If Michael Phelps were a country…

He’d rank No. 35 on the all-time Olympic gold medal list, ahead of 97 nations.

Michael Phelps is arguably the greatest Olympian ever. Some might argue that Usain Bolt, Carl Lewis or Nadia Comaneci have a claim. But for sheer numbers of medals claimed, there is a clear, hands-down winner: Michael Phelps. Even given the fact that Phelps practices a sport in which extremely capable athlete can bag golds across different distances and strokes, his feats still blow away those of any other sportsperson.

Phelps has 28 medals in total: his 23 gold medals are more than double the count of his nearest rivals, and its not as if other swimmers have accrued silly numbers of medals, either. Apart from Spitz, Matt Biondi (USA, eight golds) and Jenny Thompson (USA, eight golds), no other swimmer worldwide has managed more than six gold medals in total. 23 is astonishing.

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