“If you want to be the best, you have to do things that other people aren’t willing to do.”
When 16 years ago during the Olympic Games held in Sydney, the name of the 15-year-old American boy was announced in the pool, it drew the attention of very few people. Meanwhile, he then held a record, becoming the youngest male to make a U.S. Olympic swim team in 68 years. While Michael Phelps did not win a medal, he did make the finals and finished fifth in the 200-meter butterfly.
Only four years later, an amazing story on the American swimmer and the Olympic Gold was crafted in “gold letters”. In Athens, he was already unstoppable. His arms span and bullet-speed would leave his rivals no chance. “The Baltimore Bullet”, as the fans called him, became the winner in different swimming styles and set new world and Olympic records.
Yet in early childhood, he was diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and in order to provide him with an outlet for his energy he started swimming. At the age of 19, he became a six-time Olympic champion. It seems that Phelps reached his success so easily; however, relentless pursuit of perfection drove him to ever-higher levels of achievement.
The six Olympic gold medals served as a milestone for the legend-to-be. Four years later Phelps arrived in Beijing with a single goal – to overcome the seemingly unreachable heights. He is fond of repeating, “Dream as big as you can dream, and anything is possible …” And he dreamt of a thing no one had ever achieved and his dreams came true. Michael became the first athlete in history to get eight gold medals in a single Olympic Games.
After Beijing, many thought Phelps was vulnerable coming into the event in London four years later. Phelps’s statement on that he would never do eight events again only worsened the situation. The International press was filled with articles stating “Michael Phelps may no longer be the best”, however, the American athlete got seven more medals, four of these being world records.
After London, Phelps personally admitted that he was thinking about leaving the sport. Phelps’ respectable age and lack of motivation could deprive the world of the performances of the “Flying Fish”. Nevertheless, fortunately, the American swimmer changed his mind and arrived at Rio. It was another chance to prove he was simply the best. Winning five gold and one silver medal, Phelps commemorated his standing as the most decorated (28 medals) Olympian of all time. Moreover, Phelps also holds the all-time records for Olympic gold medals (23).
We can endlessly enumerate Phelps’ achievements. “I want to test my maximum and see how much I can do. To try and change the sport of swimming,” Phelps said. This goal was partially achieved. He reached his maximum, but could not change the sport of swimming. He crafted a new story of swimming with “gold letters”. Years later ballads would be devoted to him, movies shot and legends told about him, his records would not be broken for years. The Olympic Games without Phelps would be the same as a king without his crown and throne.
There are many professions in the world, many great specialists in their field, but it is only Phelps, next to whose name we can confidently write, “Profession: Olympic Champion”.