When I was two years old I swam by myself for the first time. When I was six years old I joined my first swim team. At the age of 10 years old I made my first state cut for New Jersey. However, when I was 14 years old I had the honor of being 1 in 16 kids that year to swim with the NBAC swim team and receive coaching from Michael Phelps, Coach Bob Bowman, Ryan Lochte, and many other Olympic swimmers. After weeks of rigorous activity and training, I realized that Michael Phelps is not just the greatest swimmer the world has ever seen; he is the greatest athlete of his time.
Most people learn how to swim in their lifetime. However, most people decide to play soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, or any other sport that doesn't involve flipping full speed into a wall and hoping your feet land perfectly. Many people choose to be a part of a team where you rely on each other for success, instead of secretly hoping to beat every person in the pool, including your teammates. There are few that choose the sport to be their main focus, and even fewer who have the talent to become the fastest in the world.
Michael Phelps decided he was going to swim because his two older sisters swam and his single mother could only drop 3 kids off in one place. He took to liking the sport, however never committed fully until he was 10 years old. Coach Bob Bowman, now coach to many Olympic swimmers, told him he could be the best if he wanted to. Michael Phelps decided he wanted to be the best swimmer in the world, and from that day on, Michael Phelps would create history.
By the time he was 15 years old, Michael Phelps qualified for his first Olympics in Australia, but never placed in his event. 4 years later he made it to Greece, and with 2 bronze and 6 gold medals around his neck, he became an icon in the swimming world. In the Beijing Olympics he went 8 for 8 with his events, smashing 8 world records and receiving 8 gold medals. It was this Olympics where not just swimmers, but every athlete, knew Michael Phelps as the most decorated athlete at a single Olympics. He became a beacon of hope for kids around the world pursuing their sport. Michael Phelps, last minute decided to swim in the London Olympics, and walked on the podium 6 times, 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals. On June 29, 2016 Michael Phelps qualified for his fifth Olympics, something never done by another person.
Why is he the greatest athlete of all time? Because he shows fire in his soul that burns for his sport more than any other athlete. Swimming is not a sport that has profit, there is not money in it like baseball or basketball. However, it that did not hinder his goal to be the best. Michael Phelps was the dorky kid on the playground with a dream that made other kids laugh. Today, he is a role model to all the current dorky kids with a seemingly unattainable goal.