Michael Phelps Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

BALTIMORE, Maryland, December 2. A day after breaking the record for most career World Swimmer of the Year titles with five from Swimming World, Michael Phelps transcended to an even higher level to become the first swimmer to be named Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.

The award began in 1954 with Roger Bannister of Great Britain earning the award after being the first runner to complete a mile under four minutes. Since its inception, no athlete from an aquatic sport has ascended to this lofty thrown.

Phelps shattered that glass ceiling with an Olympic performance for the ages. He broke Mark Spitz' record of seven gold medals in a single Olympiad with eight, and became the most lauded Olympian ever by ending the 2008 Beijing Games with 14 gold medals.

Full text of Sports Illustrated article.