Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympics competitor of all time, currently holding over 20 medals, most of them gold. The 31-year-old swimmer is also the oldest swimmer to ever win gold. Phelps has delighted fans with his performance so far and made headlines with not only his story but his photos that feature odd circular bruises on his shoulders. Phelps’ last ever swim will take place on Saturday and all eyes are bound to be on him through the final splash.

Phelps’ Story

Phelps grew up in Maryland and began swimming at the age of seven. By the age of ten, he had won a national record for his age group and began training at the nearby North Baltimore Aquatic Club. At the age of 15, Phelps qualified for and competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics. He didn’t win a medal, but he made the finals. Since that time, Phelps has broken many records and won many competitions, proving over and over again that he is the world’s fastest swimmer.

Phelps’ Retirement and Comeback

In 2013, Phelps retired, saying that he wanted to be human again after the machine-like training he underwent leading up to the games. His performance in the 2012 Olympics lagged behind his performance in previous events, which may have had an impact on his decision. In 2014, however, Phelps changed his mind and came back out of retirement. Unfortunately, he was suspended for part of 2015 after getting a DUI. Now it seems that Phelps is back and better than ever, however.

Story of the Dark Circles

The dark circles that have been visible on Phelps’ shoulders have captured the attention of photographers and fans the world over. The bruises are not from Phelps’ falling asleep on his medals, however, as one journalist quipped. The circles come from a practice called cupping that supposedly promotes good circulation and eases soreness.

While cupping has not been scientifically proven to work, some claim that it eases insomnia, helps with recovering from rigorous physical trials, and can even help with cellulite. The practice has grown increasingly popular with A-listers and the dark circles have been spotted on stars such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Anniston in addition to several of the Olympic athletes at this years’ events. Doctors warn that cupping should only be performed by professionals, as it can cause injury if done improperly.

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