Michael Phelps visited the University of Alabama football team for a preseason pep talk, which was shared by the program on social media last week.
Phelps, who took classes while training at the University of Michigan in the mid-2000s and trained for the final year of his career at Arizona State, has football connections. He has counted retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as a close friend.
Phelps considered trying out for his high school football team, but it wasn’t feasible given the time necessary for his burgeoning career in swimming, which for years meant seven-days-per-week training.
The speech transcript:
Well, I’m going to open up with a quote. It’s one of my favorite quotes. “Actions speak louder than words.” That literally is what defines my career. I made my first Olympic team, 15 years old. I got fifth place. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t satisfied. They gave me a piece of paper that said, congratulations, you participated. That piece of paper motivated me for that whole next four years. I said, there’s not a shot in hell, this is ever going to happen again. My very first [Olympic] race, I did not medal. And then in 2012, I had one race I didn’t medal. I can go back and look at those races because I want to make sure that feeling stays with me until the next time I have a chance to get out there to do the same thing again. From 2002 to 2008, guess how many days I took off. In those six years, guess how many days I took off. None. Zero. Why? I wanted something that nobody else had the opportunity to get. I was willing to do more than anybody else on the planet was willing to do. I got the results. I wanted to do it because I wanted that chance. Nobody’s going to give you that chance, right? You’re going to have to earn that chance. That’s all I wanted. I wanted to bust my ass every single day to earn that one chance. And wherever that took me, it took me. Every time I’d go into practice, my coach would say jump. I would say how high, because I knew there were hundreds of thousands of other kids that were doing the same thing. And they were not going to take that opportunity away from me. Y’all have one of the greatest, if not the greatest coach leading y’all every single day. He’s got the answers. But it’s y’all that need to listen or making sure you’re doing everything away from the field. Right? It’s not just what happens here. I can’t tell you that enough. It is not just what happens here. It’s the whole entire picture. You get one chance, right? You get once chance to do something special. Don’t waste it, please.
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