Michael Phelps from Alcoholics Anonymous to The Olympics!

Michael Phelps from Alcoholics Anonymous to The Olympics!

Featured Image: Olympics.org

 

The young American swimmer Michael Phelps is known as the greatest Olympian of all time. The very mention of his name brings to mind his 21 gold medals, but what people don’t bother to think about is the journey that led up to this enormous success.

What we learn from Michael Phelps is that the way we deal with hardships makes all the difference in the world. At nine years of age, Michael said goodbye to Fred Phelps, his father, as his parents got a divorce. This must have been an emotional rollercoaster for all his family. It was also then that Michael was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), a mental condition that is characterized by the lack of focus and high energy levels, making childhood a very difficult time especially in his situation. Getting teased by his peers, losing his father and failing to achieve academically in comparison with his brothers and sisters could have been enough to shatter his self-esteem and create emotional trauma, but with the encouragement of his mother Deborah Phelps, Michael’s life changed when he was introduced to swimming.

“In 2014, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving for the second time with 14% blood-alcohol level, which resulted in 18 months of supervised probation, a one-year suspended jail sentence and being barred from entering the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships”

Despite breaking world records, life was not smooth for Michael. In 2014, Phelps was arrested for drunk driving for the second time with 14% blood-alcohol level, which resulted in 18 months of supervised probation, a one-year suspended jail sentence and being barred from entering the 2015 FINA World Swimming Championships in Russia. This might have been the end of a bright career had it been anyone else, but perseverance and determination are qualities this Olympic athlete stands out for. He made amends by enlisting at a treatment center, participating in Alcoholics Anonymous, and seeking out to reconcile with his long lost father, turning his critical situation into success.

“He has become a symbol of hope for all those who are trying to succeed by showing us that no matter what you face in life, you own up to your mistakes, learn from them and move on to live up to your potential”

This remarkable man, whose mental condition is said to make you move slowly and lack in persistence, defied all odds by becoming the fastest swimmer in the world, not once or twice, but on a regular basis, setting world records with every competition, and changing everyone’s perception of people suffering from ADHD. He has become a symbol of hope for all those who are trying to succeed by showing us that no matter what you face in life, you own up to your mistakes, learn from them and move on to live up to your potential. Phelps demands our respect, not because of the number of gold medals he’s won, but for his determination to succeed despite everything and that’s the mark of a true champion.

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