Sunday, August 17, 2008

Michael Phelps - The Greatest Olympian Ever

For those who STILL don't know who Michael Phelps is, let me tell you that he is a 23 year old lad from Baltimore, USA. His family history is not great like that of Abhinav Bindra, for whose one gold medal there is so much hue and cry all over the country (No offences please). Phelps comes from a broken home in Baltimore. His policeman father Fred and school teacher mother Debbie separated when he was only seven. Elder sister Whitney, also a swimmer, has written that she used the swimming pool as a refuge from the yelling. Michael Phelps was just eleven when his coach Bob Bowman called in his parents for a serious talk about their son's future. He told them the boy could become an Olympic champion if he just applied himself. Now, as a result, his career Olympic tally goes to whopping 14 gold medals (5 more than anybody else) and 2 bronze medals. (6 gold, 2 bronze in Athens, 2004 and 8 gold in Beijing, 2008).

The thing which makes this achievement even bigger is that, before landing in Beijing for the Olympics, he claimed that this time, unlike Athens, he will bag all 8 gold medals in every category he will take part. Mark Spitz, the legend from USA, currently having the record of 7 gold medals in one Olympics (total of 9) mocked his claim as "It is impossible for any living being to even equal my record of Munich, 1972". Now the same Spitz, after Phelps' feat exclaimed "Epic Performance!".

"It's been nothing but an upwards rollercoaster but it's been nothing but fun," Phelps said at his moment of triumph. "The biggest thing is nothing is impossible ... With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination.". What a sportsperson he is. All theories failed infront of him.

Now, let me tell you the secret of his success... In order to fuel his body for a gruelling six-days-a-week, five-hours-a-day training regime, the 23-year-old devours a whopping 12,000 calories per day, six times the recommended intake for a normal adult male. He claimes that he has not even taken a break from the training schedule even for Christmas for 10 years now. Same schedule for the last 10 years... and Yes !! it has paid off well to him. Evidently, Phelps recently told NBC that all he does is, "Eat, sleep and swim," he wasn't lying!

Atlast, for all those chaps who think the main reason for Indian Athletes not bringing home any medals, is that they don't have rich fathers (like Abhinav Bindra), Michael Phelps is a living example. Hats off to this young legend, and he is only 23. No one knows how many Olympic golds are waiting for him in future. Lets wait for the next Olympics... :)

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