Michael Phelps' father, Fred Phelps, was seen cheering his son on at the Aquatics Center in London Thursday as his son won his unprecedented 20th Olympic medal.
At the London 2012 Games Phelps has set a new world record for being the most decorated Olympian in history. His mother, Debbie Phelps, has been a prominent figure in the stands cheering on her son at every opportunity, not missing a minute of the action. However, many earlier this week were left wondering where Phelps' father was?
He was finally featured on NBC coverage on Thursday evening looking proud as his son set a new benchmark in Olympic history.
Fred Phelps has taken a less prominent position watching his son at the Olympics, but he looked the proud father nonetheless in London on Thursday.
Debbie was shown prominently across networks cheering her son on in Tuesday's 200-meter butterfly, a race he hadn't lost in a major competition since 2001. He was leading all the way through until the final touch, when he was beaten by 0.01 seconds. Debbie was cheering as she thought her son had taken gold by she was quickly corrected by her friends and humbly changed to clap the winner and her son's silver.
Michael's two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary, have also been prominent supporters of their brother as he earned a record breaking 20th Olympic medal (with maybe still more to come!)
Fred Phelps has worked for the Maryland State Police, and he parted company with Michael's mother in 1993 when Michael was just nine years old. They became distanced, but have since come to a closer relationship, although one would not exactly call them particularly close.
Fred has remarried since his split with Michael's mother and now lives in Baltimore.
In 2004 Fred and Michael had a brief reconciliation at the Athens Olympic Games, where Phelps won 6 gold and 2 bronze medals. However, in Beijing in 2008 he didn't travel to China to watch, preferring to catch up on his son's record breaking feats on the television.
Although he did not attend the Beijing Games in 2008, father Fred did state the following in an interview around that time period, according to One India News:
"I'm very proud of him and all he's done. This is not about me, it's about him."
Since that time Fred has kept a low profile and prefers not to allow his disjointed relationship with his son distract the world from his son's amazing achievements. But he has been in London to cheer on his son and was shown being the proud father as his son claimed his 20th Olympic medal on Thursday with yet another gold.
Michael Phelps will be in action again on Friday looking to add another gold medal to his collection, and it would take a brave man to bet against him gaining his 21st Olympic medal, ensuring it will be a long time before anyone can come near his record.