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Milorad Čavić is a swimmer competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Serbia.

Milorad Čavić nearly played the spoiler to Michael Phelps' record quest in Beijing. Čavić appeared to have Phelps beat in the 100m butterfly, Phelps' final individual event, but Phelps out-touched him by .01 of a second, the closest result possible. Čavić was ahead of Phelps but glided to the wall and Phelps took a half stroke. Still, Čavić said he wasn't disappointed. "I'm stoked with what happened," he said after the race. "I'm very happy."

Čavić and Phelps had a nearly identical 100m butterfly final at the 2009 World Championships in Rome. Čavić took the early lead before Phelps stormed back in the second half, taking the lead just before the finish and out-touching the Serb by 0.13 seconds. Čavić had challenged Phelps to wear the latest high-tech racing suit for the race but he declined, opting instead to wear his Speedo LZR from 2008.

Čavić had spinal surgery in 2010 to repair two herniated disks, forcing him to miss the season and part of 2011, and the procedure set him back so far that he was unable to advance out of the heats. Čavić showed better form at the British Swimming Trials earlier this year, however, swimming as a guest and recording a solid time of 52.21 seconds en route to gold.

Čavić was born and raised in California but swims for Serbia. He was born in Anaheim, grew up in Irvine, went to college at Cal and now lives and trains in Michigan. Čavić, who goes by Mike in the U.S., was sixth in the 100m butterfly at the 2007 World Championships and won the non-Olympic 50m fly at the 2008 European Championships in European record time. He was confident he could contend for a medal in the 100m fly in Beijing. "I was third overall in the world in 2007 in the 100 fly. I think it's a very realistic goal to win a medal in the 100 butterfly," he said.

Čavić created controversy by wearing a shirt that said "Kosovo is Serbia" on the medal podium after winning the 50 fly at the 2008 Euros, referring to Kosovo's declaration of independence. He was suspended for the remainder of the event. LEN, the European governing body, said the shirt "constitutes a clear political action" that violated competition rules. The Serbian swimming federation was also fined $10,800. Čavić was "devastated" by the ban and said he was just trying to send "positive energy" to the country he represents. "I didn't do it to provoke anger, I didn't do it to provoke violence," he said. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said, "Our entire country is proud of Milorad Čavić's victory."

Čavić also competed in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics, but didn't make the finals either time. In Athens, he advanced to the semifinals of the 100 fly but said a suit malfunction did him in. "Everything was going perfect for the first 50 meters until I hit the wall, and like a shirt, these suits are like regular clothing," he said. "When I came into the wall, the suit opened up and water was sucked in. When I was kicking underwater, I went from first to eighth. So instead of extending the lead, I fell back, and I didn't qualify for finals. This is a really big mistake. These are mistakes that an elite athlete should not be making. It was just very painful."

Čavić started swimming in Southern California at age 9. His parents grew up in Yugoslavia and moved to America in 1983. Milorad was born a year later. He says he first started thinking about competing in the Olympics at age 15, a year before the Sydney Games. "At the time I wasn't good enough to swim for the U.S., and I thought it would be a good opportunity to try to get on the Olympic team with Yugoslavia. All throughout my childhood, my parents really instilled Serbian value and culture in me. In 2001 I won the Junior Euro championships, and I saw a positive reaction from my swimming results and started to see changes in swimming there. Most swimmers know that you're never going to be come rich or make money off this sport ... but I've made it a personal goal of mine to improve swimming and also put Serbia on the map when it comes to swimming."

"I do get recognized (in Serbia)," he said. "It's the most rewarding, coolest thing in the world. I just got my first billboard in the center of Belgrade, and it's just the coolest thing. A telecom company, it says 'Together to Beijing.' I've always wanted a billboard, I feel arrogant saying that, but it's just the coolest thing."

Čavić's brother, Daniel, played college basketball at the University of San Francisco. His father is 6-3 and his mother is nearly 6 feet.


How tall is Milorad Čavić? How old is Milorad Čavić? Where does Milorad Čavić live? Find out here.

Age: 32 years old
Birthday: May 31, 1984
Height: 6' 5"
Weight: 205 lbs.
Birthplace: Anaheim, CA
Hometown: Tustin, CA
Current Residence: Islamorada, FL

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