1. Michael Phelps
Michael Phelps is a sporting phenomenon and soon became swimming’s first superstar following his heroic exploits at 2008’s Beijing Olympics. Holding the record for the most Olympic medals (22) and golds (18), Phelps took home a whopping eight golds in Beijing alone, breaking Mark Spitz’s record of seven golds in a single Olympics.
Add that to his six gold haul from Athens, four from London, and five from Rio, and the Baltimore native, who announced his retirement from the sport following his success at Rio, is the most decorated Olympian of all time and is regularly labeled ‘The Greatest’, an accolade unlikely to be replicated by another swimmer anytime soon.