For my Document of Learning, I’ve decided to post the good copy of my speech instead of my draft. I did however get some feedback from others on my speech draft, so that’s why I decided to not post it. If anyone wants to give me additional feedback on my speech so next year it’ll be better, feel free to! Here it is:
I see Michael swimming down the lane dominating the other competitors in his way, about to get his first gold medal of 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic game. I think to myself how did I get this lucky? How did I get this lucky to know this amazing man? I’m so proud of him, and I’m proud to be his long life instructor.
I remember the first time ever meeting Michael; he was what looked to be like an average sized kid with brown hair and brown eyes. He walked in with his mother as they introduced themselves. “Hi, I’m Deborah and this is Michael Phelps, it`s nice to meet you,” and as my kind self, I replied back with “Hello, I’m Bob Bowman, one of the coaches here at North Baltimore Aquatic Club.” Deborah told me that Michael came here to start training. My first impression was “Wow, this kid was small and he probably doesn’t know how to swim very well,” but boy was I wrong. The kid was holding a national record at the age of 10. Deborah told me all these details about Michael and their family, like he was 10 years old right now, he was born and raised in Rodgers Forge neighborhood of Towson, Maryland with his 2 older sisters named Whitney and Hilary. He had father named Michael Phelps; I don’t know why they named their child after the father, but it happened. He started swimming at the age of 7 and the reason he started swimming was so that he could let loose of his energy in some way.
Although when I first met Michael he didn’t look like a fast swimmer at all, I was proven wrong, he was incredible when he got in the water. He glided through the water like a mermaid, although it wasn’t the prettiest way of doing it. As I watched him through the first couple days, he swam hard and stayed for the longer practices so he could improve. I was becoming more confident in his ability to swim.
Around a year after he started training with me, Deborah told me he was diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). I was quite sad when I heard this news because I thought this was going to affect how well Michael was swimming, but it didn’t. It had seemed that the ADHD helped him improve because he had more energy to swim. I soon realized that Michael`s best strokes were backstroke, freestyle, individual medley and his ultimate best stroke, butterfly.
As the years quickly passed by, Michael had more age group records and when Michael was only 15 years old, I had gotten the greatest news I’ve heard in years. He qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics, making him the youngest male to make it on the U.S swim team in around 68 years. Now, that`s a long time. Even though he didn’t get a medal, he got fifth in the 200m butterfly. On March 30th one of the greatest achievements at this time for Michael was at the 2001 World Aquatics Championships. He had somehow broken the world record for 200 fly which made him the youngest man ever to break a world record.
Even though after Michael had done that amazing thing where he broke the world record, I thought the years would go by slowly, but they didn’t. They flew past as Michael kept qualifying for many hard competitions such as the Pan Pacific Championships, World Championships and most importantly, the Summer Olympics. I grew more and more confidence in him that he would gain many medals and that he would be proud of himself that he had accomplished what he wanted.
When Michael qualified for the 2000 Summer Olympics and when he broke the world record for 200 fly in 2001, I thought that was either just beginners luck or just a one time wonder, but it wasn’t. He then qualified for the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics after the 2000 Summer Olympics. I honestly didn’t know how he did it. Although being his instructor I know people expect me to be proud, which I am, but I was also shocked. He qualified for 8 events and in his very first event, the 400 IM; he won his first gold medal with a world record time. I was shouting with joy being the happiest coach in the world wanting to just run up and hug him, but of course I didn’t because that would be embarrassing for me and him. After all his events, he came out with 6 gold medals and 2 bronze medals and said “How can I be disappointed? I swam in a field with the two fastest freestylers of all time.” I could tell in that moment, that he was as proud of himself as I was.
I shook my head and suddenly realized that I was back at the Olympics. I had just caught the sight of Michael touching the wall on his last event, the 4×100 medley relay at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Games. Time seemed to slow down after I saw what he had done. The energy in the crowd was ecstatic, I could feel every sense in my body tingling. My heart was beating a thousand times per minute as my eyes blinked at lightning speed. I felt myself slowly coming back in the moment where everything seemed back at a regular speed. I was screaming, yelling and cheering at the top my lungs because I had seen what I thought I could never witness; Michael had just won his 8th gold medal right in front of my eyes. He broke the record of having the most gold medals at one Olympic Game. In that moment, all the doubts I had about Michael in the beginning vanished. I was so proud of him and what he had accomplished in all the time that I have been training with him and I knew that he was proud too.
At the end of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games, I got a quick chance to think to myself how honored I was to be this man’s coach. All the amazing achievements he has accomplished throughout the years have made me realize that he was like a son to me; always making me proud. I also finally got to speak to him after many hours of not talking to him. He told me, “Thank you. All this time I’ve been doubting you and not wanting you as a coach because I thought you were too strict. You made me freak out at times when I didn’t want to, but in the end you taught me that confidence isn’t something you can dream up, it’s something you earn.”
- 63We all know him as the most decorated Olympian of all time with the all-time record of 18 gold Olympic medals (including the 2 silver and 2 bronze medals). Yes, I'm talking about the one and only Michael Phelps. Michael Fred Phelps II was born on June 30th 1985 in Towson, Maryland. Michael is part…