LONDON (Reuters) – When a teenage Michael Phelps started splashing the girls at the end of a particularly tough training session, his coach Bob Bowman tried to discipline him.
“I said, ‘you should be very tired, that’s the hardest practice you’ve ever done,’” the coach recalled.
“I’ll never forget. He looked me straight in the eye and said ‘I don’t get tired.’ So I made that my life goal, to see if I could accomplish that.”
Twenty-two Olympic medals later – including 18 golds – the greatest Olympian finally retired from competitive swimming at last week’s London Olympics. Much more than raw energy drove the boy from Baltimore through race after lung-bursting race.
To understand Michael Phelps, you also have to talk to the man with a psychology degree who trained him, who knew exactly when and how to rile him, who drove Phelps almost to the point of rebellion.
Bowman, 47, is quietly spoken, white haired and bespectacled. He has none of the air of the poolside bully. But that’s one of the roles he played.
“I’ve always tried to find ways to give him adversity in either meets or practice and have him overcome it,” Bowman has said.
“The higher the level of pressure, the better
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