Michael Phelps: Shaving your back and behind your knees

In the spring of 2001, Michael Phelps became the youngest man to break a swimming world record. Later that same year he rebroke his mark and won the World title in the 200-meter butterfly. Now Phelps is stretching out into other events, like the 200m and 400m individual medley, 100m butterfly and the 200m freestyle. At the 2002 Summer Nationals, Phelps, now 17, shattered the American record in the 200m IM with the third-fastest time in history.

Shaving your back and behind your knees

Tip #1 – Don’t push too hard
“Don’t press too hard,” said Phelps, moments after breaking the U.S. record in the 200m IM. “I cut myself big time this time. You don’t want to shave too much skin off. You don’t want to go down too deep.”

Tip #2 – What about your back
“Someone else does my back and the back of my knees too, I can’t reach down there. Get someone you know. Someone you are close with. One of my friends on the team takes care of my back shaving needs.”

Tip #3 – When do you shave at a meet
“I shave the day before the meet … so when you get in the water the next day, you feel unbelievable. If you shave a few days before, then get in the water, you won’t feel as good as you do if you shave the day before.”

Tip #4 – The meet you should shave for
“The biggest one of the season. Whatever your biggest meet of the season is. I shave twice a year … for both Nationals. When I go to Pan Pacs, that will be another one, so two or three times a year. Pretty much every six months.

Tip #5 – Foam or gel?
“The gel. I like the smell of it. I don’t want any of that girl stuff. It just smells good and I’ve always used it. And it works on my face even though I don’t shave very much, but still I’ve stuck with it.”

What about the Nair? You rub it on and the hair falls off?
“I heard that was true. I don’t want to say any names, but someone at Olympic Trials had it and they had bad razor burn, so I’m not going to try it.”

What do you remember about your first shave?
“It was kind of strange. I was young, I think I was 12 or 13 when I shaved. I mean I really didn’t have too much hair then. It was strange, but being a swimmer it was a natural thing.

What’s your worst nick story?
“That,” he said, pulling up the sleeve of his left arm. “I destroyed my left forearm.” The scrape is about an inch long and a quarter-of-an-inch wide. “I sort of destroyed it a little bit. It hurt a little bit.”

So a good tip would be?
Tip #6 – Pay attention
“Make sure you pay attention, because I definitely wasn’t.”

This article originally appeared on usolympicteam.com.
To follow U.S. Olympic athletes today, visit teamusa.org.

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