Sometimes you just really have to choose how you will end your race. Whatever race that is… will you choose to stroke hardest to the finish or will you glide? The choice for Michael Phelps was all but normal. He was a born champion since his first swimming lessons at 8 years of age. He knew that every stroke counted as his last. And during the Beijing Olympics, that last stroke dashed him ahead by .01 millions of a second before his closest rival.
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task.
“My will to live completely overcame my desire to win.” Olympic swimming has come a long way, to temperature-controlled 50-metre pools, wave-killing gutters, lane markers designed to reduce turbulence, and status as one of the Games’ glamour events. It is far removed from those early days. American swimmer Michael Phelps set the all-time single Olympics gold-medal record by passing Mark Spitz’s 36-year-old record of seven. Phelps won his eighth gold medal at the Beijing Games, swimming the third leg for the Americans in the winning four-by-100-meter medley relay. It was also his 14th career gold medal, another record. He also won gold at 200 freestyle, 200 butterfly, 4-by-200 freestyle relay, 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly.
Desire, dedication, determination, concentration and the will to win.