Birthplace: Baltimore, MD
Weight: 195 lbs.
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Passions: Football, music, video games and hanging with his English Bulldog, Herman.
Fred was a good athlete, and passed his ability on to his kids. All three got into swimming at an early age. Hilary showed real promise, particularly in the butterfly, but eventually gave up the sport. Whitney stuck with it much longer. One of the better swimmers in her area, she tried out for the U.S. Olympic team in 1996 at the age of 15. Michael was among those in attendance to cheer her on. When Whitney didn't qualify, he was left devastated like the rest of the family. Ultimately, her career was cut short by a series of herniated disks.
Michael learned a lot from his sisters, particularly the value of hard work. Hilary started swimming the year he was born, and Michael spent many afternoons in a stroller watching her practice. He eventuall followed both sisters into the pool, though initially with great hesitancy. As a seven-year-old, he refused to put his face in the water. Sensing Michael’s fear, his instructors allowed him to float around on his back. No surprisingly, the first stroke he mastered was the backstroke.
hough he had qualified for America's 4 x 100-meter medley relay, Michael gave up his spot to teammate Ian Crocker, who he had beaten in the 100-meter butterfly. The relay was Crocker's last chance to earn a gold, and Michael felt he deserved the opportunity. Crocker was nearly speechless with admiration when he learned the news. With Michael in the stands cheering loudly, the Americans cruised to victory. Despite not swimming, Michael was awarded a gold nonetheless.
Six golds and two bronzes—not a bad week's work. And Michael's unselfish gesture on Crocker's behalf bolstered his already sterling reputation. His Olympic bounty also promised new riches, including a likely deal from McDonald's. (In an interview with Bob Costas after he finished competing, Michael said he couldn't wait to chow down on a big breakfast from the fast-food giant.)