This week, the United Brain Association is hugging retired American swimmer, Michael Phelps. He is the most decorated Olympian of all time, with 28 medals to his name, 23 of them gold. Rather than use his ADHD as a crutch, Michael has credited it as being one of the sources of his success and drive to win.
After a rather bumpy childhood where he found himself teased and getting into mischief, he turned his trouble focusing into athletic triumph. Michael was diagnosed with ADHD in sixth grade, and though he couldn’t sit through class without fidgeting, he could swim for up to three hours at the pool. Through practice and dedication, the pool became Michael’s home.
“Once I figured out how to swim, I felt so free. I could go fast in the pool, it turned out, in part because being in the pool slowed down my mind. In the water, I felt, for the first time, in control.”
By age 10, Phelps was nationally ranked, and in 2000 at age 15, made his Olympic debut. He has medaled at every summer Olympic games since.
Now retired from swimming, Michael is using his platform and influence to introduce swimming to thousands of children nationwide. Through the Michael Phelps Foundation, he hopes the pool can be “that place” for kids with ADHD and learning issues.
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