Hilary Phelps, Michael's sister, part of long family tradition
As the 2012 Summer Olympic Games officially get underway in London on Friday, the eyes of many will be on record-breaking American swimmer and Baltimore native Michael Phelps.
One of the many in the stands cheering him on as he attempts to make more history this year will be Hilary Phelps, who Michael says is much more than just the sister of a gold-medal winning athlete.
While a highly-publicized picture of Hilary cheering loudly for her brother made the rounds - Ryan Seacrest even tweeted that she will "outcheer you someday" - she says that while she gets caught up in moments, she never gets starstruck.
"It's always just my brother," Hilary said. "I forget that he's a highly accomplished athlete."
Michael, though, isn't the only one who's more than comfortable in the water. Hilary held three school records at the University of Richmond and now works with the Michael Phelps Foundation, which brings swimming and water safety into underserved neighborhoods. She also serves as a swim coach for wounded warriors at the Warrior Games.
She says that the idea of being safe around water is why the entire family got into swimming.
"My mom wanted us to have the water safety component in our lives, and now we're able to bring that to children," Hilary said.
Her other passion is the work she does exploring fashion, fitness, wellness and culture on HilaryPhelps.com, her website and blog. She came up for the idea while training for an Ironman triathlon a few years ago.
However, that all gets put aside for the next few days while her brother pursues an unprecedented record. If he wins three more medals in London, he'll be the single most decorated Olympian in history.
Once the family leaves, though, they'll start a life without swim meets and training.
"What it really means for our family is the end of an era," she said. "I was swimming at 7, my sister followed, and Michael didn't have a choice but to swim."
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