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From A “Can’t Focus Child” to an Olympic Athlete: Michael Phelps Profile

I came across a recent blog article written from Michael Phelps mother, Deborah Phelp’s point of view. If you don’t know who Michael Phelp’s is, you should. He is currently in Beijing, representing U.S.A as a phenomenal swimmer. This 23 year-old athlete, is the world-record holder in the two events that include all four strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. He won 8 medals in the 2004 summer Olympics in Athens, Greece, 6 of which were gold. The number of medals he won tied him with Alexander Dyatin as the most medal winner in a single Olympics. And that record happened to have been held since the 1980.

What’s amazing about Michael is that he was labeled a problem child of sorts in his youth. Often reprimanded by teachers for being disruptive, unable to focus, unable to concentrate, unable to stay quiet, he was put on Ritalin at a young age, a medicine he would have to take during lunch time. Two years later when Michael asked his Mom, who was also a teacher, to be taken off the medicine, she did the best thing a parent could do in her shoes. She listened to her instincts and her child.

Michael, the child who had been told he would never, ever be able to focus, became nationally ranked as a youth swimmer. At 11, his coach then, who is still his coach today, began outlining to Ms. Phelps his envisioned time line for the young athlete, the Olympics among them.

His story is really one that gives parents of children labeled with a chemical disorders such as ADD, ADHD, Hyperactivity, hope. The lesson I gleaned from reading Ms. Phelps story is that a parent can always set high standards for their child, even if others would like to set the bar low. And that with guidance, even your “problem child” can find what makes them tick, and ignites their passion.


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