It's safe to say that Michael Phelps has had one of the greatest Olympic careers of all time, not only as a swimmer but also as an Olympic athlete across all sports. With his potential return for the 2016 Rio Games, it's worth taking a look back at his illustrious career.

Over the course of four Olympic Games (2000, '04, '08 and '12), Phelps won 22 medals; 18 gold, two silver and two bronze. His wins mark him as the most decorated Olympian of all time.

It's especially amazing when one considers that Phelps started his Olympic career at 15 as the youngest athlete on the American side during the 2000 Sydney Games. He finished fifth in his only race that year.

Here's an interesting statistic from SwimVortex's round up of Phelps career:

Phelps’s 22 medals rank in the top 60 nations in modern Olympic history. Karen Crouse at the New York Times pointed that and this out in London: his 18 golds would put him No. 36, just ahead of Argentina. His golden tally falls just one gold shy of what the whole of Britain claimed in Beijing to finish fourth nation overall across all sports.

Despite retiring after the 2012 London Games, Phelps is attempting a comeback for the 2016 Rio Games. However, it has been a rocky ride for the star swimmer.

If he does make it back and does win the 100m butterfly or the 200m medley he would be become the fourth Olympian to win the same event across four successive Games. Read More