Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps is the most decorated Olympian of all time. He recently won his nineteenth Olympic gold medal at the Rio Games. His fiance, Nicole Johnson, recently gave birth to their son, Boomer Robert Phelps.
It seems that everything is going well in Phelps’s life, but despite his fame and achievements, that wasn’t always the case.
According to qpolitical.com, after the London Games in 2012, Phelps was not in a good place. He thought he was done with swimming and instead took to living his life recklessly. He got caught smoking marijuana and drunk driving.
The old issues he had struggled with all his life after his parents divorced and he became estranged from his father began to resurface. Phelps became so depressed that he contemplated taking his own life.
It was then that his NFL friend Ray Lewis, an outspoken Christian, stepped in.
“This is when we fight. This is when real character shows up. Don’t shut down. If you shut down we all lose,” Lewis told Phelps.
Lewis also convinced Phelps to go to rehab which Phelps reluctantly agreed to do.
While he was in rehab, however, Phelps not only gained some needed perspective on his life, but his life was changed forever when he read Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life which Lewis had given him.
Phelps said that the book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”
RelevantMagazine.com notes that in a short documentary, ESPN E60 tells the story of not only Phelps’s career, but of the new person he became after attending rehab, reconnecting with his father, and putting his trust in God.
Qpolitical notes: “Michael Phelps’ testimony illustrates the salvation and peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ. When the devil tried to detour Phelps’ Olympic dreams with substance abuse and family problems, God sent him a miracle in the form of a Christian book given to him by his brother in Christ. Phelps’ restored Christian faith empowered him to persevere and reach heights most athletes will never see.”
Phelps and the USA Olympic men’s relay swim team won gold Sunday night in Rio.
Publication date: August 8, 2016
Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the outdoors, or reading, she can be found mostly in Richmond, VA writing primarily about nature, nostalgia, faith, family, and Jane Austen.