
Phelps graced the cover of Sports Illustrated in early November, with the most candid interview of his storied career making headlines on social media around the world. Tim Layden’s exclusive feature article detailed the 18-time Olympic champion’s journey back to the top after his 45-day rehab stint and suspension from USA Swimming that followed a DUI arrest. In response to the article, Phelps received an outpouring of support from fans, who have since allowed him to redeem himself by his efforts in the pool.
It’s A Boy!
Phelps announced in November that Johnson was 12 weeks pregnant and the couple will welcome a baby boy prior to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Nearly 20 years of 4 a.m. wake-up calls for practice has helped prepare Phelps for the baby, and American teammate Missy Franklin immediately called dibs on babysitting the newborn via Twitter.
On The Right Track For Rio 2016
Less than two weeks after earning Male Athlete of the Year honors at the USA Swimming Foundation’s Golden Goggle Awards, Phelps won all three of his finals at the AT&T Winter National Championships in Federal Way, Washington, earlier this month. That brought his career total of national titles to 62. He began the three-day competition with a victory in the 200-meter individual medley before going on to claim the 100-meter butterfly title and run away with the 200-meter butterfly crown. He referred to his results as a solid stepping stone on the road to Rio 2016.
Stuart Lieberman covered Paralympic sports for three years at the International Paralympic Committee, including at the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Games. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.