Michael Phelps' ride into the sunset during the 2016 Olympics was a legendary one, as the 31-year-old secured five gold medals and one silver in six events before re-affirming to the world that the Rio Games will indeed be his last.
But it turns out that even the all-time leader in Olympic sports with 23 gold medals once lost to someone you might not suspect.
As we discussed in 2012, Phelps, Ryan Lochte and fellow future Olympian Milorad Cavic were all bested in the pool in 1995 by an unlikely source – NBA journeyman and current Hawks forward Kris Humphries.
It's not like Phelps was a late bloomer either. He went on to make first Olympic appearance as a 15-year-old in 2000. But simply put, the 10-year-old Humphries was a bona fide swimming superstar. Humphries held the nation's fastest times for his age group in six different individual events in 1995, and he still holds 12 Minnesota event records across different age brackets to this day.
And even more impressively, Humphries dominated Phelps at his own strengths. Via results from USA Swimming in 1995, Humphries outdid Phelps as the nation's best in the 10U age group in the 50-meter butterfly – Phelps proceeded to win six of his 13 individual Olympic gold medals in butterfly races. Humphries also had a sizable 5.95 second edge on Phelps in the 200-meter individual medley, an event in which Phelps has placed first in four consecutive Olympics.
So what went wrong for Humphries' swimming career?
"I was so good at a young age that I got a little burnt out," Humphries told People Magazine in 2010. "I also grew up in the Michael Jordan era ... for me, I watched [basketball] and saw it as a challenge. It's hard to stay focused on something when you have a ton of success at a young age, so I picked up basketball a little later and rolled with that."
We can't say things have gone terribly for Humphries. He has been in the world's best basketball league since 2004, with a pair of double-double seasons in 2010-11 and 2011-12 with the Nets, and career earnings of more than $58 million.
But as he watches live on television as "The Star-Spangled Banner" repeatedly plays with Phelps' familiar face on the podium, it has to be impossible not to wonder "what if?"
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