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We’re only a few days into the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China and American Swimmer, 23-year old Michael Phelps, has already won 3 Gold Medals and has set 3 New World Records. Phelps went to the Athens Summer Olympics as a 19-year old and came away with 8 medals, 5 of which were Gold. According to today’s Wikipedia listing Phelps has won 28 World Records but that number is bound to increase as the week wears on.
What an unbelievably awesome surprise to find that Michael Phelps is also a Child of Divorce.
Phelps’ parents split in 1994 (according to Wikipedia) when he was either 9 or 10. I’ve found another article which says that his parents were High School Sweethearts who had split once before Michael was born and then got together. This article says that Phelps’ parents split in 1992. Maybe 1994 is the Divorce date? (“Phelps’ voyage” by Kevin Van Valkenburg (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-te.sp.phelps03aug03,0,6832992.story)
Don’t know if either Parent has remarried.
His Father is a policeman/state trooper and his Mother is a Middle School Principal who was named “Teacher of the Year” twice in her career. Phelps’ Father left the family which had 3 children, Phelps and his two older sisters.
According to a Baltimore Sun article, Phelps has a difficult relationship with his Father but has a very strong bond with his Coach, Bob Bowman. (“Phelps’ voyage” by Kevin Van Valkenburg (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-te.sp.phelps03aug03,0,6832992.story) Phelps seems to have gained extra ambition in his swimming career in 1996 when he saw the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. This is also the year that he started working with Bob Bowman.
Phelps started swimming at Age 7 in part because both of his sisters were swimmers and in part as a way to focus his Attention Deficit Disorder. From About.com article:
As a child, swimming provided Phelps with structure and a safe refuge after his parents’ divorce. His mom credits swimming for setting her hyperactive son on a singular path. Interestingly, it is his ability to hyperfocus on his swimming goals that has made such a difference in his success. Despite all the hoopla, pressures and expectations surrounding the Olympics, when Phelps walks up to the pool deck his mind is single mindedly focused on the job. “When I walk into a final, I walk in very focused,” he said. “I don’t mess around, I don’t joke around, I am focused on the job I have to do and want to do. It’s easy for me to do that. If I put my mind to it I can do just about anything.”
(edited 8/13/08, incorrect age info)
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