Book number 38: Michael: Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion by B. Schaller. I got this book as a gift from my aunt after the August 8, 2008, 8:08 staging of the Olympics where Michael Phelps first made history by winning eight gold medals in Beijing. I’ve gotten to reading it just now!
What it is: This is a historical account of Phelp’s first quest to become the most decorated Olympian the games has ever seen. Of course, he has added more to this medal haul since the last London games and has retired after but his performance in the Beijing games is truly legendary. For all we know, he may be long dead but his epic show in Beijing may still hold to be the measure for Olympic greatness!
Told through interviews and narratives, Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion traces the roots of the American hero from a child who suffers from ADHD to the intense competition in Beijing where he became a swimming legend. It’s like reading an extensive sports news story from the newspaper, filled with action, drama, inspiration, and possibly, sex appeal. :mrgreen:. You don’t have to be a swimming fan to appreciate this book. You don’t even have to know how to swim (like me).
What I liked about it: Apart from the fact that I’m practically stalking Phelps through Facebook, his story is damn inspiring. He comes from a broken home and he has ADHD but it did not stop him from achieving everything he has done, not just for himself but also for the sport. The level of competitiveness, discipline, focus, and ambition that he brings to the table is just phenomenal. My favorite line from the book is where he explains how he handles trash talk – suck it in and let it fuel you to come back harder. That’s one life philosophy I’ve been trying to apply for the longest time.
But don’t think Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion is one whole hero worshipping act dedicated to the best athlete swimming has ever seen. It is far from that and like I said, it’s in almost a news story format so facts back it up. Stories from his coach Bob Bowman, US teammates and other swimmers are also included, plus insights from his family. Over all, it’s an action packed back that effortlessly transported me from my living room to the Water Cube in China.
What I did not like about it: I wish a Phelps comes out with his own memoir, a personal account of what it took to throw that epic performance in Beijing, since this one did not show anything beneath the surface and being such an incredible athlete, I imagine there is so much more to the story of the greatest Olympian of all time (he’s also recently named as the ‘Fittest Man Ever’ by Men’s Health). According to the Bob Schaller, this might be easier said than done since Michael “is usually more reflective than insightful, and in general probably more thoughtful than articulate.”
Recommended for: Swimming fans the world over, read Michael Phelps: The Untold Story of a Champion and be inspired. 🙂