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Going for the Gold: Michael Phelps, Clean Sports & his Mom
by Sharon Hughes
Whether you're a sports fan or not, anyone who listens to the news or watches the Olympics at all knows who Swimmer Michael Phelps is...the most decorated Olympian of all time with 22 medals and the first American male swimmer to qualify for a fifth Games. And who just won his 19th Gold Medal in this year's games. (read more here).
Michael has been chosen to carry the USA flag at the 2016 Rio Games. Among his comments at the honor, he said, he does not believe he has ever participated in a "clean sport."
"We all want clean sports and everyone on the same playing field. I don't think I've ever competed in a clean sport - but there's not much other than me I can control. Something needs to change with all sports, not just swimming."
"As athletes you want to compete on a level playing field - and how many Olympics have we had and been saying this at now? It's sad someone at the top can't get a handle on this," he said.
Phelps, who was chosen by a vote of fellow team members for 2016's opening ceremony, has won 18 Olympic gold medals. He retired after winning four gold medals at London 2012, but made a comeback after his wrestling with drugs. (read more @ BBC).
As the winner of more Olympic Gold Medals than any other athlete...he is the most successful swimmer and Olympian of all time...his performance has been more than amazing!
His story is also amazing. As a child, Michael was diagnosed with ADD (attention deficit disorder), and after winning in 2008 said, "With so many people saying it couldn't be done, all it takes is an imagination." He added, "The first thing I'd like to do to my mum is just hug her."
Phelps' parents separated when he was young. His mom, Debbie, was the one who saw his interest and abilities and helped focus him on swimming as a child.
Joye Brown of Newsday.com wrote about Phelps and his mom:
"Gee, your family must have driven you to a million practices and sat through a million swim meets. They must be so proud."
To my surprise, the polite young man, who seldom seems to have much to say, responded openly and warmly. He said he owed everything to his mom. That she'd had to take not just him but his two sisters to practice. "There were three of us." He said she sat through a lot of meets. And that she was his biggest supporter.
"She's amazing," he said, with a deep, wide smile.
And just for the record...His diet is also amazing. As FOX News reported, this is what Phelps ate every day for breakfast:
3 fried egg sandwiches topped with cheese, lettace, tomatoes, fried onions and mayonaise.
5 egg omelet
1 bowl of grits
3 slices of french toast with powdered sugar
3 chocolate chip pancakes
2 cups of coffee
His total daily diet amounted to 12,000 calories! But then, he burned most of it off!
Now that he is married and has a child, Michael announced after competing and winning in this year's games that he is retiring from the Olympics. Congratulations to him on his 19th Gold medal in 2016...and for all his accomplishments and wins...and congratulations to his mom, who never gave up on him. There's nothing like a mom who believes in her child!
I doubt that this is the last we'll hear from Michael, and personally, I want to acknowledge his courage in being open and honest about his struggles in the past, and his new found faith in Christ. (you can read about that here).
That plays into our theme for August, "Distance doesn't separate people - silence does." How? Because Michael Phelps didn't separate his faith and his sports career; nor put distance between the truth about his life and what would be politically correct. Rather he brought the two together, for all to see who he was, and who he is now. And that kind of bold 'non-silence' always builds bridges.
The kind of bridges we need more of in our country.
(*Note New Day) Thursday: Gov't vs. the Family
On August 19th, more Outrageous news stories we've covered. Debra Rae & Audrey Russo join me.
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