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While Michael Phelps was growing up he was tall and lanky, and his arms swung
below his knees when he stood up. Kids made fun of him and bullied him. At the
age of nine he was diagnosed with ADHD. His two big sisters, Whitney and
Hilary were good swimmers. Whitney even finished sixth in the 200 butterfly at
the 1996 Olympic trials. Michael also became interested in swimming and his
mother encouraged him to swim. It was an outlet for his abundant energy and
the lane markers tended to give him the structure he needed. He loved
swimming. When he was 11 years old he began to work with Bob Bowman, a swim
coach, and Bob began pointing him toward the Olympics. He made his first
Olympic team in the 200 butterfly race in the year 2000 when he was just 15
years old. At the Olympics in Athens in 2004 he won 6 gold medals and 2 bronze
medals. At the 2007 world championships he won 7 gold medals. Most recently in
the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China he won 8 gold medals! This topped swimmer
Mark Spitz's thirty-six-year-old record of 7 gold medals which he won in the
Munich Olympics in 1972. Phelps swims 7 days a week, two to five hours a day.
He doesn't like to be a loser. He likes to win whether it's a video game or a
race. If he loses, he just works harder so he can be a winner the next time.
His life revolves around swimming, sleeping, and eating. Swimming burns a lot of calories, and he eats a tremendous amount of food; 8,000 - 12,000 calories a day. This is five times as much as the average man eats. Michael says, “If you dream as big as you can dream, anything is possible.”