Sure, the six Olympic gold medals were nice and his anointing in Athens as one of the greatest swimmers of all time wasn't hard to take, either.
But now comes the ultimate accolade for Michael Phelps: He gets his mug on a box of Wheaties, the legendary "Breakfast of Champions."
According to an announcement made by the cereal company yesterday in Athens, Phelps, the 19-year-old record-breaker from Rodgers Forge, will join two fellow gold medalists, gymnastics champion Carly Patterson and sprinter Justin Gatlin, on special-edition packages of Wheaties due out in mid-September.
Phelps, who won eight Olympic medals, including two bronze medals, and swam in 17 races in Athens, was starting his post-Olympic "Disney's Swim With the Stars" tour at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., yesterday and was unavailable to comment on this latest accomplishment.
The three new Wheaties boxes continue the company's long tradition of honoring great American athletes. Other Olympic stars who have appeared on Wheaties boxes include track stars Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, decathlon champion Bruce Jenner and gold-medal gymnast Mary Lou Retton.