Michael Phelps was “clocked by an oar and suffered a concussion” during a rowing exercise while training in a program run by the Navy SEALs in 2010, according to Bob Bowman‘s book, “The Golden Rules,” released Tuesday.
That’s just one of the interesting stories from Bowman’s coaching career dotting the pages of his 10 steps to world-class excellence in life and work.
Other gems include:
- Bowman had Phelps on a workout regimen that put him on pace for nine gold medals at the Beijing Olympics: “Eventually, we realized that the actual Olympic swimming schedule made it virtually impossible for MP to go for nine, but our revamped Game Plan had still done the job. Michael not only matched Spitz’s record but bettered it by one.”
- Phelps’ “letdown” after the Beijing 2008 Olympics: “‘Nothing’s good enough for you!’ [Phelps] barked at me more than once. ‘I had to win eight gold medals to get a “Good job” out of you. Lay off, would you?'”
- At the 2010 Pan Pacific Championships, Bowman doubted his coaching ability when a backstroker he trained, Liz Pelton, struggled at the meet.
“‘What is wrong with you, Bowman? How did you mess this girl up? You brought her to this meet and she’s clearly not ready. Maybe it’s true. Maybe you can only coach Michael. You’ll never be able to coach anyone else.’
Ten minutes into my self-imposed isolation, Michael came out and found me. This time he kicked me in the butt.
‘Pull yourself together and get back to the meet,’ he told me.”
- On Phelps’ tumultuous’ training leading up to the London Olympics: “On July 5, one month before the Games began, Michael showed up for a 7 a.m. practice; from that point on, he never missed another workout or was late for one during the run-up to the Games.”
- Bowman and Phelps agreed one day before leaving Baltimore that he would swim the 400m individual medley at the London Olympics: “The last words out of my mouth being, ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen? You win a silver medal? You’d never do worse than that.”
Phelps finished fourth and “launched into Bowman” afterward:
“‘I know, I know! I didn’t train! I played golf. I didn’t come to the pool enough. I can’t swim. I know. What else can I do wrong?’
I just said, ‘You know what, Michael? There’s a whole long list of things you’ve done wrong, but we’re going to start with breaststroke.’
That immediately toned him down. All he said was, ‘Okay.'”
- Phelps’ words to Bowman before his final London Olympic race: “‘Bob, I wanted to be like Michael Jordan in basketball and change the sport. Bob, I wanted people to know about swimming. We’ve done that, Bob. We’ve become the best ever, but we got here together. Bob, thanks. Thank you so much.’
He caught me off guard, and I started to well up. ‘That’s not fair,’ I said seconds later.
‘I know,’ he said. ‘You can’t see my tears, but yours are streaming down your face.'”
- On Chase Kalisz, the 22-year-old two-time World medalist in his training group: “He may have been nine years younger than Michael, but as soon as he started showing up for workouts as a preteen he would try to race his idol over 25 meters — and sometimes even beat him.”
- Phelps pulled training partner Allison Schmitt aside in 2014 after Schmitt failed to qualify for the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and 2015 World Championships: “Schmitty, this is what you do. Pull out a video of your races in London and watch them — and then use those races to visualize what you need to do to get back to where you were.”