For the 12th time in his career, legendary Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps appeared on the December 26th cover of “Sports Illustrated.” But this cover is special — he’s posing with all 23 of his Olympic gold medals — and all of that gold looks heavy.
Currently the most decorated athlete in Olympic history with a total of 28 career medals, Phelps is one of the most celebrated American athletes of all time.
Michael Phelps Net Worth: $55 Million
The freestyle has proven lucrative for Phelps … that and the butterfly, backstroke and breaststroke. With a career spanning 16 years, Phelps’ net worth is $55 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
His talent in the water has earned him millions, but rising to elite status comes with a hefty price tag. Top swimmers might earn prize money at races throughout the year, but they’re still faced with lofty training expenses.
Bloomberg estimated the annual cost of a swim club membership ranges from $1,500 to $3,000, equipment runs $500 per year and traveling to swim meets three or four times per year can total $4,000 to $5,000 per trip — in addition to other probable expenses, such as physical therapy and sports psychology.
The 31-year-old made his first Olympic appearance at the Sydney Summer Games in 2000, but did not medal. In total, Phelps has swam in five Olympics.
Phelps was named one of the team captains of the U.S. Olympic swim team for the Rio Games in 2016. Despite his many gold medals and records, Rio was the first Olympics where he was a team captain.
Michael Phelps Celebrates Personal Milestones
Phelps and his wife, 31-year-old Nicole Johnson, were first secretly married in an intimate ceremony in June — right before the Olympics — then the couple had a big beach wedding in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Oct. 29. The couple also has a 7-month-old son, Boomer Robert Phelps.
In 2015, Phelps purchased a $2.5 million home in Paradise Valley, Arizona so he could train for the Olympics with USA Swimming and Arizona State University head coach, Bob Bowman. The home is 6,010 square feet with five bedrooms, 6.5 baths and poolside views of the desert mountains.
Michael Phelps’ Endorsements and Sponsorships
Phelps’ many Olympic wins over the years have landed him major corporate sponsors. Brands the swimmer represents or has in the past include:
- Under Armor
- Radio Shack
- Call of Duty
- Head & Shoulders
Phelps also posed for Wheaties, Corn Flakes and even Louis Vuitton. More recently, he’s promoted KRAVE Jerky on Instagram and has a partnership with Aqua Sphere, a swimming equipment manufacturer he’s partnered with to launch the MP brand.
After Phelps won his eighth Olympic gold medal in 2008, he reportedly earned a $1 million bonus from then-sponsor Speedo. He put that bonus toward the Michael Phelps Foundation, which offers water-safety courses and swim training, according to an interview he did on “TODAY.”
Phelps announced that the 2016 Rio Olympics would be his last. He has current plans to mold young swimmers as a volunteer assistant coach at ASU, but fans hope he’ll surprise everyone with a comeback in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. After all, he might want to make it an even 30.
Laura Woods contributed to the reporting for this article.