Michael Phelps–A Living Legend

By Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil - http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/rio-2016/foto/2016-08/michael-phelps-conquista-20a-medalha-de-ouro-e-e-ovacionado, CC BY 3.0 br, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50588740
By Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil – Source CC BY 3.0 br, WikiCommons, *Featured image on this post was changed in dimension, but it remains under the same license.

22 gold medals.  Four Olympics. One man.

When I was three, I used to swim at the same pool where Michael Phelps trained.  I don’t think I ever was able to comprehend the amazing depth of his career until this year. Three-year-old me didn’t understand, but fifteen-year-old me finally does.

Michael Phelps is a living, breathing legend.

There’s no one else like him. His career is the stuff of athletic glory. His effort and his drive, the way he propels forward just to let his finger tips graze the finish wall of the pool for one more medal, one more moment on the podium. He’s every kid’s dream, and every swimmer’s ultimate role model.

Tonight, Phelps’s Olympic career is coming to an end. I couldn’t miss the chance to write about his astounding career, even as it closes. I hope to find him on the podium again tonight, receiving one more gold medal for his seemingly endless collection.

One of the most inspiring things to me about Phelps isn’t involving his career–it’s what he didn’t let get in the way of his career. As Psychology Today reports, Phelps struggled with ADHD as a kid.  In the middle of his career, Phelps also dealt with substance abuse. Since the last Olympics in London, Michael Phelps had two DUI’s and checked into a rehabilitation program. That was the beginning of his comeback.

Because he broke away from all of those struggles, I believe him to be a role model for teens and adults alike: he didn’t let a label, condition, or addiction ultimately change his mindset for success or his character.  That’s honestly why I believe he was and continues to be successful today.

“Your mind is the strongest medicine you can have. . You can overcome anything if you think you can and you want to.”

Above is a quote from Phelps in the Psychology Today article, and I cannot stress enough how true those words remain. His success reflects that mindset. His greatness was achieved in grit, in the belief that he could, should, would win. And that’s why I hold him up as a prominent figure who’s example is both inspiring and empowering to all. I know that inspiration is going continue for years to come.

So tonight, it’s time to watch Michael Phelps take to the Olympic pool one last time. It’s a bittersweet ending to a career that no one will ever be able to stop talking about. Whether it’s 23 medals, or just the final swim of a history-making athlete, tonight is the night to honor Michael Phelps.

Here’s to the career of the Baltimore Bullet. Let’s see you on the podium one last time.

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MC

Mary Claire is a 17 year old student and writer who loves politics, campfire smores, traveling, classic movies, and new music.

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