WASHINGTON - While Michael Phelps is tearing it up at the Rio Olympics - his older sister is cheering him on at home.
The recently married Hilary Eldridge skipped the 2016 Games due to Zika concerns - but follows all of her swimming sensation brother's races.
She stopped by the GoodDayDC studio to talk about her brother's amazing accomplishments and about how one of his prized gold medals almost ended up being given away!
"As soon as that race was over, the first thing I thought was - this might be the most memorable swim," Hilary said. She says Michael’s victory on Tuesday in his signature race - the 200-meter butterfly - was so special because he has made strong personal and professional comebacks over the last two years. She could tell right away it meant a lot to Michael because of the way he celebrated after his victory.
"I think he earned it. He didn't freak out or yell. He just kind of…it was a very calm celebration, a very confident celebration," she said.
"I don’t know how he does it,” Hilary said when asked how Michael keeps from being distracted at the Olympic competitions. "I have no idea but that's what he said – 'It's just another swim meet.' I think a lot of athletes have that mentality and I think to be at that level - you have to have that mentality."
"You can't be psyched out by the fast swimmers around you and you can't get nervous at the 20,000 plus people in the stands cheering for you," she said. "You have to really go in and keep in mind why you're there. "
Hilary said she loved the #PhelpsFace attention and she even created a side-by-side photo of her brother and his new baby, Boomer! She said Michael’s new baby would wake up before each of his father’s races just in time to watch him.
She also loved the finger-wagging nod to fellow U.S. swimmer and Olympic gold medal winner Lilly King and enjoyed how fans yelling 'O' during the playing of the National Anthem cracked her brother up.
A competitive swimmer herself, Hilary said each of the Olympics has their own, unique feel: Sydney – The First. Athens – Fun. Beijing – Historic. London – Top Notch.
WHAT DOES MICHAEL DO WITH HIS MEDALS?
The most decorated athlete in Olympic history captured two more golds - the 20th and 21st of his record-breaking career - on Tuesday with wins in the 200-meter butterfly and as part of the winning four-by-200 relay team.
He now has 25 medals in all and three more races in Rio to add to his almost unimaginable total.
So where does he keep them all?
Hilary told us that not too long ago – she and mom Debbie Phelps were looking for one medal that for some reason wasn’t with the rest. Hilary said she got a text and picture from mom when she found out where it was - in a box slated to be donated to charity!
"We thought it was in one place – and someone else must have thought it was someplace else, and my mom was like, 'Oh my gosh, thank goodness I went through this box because look what I just found!'"
The funny thing was – Michael has won so many that they weren't sure which race it was from!
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