Michael Phelps of the U.S. kisses his 19th Olympic medal presented to him in the men's 4x200m freestyle relay victory ceremony during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Aquatics Centre July 31, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Michael Dalder)
Michael Phelps is now a historical figure in the OIympic Pantheon, but one of the most captivating moments in the Olympics thus far has been Chad Le Clos’ father adulating the Olympian after defeating Phelps. The result: people started inquiring about Phelps’ own father too, Mr. Fred Phelps.
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Who is Fred Phelps?
Fred Phelps has been a member of the Maryland State Police for years. He and Michael’s mother Debbie were divorced in 1993 when Michael was just nine years old and the relationship of the father and son grew distant. More recently, Michael and Fred have been on closer speaking terms but reports indicate that they are still not particularly close.
Since the divorce, Fred has remarried and now lives in Baltimore.
During the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Fred and Michael had a brief reconciliation. Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals at those games. However, Fred did not travel to Beijing in 2008 to China to watch his son break more records.
Since that time Fred has maintained a relatively low profile until now that he has made his appearance in London to cheer on his son.
Other notable parents at the Olympic games include Chad Le Clos' father who erupted with joy during a BBC interview and stated that his son’s win was “Unbelievable". "Unbelievable! I have never been so happy in my life … I mean, what happened tonight is like I died and went to heaven.. This is unbelievable — look at him! And he’s beautiful! Look at what a beautiful boy, look at this, look at how ugly I look!”, the father said.
Another notable appearance by an Olympic parents were those of by American gymnast Aly Raisman. Both parents were seen ducking, weaving and wincing as they watched their daughter perform her bar routine during team qualifiers. The video has already gone viral.
U.S. Olympic gymnast John Orozco’s mother could not bare to watch her son’s routine during another memorable moment in these games. Damaris was seen keeping her eyes firmly shut while her husband sat beside her with a pair of binoculars. After her son’s routine, she opened her eyes, an expression of relief dominating her visage.
Even the Royal Family has been in attendance to root on family members. Olympic equestrian Zara Phillips, the granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II and daughter Princess Anne a silver medal to become the member of the British royal family to win an Olympic Medal. Princess Anne was on hand to watch her daughter win.
And for those in the mood for some historical parents making an impact at the Olympics, let us go back to 1992 in Barcelona when Derek Redmond's father ran onto the tracking to help his son finish the race. Redmond was a favorite in the games despite sustaining a plethora of injuries. He entered the games in top form but during the race his hamstring snapped and he collapsed. The runner got up and limped to the finish line but not before his father ran onto the track and helped his son finish. All the more moving was the sight of a devastated Redmond being held by his father after such a tremendous setback.